My name is Victoria and in a lot of ways my life is in parallel to Darryl’s. Like Darryl I was born in May, attended St. John’s University, am an adoptee, and live in NJ.
I was adopted as an infant and knew from a very young age that I was adopted. Probably before I even really knew what it was or what it really felt like. I was the second adopted child to my parents who adopted a boy three years prior.
I lived a good life. I had two parents, lived comfortably, was raised “right” with morals and values, and raised to be a good Catholic.
I never for once thought I was out of place or that I didn’t belong and my parents loved me more than I could have ever imagined a parent could. Till this day they live for their children and grandchildren.
In my late teens I began to have health issues. I went through a series of operations and continued to have health problems. I tried to find out my medical history for my own sanity and to assist in saving my life if and when the time came. Back then it was the late 80’s and the internet wasn’t a help so my adoption search became late nights after school at libraries for resources.
In the years following, I posted my information on numerous adoption websites and waited…and waited…and waited. At the age of 27 I was contacted by a man named Bob who thought I could perhaps be his birth daughter. Bob, also an adoptee, was quite sick. Since so many years had passed since I originally posted and since I was once again going through a series of health issues, I just corresponded by e-mail and decided that at that moment I needed to take care of myself. During that time period Bob died and I lost contact with him.
I let it all go as it was all too painful for me. At the age of 34 I had my first and only child, a daughter. Since most of my health issues were “female issues” I decided that my daughter’s protection was of the utmost importance. I decided for my daughter’s best interest I should at least find out my medical history. Once again, I started posting for information and tried every avenue I could. As I stated earlier, I live in NJ which is a closed state for adoption records and my search started to look like a needle in a haystack.
I found Bob’s daughter after months of searching and she was delighted to find me. Finally I could get my information. NOT. I found out that I was not a match, the girl was born a day before me and I was not her sister, who she eventually found.
I chose another avenue to search. I contacted Catholic Charities in Newark, NJ, who served as the adoption agency for my adoption in 1970. The woman I spoke with was nice and helpful. However, after the conversation I was angered. I was told that I would need to pay them $750.00 for a search that could possibly end in nothing but non-identifying information. While the money is not an issue for me the principle was. I felt as if I was being extorted. I felt I had to pay for something that everyone else had for free. I was mad at Catholic Charities and was even angered at that moment that I had been so devout to my religion. However, I do not feel that they are the only ones to blame. I feel that the state has given them the ability and power to act like this. I thought of all those people who struggle from paycheck to paycheck wondering are they not entitled to get their information just because they don’t have the money.
I am now a few months shy of 38 and I still haven’t gotten any closer to finding any information. Some days I get so frustrated I feel as though I was hatched or if I was just spit down from another planet. For my daughter’s sake and my own sanity, I continue on.
I was so delighted that Darryl decided to testify in January for the NJ S611 Bill. It gave me so much inspiration and a hope that the bill will get passed and receive the attention it deserves. I hope that he continues to help the adoptees in NJ.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.