(Remember, Dad=raised me, Father=biological)
When my mom came home, I took her into her bedroom and showed her the letter. I just sat, silent, waiting. What did I want to hear? Did I want her to laugh and say it was some cruel joke? Did I want her to admit that in fact, it was true and that the man who raised me, who hugged me as a child, called me "Pumpkin" but then turned into something else as I aged was nothing to me? An adopted father?
"I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you." She said, crumpling onto the bed, wrapping her arms around me. "Your dad wouldn't let me."
Who is this man who made me and then abandoned me?
She began to tell me this:
When she was in her early 20's, she met a man and they were happy and they ended up pregnant. HE had been in a similar situation before and the baby was lost. It scared him. The thought of keeping the baby, as well as the thought of losing the baby. He left my mom. After she and my father split up, she remained friends with his younger sister. They shared a birthday and other things in common. We would visit her frequently as I grew up. I knew her family (my cousins, my grandparents, my uncles), but they were simply 'our friends.' My mom was pregnant and working. She felt that "God had blessed her with this child and she wasn't going to give it up." During this time, she met my dad. He was drawn to her and in July of 1980, they were married.* I was born August 8, 1980.
But, when I was born, my dad said that if he were to adopt me right then (basically, put his name on my birth certificate) he did not want me to know about my real father. He said that he was going to be my only dad.
So, they lied. My grandparents knew. My other grandparents knew. My aunts. My uncles. And seeing that I lived in a small town, I'm sure the circle was wider than I could ever know. I look back and imagine scenes walking through the grocery store and in the background, two women whisper, "You know, that family lives a lie. I heard the man raising her isn't her dad, and she doesn't even know."
It was like my little world was ripped from me. As if my Science teacher sat me down and said, "Look, we decided to do an experiment on you as a child. We told you the sky was 'Blue,' but it's actually 'purple.' Sorry about that."
Then, my mom told me that I couldn't tell my sisters. And, since we didn't know who wrote the letter, maybe we shouldn't mention it to my dad either. My mom was worried that he might stop paying child support for me. So, I never said anything to him about it. Ever. And he never brought it up.
Until I was 25. I was visiting my dad in Georgia. It was late and we were sitting around talking and he started crying and he told me everything. And I sat there, stone still. I really didn't know what to say. I had come to terms with this years ago. I told him about the letter, about meeting my real dad, about the sisters I never knew I had. And I told him - well, you'll find out more about that tomorrow.
A few years after I found out, we told my second sister. But the youngest, still has no clue, even to this day.
* My parents had always told me they married in July 1979. And even went on about how they were married for a little over a year before I was born. She even had a wedding dress she told me was hers and that she wanted me to wear it when I got married. I still wonder where that dress came from.