The Unknown

From an adoptee – “It’s not as easy as everyone thinks, growing up and never knowing the truth about yourself.”

And it isn’t easy for the child of two adoptees because the feeling is the same – there is an emptiness, a void, a gap in the family history story and it hurts somehow in some deep place that is hard to describe to someone who hasn’t felt this.

Having gotten my mother’s adoption file from the state of Tennessee, due to her having been adopted through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society – Memphis branch – under the direction of Georgia Tann (who would have been indicted on criminal charges had she not died first), it was clear that my maternal grandmother never intended to lose my mom.

When my mom tried to get that adoption file herself in 1990 (and was rejected by the state of Tennessee), she said – as a mom, I would have wanted to know what happened to my child.  My mom yearned for a reunion she would never have, since her mom died in 1984.  My mom was devastated.

I also believe her mom always hoped my mom would find her.  Though her given name was Elizabeth and it shows up in the adoption file and later in the divorce papers from my maternal grandfather 3 years later, she reverted to the name on my mom’s birth registration in Virginia – “Lizzie Lou” – and even her gravestone bears that name.

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