I knew that the state I was born in had an adoption reunion registry. The way this works is that if both the mother and the child register, the registry will send each party the other's identifying information. It seemed like a long shot, but I decided I might as well start there. I sent off my information in the mail, and a week later I held the reply in my hand. My birth mother had registered, ten year earlier.
The address and phone number that they sent were outdated, but knowing that she had wanted to be found, at least at one point, gave me the courage to take the next step. It required a bit of mild deception, but was surprisingly easy. I did it on my lunch break at work one day.
Using the newspaper clipping that my adoptive mother had given me, I called the library where my birth mother had been working at the time of her marriage. I said that I was trying to locate an old family friend who had worked at the library some years ago. I asked if there might be anybody there who could help me locate her. The friendly librarian who answered the phone said why yes, she knew her. No, she didn't live in town anymore, but her ex-mother-in-law did and would probably know where she was. I called the mother-in-law, and she answered right away. This time I said I was planning a surprise party for someone and trying to track down this person's old friends. Within minutes, I had my birth mother's current address.
I sent her a note and included with it my own wedding announcement so that she would have the same biographical bits about me that I had about her. Then I went away for Thanksgiving and tried to put the matter out of my mind. When I returned to my apartment, my answering machine was blinking. There was her voice on the machine, saying how happy she was to hear from me, telling me how to reach her.
I called her back the next day. I had a list of questions. This was before I had a cordless phone, so I sat on the wooden floor in my foyer. We talked for two hours. After that came numerous letters and eventually email. We met in person for the first time about 6 months later, and by that point it felt like we already knew each other because of all the correspondence we had exchanged.
We have kept in touch ever since, and today, she is simply a part of my life. We communicate mostly through email and facebook, and we see each other in person about once a year, usually for a week. At first I struggled with loyalty issues, and I still do to some extent, but for the most part I have managed to let go of that, and to instead embrace the number two. I have two mothers; I love two mothers; I am loved by two mothers. This is my reality. It really is that simple.