Monday, February 27, 2012

What's In A Name?

Growing up, I can not say I loved my name...but, it grew on me.

Folklore that has taken root in that cozy spot where memories reside, is my father picked my name. Like most expecting parents, my adoptive parents created a list of names. Some were family names (Mary, Catherine, Ann) and some were unique to their generation (Emily, Cheryl). My mother really wanted to name me Emily, but when they ran down the list after I was placed it seemed obvious to my father, "Just look at her...she is Cheryl Ann." My mother agreed and I became one of four Cheryl Ann Adams' in my home town.

The first line of my non-identifying information reads,

Cheryl, as her birth mother named her, was born on February 6, 1970...

I have read this document over and over again and it wasn't until I acquired my original birth record seven years later that I actually understood that my name has always been  


Sitting along side my Dad in the emergency room, I questioned him again why they named me Cheryl. As my parents age, stories come to life in a different less embellished way. He told me that my mother chose the name. Later, my mother retold the story of the list and why I wasn't named Mary, Catherine, or Ann. 

"Did I have a name when I was placed with you?" (What did they call me for the 2 months before I was placed?)

"Yes." (but she could not recall the name) It wasn't Cheryl. She was sure of that. 

"My birth mother also named me Cheryl. Are you sure you didn't know?"

"I am ( with a gentle smile) That is interesting..."

Without a doubt, I am a Cheryl.

Friday, February 17, 2012

In the Beginning

It's difficult to decide on a beginning. Most life stories begin with, "I was born on..." , but is that really the beginning?

With my own children, I feel like their lives began many months before their birth. My middle child, my first son, my husband and I talked about him and his name before he was even conceived. It was as though his soul was created when we met. Then of course there was his conception, his life within my womb...his birth.

As a party of a closed adoption, that time of your life before "life" is officially acknowledged is lost. The date (no time or attending physician) of your birth is officially documented...a year after your birth. Your birth story is unwritten, untold. No pictures, no time you were born, no knowledge of the type of labor your mother endured. Nothing. It is a history lost.

In my story, there are two months missing. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital before I was released to foster care. After a month in foster care I was finally placed with my adoptive parents. The first pictures of me, I was already two months old. Who cared for me? Who held me? Who fed me? Who comforted me?

A history lost.

Not many people can remember their life as a newborn and I am certainly no exception. However, we are effected by all the experiences of our life, even the ones we do not remember. I never considered the early moments of my life until my own first child was born. Ironically, my daughter's birth marked the beginning of a conscious curiosity. For what felt like the first time, I wanted to know about my own first days and weeks without the comfort of my mother or even a consistent care giver. Who was my mother? Who were my nurses and foster parents? Where do I come from? What happened after my birth? What happened before my birth?

And that is where this journey begins...