BIO: I am a 40 year old adoptee raised in Chicago but now living in Wisconsin. I am married to my saint of a husband, Scott, for 6 years. We share our home with two rescue dogs, Lady and Fabulous, and six chickens. We enjoy riding motorcycles, gardening, enjoying craft beer, camping and hiking. I am a seven year cancer survivor. Having worked in varied industries, I consider myself the jack of all trades but a master of none. Currently, I am an accounting and payroll associate for a small specialty contractor. I am in reunion with members of my maternal family and in search of my paternal line.
Content Warning:The following article you are about to read may contain written material of a serious factual nature that may be disturbing to some individuals. Reader discretion is advised.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?
I was born Baby Girl Perz on August 28, 1976.
The first time I heard the word adopted was at four years old at a funeral.A relative that I really did not know was dragging me around by the arm introducing me at Tom and Rosanne’s adopted daughter, Aimee.I was confused as I had no idea what that word meant.After this occurred several times, I remember my mother forcefully removing me from the relative’s grip.Terse words were exchanged and my memory fades.
The next time adoption came up was at 11.I was diagnosed with a genetically linked disease.No one in the family has it and my mother was arguing with the doctor.I remember her screaming, there is no way she has this.No one on either side does.My great aunt on my father’s side was over 100 year old.We went to her house on the weekends to help with her medications and grocery shopping.Aunt Elvira sent my parents out on an errand along with my younger brother.She wanted me alone.She sat me down and said she had something very important to tell me and made me promise that I would never tell my parents about this conversation.I agreed.She pointed to a cabinet and had me bring her a manila envelope.She opened it and handed it to me.She told me to read it and when I was done, she would explain.It contained a “Sales Receipt” and a court stamped adoption order.She explained that my parents couldn’t have children, so they adopted my brother and I.She said that I had an older sister, also adopted, who died prior to my birth and they adopted me as a replacement.Aunt Elvira said my parents hid the paperwork at her house so I would never find it.She thought it wasn’t fair that they would never tell me, especially now that I was ill.We heard a key go in the lock and I ran the paperwork back into the cabinet.It was never discussed again, and she died 3 years later.
I never fit in to my adopted family.
My parents were almost 40 when they adopted me.
I look nothing like them, and was especially different from my brother, who was less than 8 months younger.They were never physically loving.No hugs, no cuddles, no kisses good night.My father was a doctor and my mother a nurse.He was a raging violent drunk and she was an enabler, that due to her Catholic faith, did not believe in divorce.She allowed herself and her children to be beaten and abused instead of the sin of divorce.We were instructed from early on, how to disguise the bruises and broken bones.Told what stories to tell prying teachers and other adults.We had no close family.All the grandparents were deceased either prior to my birth, or shortly after.My father had no living siblings and the cousins kept their distance due to his alcoholism.My mother had one brother, but they grew apart. My mother’s cousin, who we called Aunt Nancy, was there every day.She was a sweet soul.She never married, nor ever had a first date!She lived two miles down the road. She was my only respite from the abuse.I would go to her condo and hang out.At 16 I left home after a horrible night of abuse.I had to barricade my bedroom door with my bed to stop the punching.I packed a duffle bag and hopped out the window. I did not speak to my adoptive parents for 5 years after that. It was only upon the death of my adoptive father that I allowed my mother back into my life.
Fast forward to 2012 , my adoptive mother passed away.Upon cleaning out her house, I discovered a box that contained the same paperwork I saw at 11.That triggered me to find out the laws in Illinois.I applied for my original birth certificate and medical information.A couple of months later, an envelope arrived from the Department of Health. It was UNEDITED!!!I was thankful.I finally could see my mother’s full name. Then my jaw dropped when I saw the address.She lived less than 4 miles from where I grew up.I could have run into her at the grocery store.The father’s name was blank.My birth mother was 17 and my father 16.
I entered my name into the adoptee registry with the state and with every online one I could find.No response and I left it be until the summer of 2016.I was going to turn 40 and it was a turning point in my life.With encouragement from my husband, Scott, I starting searching.I found her current address quickly.She lives even closer to my childhood home now.Two letters went unanswered.I then reached out to her sister, my aunt.She responded and has been very welcoming.She also gave me my birth father’s name, Bill.Bill never knew my mother was pregnant. She told me that her mother, my grandmother, forced the adoption.After my birth, she regretted the decision and felt guilty until she passed away in 2009. My aunt is not close to her sister, but she called her first when she received my letter.My mother confirmed she received my letters and she burned them.She forbid her sister to contact me and told her to destroy the letter.I am thankful that she didn’t obey her sister’s wishes.My aunt said that I was my mother’s deep secret, and she never told her first, nor current husband, I existed.She never had any other children. My aunt’s son, Jon and I have become close. He is 22 and a caring man. He has spent the weekend at my house a couple of times.
I was able to find Bill in less than a half hour.I contacted him via Facebook and the same day he called.When I told him I could be his daughter, he was over joyed.He said he had three sons and always wanted a daughter.He lives 400 miles away and made his way to Wisconsin to meet me.He agreed to do a DNA test. Six weeks later, the DNA results came back.We share ZERO DNA.I was devastated and still am. Bill was crushed.Thankfully, he wants to stay in my life and has agreed to be my dad in spite of the results.My aunt was extremely shocked and thought for 40 years Bill was my dad.I’m hoping that maybe over the holidays she will see her sister and possibly get a name.
This brings us to the present.
I have temporarily given up searching for my birth father.I have no leads and my DNA matches on Ancestry, GEDmatch (kit # A230100), and My Heritage are few and far between.Once I am in an emotionally better place, my search angel Rafaellawill take up the quest.Due to my journey the last 6 months, I have decided to become a search angel and also work for adoption reform.The time of closed adoptions needs to end now and I will work to change state laws so adoptees are no longer treated as second class citizens.
Could you relate to Aimee’s story?
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