#NAAM 2018 ADOPTION STORIES: Florencia Lalor, Part 2, born in Argentina, adopted in Argentina

TWO DAYS AGO I SHARED PART 1 OF FLORENCIA’S ADOPTION STORY, WRITTEN IN HER OWN WORDS. HERE IS PART 2, IN WHICH FLORENCIA TELLS US ABOUT HER REUNION, THE EMOTIONS THAT SHE WENT THROUGH IN THAT PROCESS AND AT THE END OF IT ALL COMING TO TERMS WITH HER OWN STORY…

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“My Adoption Story-Part 2

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known I was adopted. When I was 24 years old I decided to search for my biological mother. My adoptive mom took care of the paperwork to get my biological mother’s information (in Argentina records have always been open). Once I had my biological mother’s name I began by looking for her in the phone book (in 2004 we still didn’t have the social media resources we have today), and I actually found her in 10 minutes. There were only 10 people with her last name in the phonebook. I called the first one on the list and it was her house. I couldn’t believe it. I got so nervous I hung up. Then I needed several months just to process the fact that I finally knew who and where she was.

Four months went by and I decided to write her a letter where I explained who I am and told her I just wanted to meet her and know who she was. Six months went by and I didn’t hear back from her. So one day, I just couldn’t wait anymore and I decided to call her. I’m not sure where I got the courage to do it, but I did. I called and she answered the phone immediately. When I told her my name she told me at once: “Hello, I got your letter.” And then we just started to talk. She spoke to me just the way you would speak to a stranger, and that was fine for me. She agreed to meet with me so we decided on a day and time. But when the day finally came closer she canceled. I was disappointed. But we rescheduled. And again she canceled on me. This happened three times. I tried to empathize with her and thought she was probably too nervous. So I decided to give her time and space. I waited for some time to go by and then I called her again but just to say hello, not to ask her to meet with me. And one year went by. In 2005, I called her again and this time she invited me to her home and she didn’t cancel.

Our first reunion was good. To be honest, I just felt like I was meeting someone I didn’t know for the first time. I was so nervous, and maybe it is just so much to handle on the emotional level that one blocks the true emotions. I showed her pictures of myself when I was a baby and a kid, and she showed me pictures of her family, too. And after ‘the ice was broken’, I asked her if she could tell me the reason why she gave me up for adoption. I explained to her that I needed to know why. She seemed ok with my question. I guess she was expecting it. She told me that when I was born she already was a single mother (She has another daughter who is 10 years older than me and we were born on the exact same day), and she was living at her aunt’s place with her other daughter. Apparently, her aunt told her that if she had another child she would no longer be welcome to stay there. My biological mother, Elisa, is a nurse and she did have a job but she told me she couldn’t afford to take care of two kids. I also asked about my biological father and she told me a little bit about him and said that they never saw each other again. I didn’t ask for many details. I didn’t know how. I guess I was nervous and I didn’t want to upset her. She also told me that her other daughter doesn’t know about my existence. Apparently, she hid her pregnancy from her and never told her I was born.

Elisa also wanted to know about me and my life. When I told her my parents got divorced when I was 10 years old she got upset. I guess she always thought that by giving me up for adoption I was going to have a perfect life and when I told her that that was not the case she was surprised.

Our meeting lasted for approximately 2 hours. When I left we told each other that we were going to be in touch. And we were for the first year after our reunion.

At the end of the year 2005, I got married and moved to the US, to New York, for 5 years. My first year in New York, Elisa called me a couple of times and we met again when I went back home for the holidays. We had lunch together one more time and it was nice. After that, we lost touch. I don’t know why. Personally, I think I needed a lot of time to process everything. On her side, I think she needed and still needs time, too.

Thirteen years went by. At the beginning of 2018 I contacted Elisa again. I asked her if we could meet and she said yes. We got together in an afternoon, at a coffee place. She was nice and nervous. She is 73 years old now. I’m thankful that she accepted to see me. She asked me about my life and I asked her about hers. We talked for a while and I told her the reason I wanted to see her was that I wanted to ask her about my biological father. In 2005 she gave me his name but I couldn’t find him so I needed more information. She gave me what I asked for. After several hours we said goodbye one more time. We gave each other a long hug. I think about it, even now, and it makes me sad. I feel she hasn’t forgiven herself for giving me up (even though I told her I was never angry at her for it), and her guilt doesn’t allow her to open up completely to me. I don’t know… I still wonder… I never really understood why she gave me up. She was 35 years old when I was born. She was a single mom already, yes, but she was a nurse and she always had a job. I think she had resources… I honestly think she could have kept me. I guess there are things she will never tell me and I have to accept that.

After my third encounter with my biological mother, I found my biological father, through Facebook. We only spoke on the phone. He was very nice to me. He actually didn’t know about my existence. He told me that my biological mother told him she had an abortion. So he never knew I was actually born.

Today he is 68 years old, already retired, and he never married nor had any children. He was surprised and happy… at least it seemed he was happy when I told him I’m his daughter. Our conversation was long and kind. He seems to be a good man. I felt peace. I still haven’t met him in person. I’m giving him the time he asked for, to process all this. I am anxious and I do think about him every day, hoping he decides to call me again.

Everyone in my family (adoptive family) knows all about my searches and reunions. My adoptive dad was always happy for me. He supports me 100% on this. For my adoptive mom, it’s more difficult. She tells me she supports me but I can tell it’s hard for her.

Overall, I’m finally at peace and happy. Being an adoptive child is part of who I am. I wouldn’t change this. My life was not perfect. My adoptive parents are not perfect. But they do love me and did their best. And I guess my biological parents did what they could too. I like to see the ‘glass half full’. I do hope at some point in my life we can all be closer.

Thanks for ‘hearing’ me.”

 

Written by

Florencia Lalor

born in Argentina, adopted and raised in Argentina

She is the founder of the blog “La Voz del Hijo”, which you can find and follow at www.lavozdelhijo.org

Florencia is a Psychologist and Social Worker. She got her Master’s at Columbia University in New York and she specializes in adoption.

 

 

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