I Have a Sister Named Julie

54 years ago, a 19-year-old young woman gave birth to a baby girl. She only held her once as she was advised not to bond with her before she gave the baby up for adoption under an assumed name.

That 19-year-old was my mother.

Mom told me the story when I was about the same age—19. In the decades since, she has searched for that baby girl via letters and adoption registries, mitochondrial DNA, and a classified ad on what would have been her daughter’s 40th birthday. But the hospital she was born in no longer exists, and the baby’s birth certificate, which contained my mother’s real name, was sealed… until just recently.

Last Friday, my assistant Cindy texted:

“You might want to take a look at Facebook message.”

Me: “Which one?” (I am notoriously behind on all my e-mail.)

Cindy: “The one about your mom.”

I logged on and found this message: “ My name is Julie, and I have reason to believe your mother is my birth mother.” She included her e-mail and phone number. I texted my mom, e-mailed her the message, and then called her.

“I’m calling her now!” mom said.

I texted my sister (asleep on the East Coast) while I waited. A little while later, Mom called me back.

“It’s her,” she said.

I talked to Julie that evening for just a few minutes. “Mom’s been looking for you for a long time,” I said. I wanted her to know.

Julie is, herself, a mother and grandmother (“I’m a great-grandmother!” Mom said) who grew up with parents married for 64 years. We hope to all meet in person early next year. I’m so happy for us all, but especially for Julie and Mom.

Love you, Mom. Love you, Julie. I can’t wait to meet you.

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