Upon further examination of the calendar, I noticed there are still 2 remaining Tuesdays in November, so I get to build the suspense for one more week! I know! So mean!
I promised you a gift for Thanksgiving…so, I’ll tell you more about how I actually managed to get connected with her after calling the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa. After all, it’s not as if that one call then provided me with an easy contact number or anything! It most definitely did NOT.
I remember that conversation well…I spoke with the nicest caseworker named Laura Valcin. In fact, her actual title was Adoption and Former Crown Ward Disclosure Worker. So in January of 1970 up until I was adopted by the Learys, I was a “Crown ward”! Here in the US it’s called a “ward of the State.”
Anyway, when I spoke with her, she had all sorts of good news for me: I was entitled to request a non-official copy of my ORIGINAL birth certificate (so exciting!!) AND, get this, my entire file from the Children’s Aid Society!!!
Jaw dropping developments in my search!
I jumped right on requesting those items, as you would imagine! And then, watching the mail like a hawk began…every day I checked the mail with high hopes. And then, at last, the requested file and my birth certificate arrived.
Deep breaths of excitement mixed with trepidation.
The things I was about to learn about my past were in envelopes…envelopes I was holding in my own two hands.
At last. After all this time.
I believe I opened the unofficial birth certificate first. It was way thinner compared to the thick CAS file.
There it was: HER NAME. Holy shit, y’all! That was a HUGE moment.
“Mother: Roberta Joan Turner” Wow. Her actual name!
Ok, but “Turner”?!?!? How about Smith??? Or Jones????
More on that later.
And then…I learned what I was named at birth!!!
“Name: Jennifer Christine Turner” Double wow!! This was a totally unexpected surprise. I hoped I’d get to ask her why she chose those names.
My head was literally spinning. These were amazing LEADS!!!
So, now what??? I wanted to hire a private detective. Immediately. The best one around, with all the connections. Unfortunately, this was not a great time in our household as far as our budget was going. We were fine, but no extras, you know??
AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH. But of course. Have patience, Ryan.
HA!!! I’d already been patient for FORTY YEARS.
But there were things I could do for free, like post on cousinconnect.com.
Here’s what I posted:
“Searching [sic] for birth mother Roberta Joan Turner, who had me on Jan 5 1970 in Ottawa, Ontario, and named me Jennifer Christine Turner. She was 19. Birth father was 21 and British. She gave me a silver baby bracelet inscribed to me that I still have. I am also wondering if I have any half-siblings. My adoption was handled through the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa. I was adopted by Robert and Helen Leary and moved to the United States as a baby where I’ve lived ever since.”
Imagine me writing all that. It was BIG. And was a great move!! Why??
Thar was the listing that she ultimately found. And responded to.
However, there’s so much more. Like, how did she know to look there…after so much time?? After all, I was 40, and many years passed. Decades.
Well, this is one of my favorite parts of the story. I had some lovely friends that I had met at the dog park, a lesbian couple who were hoping to adopt, and were fascinated by my adoption story. I told them the latest developments, and how I so wished I had the $400 to hire my private detective friend to start the search in earnest on my behalf. I wanted progress now that I had leads to go on!
Well, not long after that conversation, I got a “mysterious” anonymous bank envelope left under my doormat with that exact amount! OMG! They played dumb for awhile, and eventually admitted their ploy, but it was such a lovely gesture!!! (That same couple eventually adopted precious twin girls!!)
With my special money, I immediately I hired my friend, who put my posting onto ancestry.com, which turned out to be the domino we needed.
Luckily, my birth mum’s brother was a regular on there! He received a “ping” that a Turner had turned up in a search…he was confused because, lo and behold, he didn’t know I ever existed! (that’s a whole other long story!) So when he mentioned to my birth mum that he’d gotten a mysterious “ping” on ancestry.com, she smartly figured I might be looking for her at last!!
PS she purposely kept her maiden name even after getting married to be more “findable” (and I’m so grateful!).
Remember in my video where I mentioned her response to my post on cousinconnect.com?
Here’s the response:
“I am the person you are looking for. The inscription on the bracelet is ‘with love from your mother.’
I guess tissues were needed this week after all!!!
PS She goes by “Bobbie”!
Until next week! (and the reveal of the reunion video)
Did you catch this month’s Nonprofit Shoutout interview? Soooo good!