A Birthmother's Journey

This is the journey that begins when the author is a teenager and continues during the reunion with the son she gave up 32 years ago.

Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am the natural mother of two sons one, age 32 and the other age 18 and stepmother of two sons.I had to start this after my oldest son found me in July of this year after 32 years. It is one heck of a rollercoaster ride but we plan on meeting face to face in November.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Phone Call

After I got the pictures of my son and grandson(yes I have a four year old grandson!)I knew he was my son. Duane is the image of one of my older brothers. In the first call, he asked me if his father had refused to sign the papers right away-that is when it hit me- this is my kid!

That night he called. He asked me all kinds of questions, but the first thing was why it took me so long to look for him. I explained it as best as I could. We both tried to keep cool but we were both in tears and talking at the same time. Duane had thought I was dead all these years and I-well-I didn't know if he was alive or not.

The First E-mails

Before I continue about the phone call that had both of us laughing and crying and talking at the same time-it lasted till the battery on my cell phone died- I want to put in the first few e-mails between my son and I:

Dear Duane,
I am sitting here trying to write this, and wipe tears away at the same time...talk about multi-tasking. This is so surreal. I keep asking myself if I am going to wake up and find that this was all a dream. I always wondered what kind of a man you had become. And wondered what I would do if the day came when I finally found you. I do want you to know and to assure your parents that I know I can never take the place of the parents who raised you and are the only ones you have ever known. I will always be eternally grateful to them for giving you a home and raising you right. Your mother was right, you do have a right to know if that is what you want. Well I am glad that it is what you chose to do.

Like I told you, I was 17 years old when I gave you up for adoption and 16 when I got pregnant. I was a baby having a baby and I needed to get my life together before I could take care of another life. It was a tough decision for a 17 year old girl to make. I was a ward of the state and living in a foster home at the time. I wasn't about to marry your birth father who was a year younger than me and a total jerk and I couldn't take care of you myself without even a high school diploma and no real skills except waitressing.

You asked me why it took me so long. Well, Fear has alot to do with it. I was afraid of what you would do if I tried to find you earlier. I wanted to wait until you were an adult and could maybe handle it better(not like I am dealing with it any too well LOL) I also had no clue what I would say or do if we found each other. But I know in my heart that we have found each other and I hope that it hasn't turned your world upside down too much. We just need to take things one day at a time and get to know each other. I know that it must be hard for you right now learning about a whole other family that you have here in Oregon. But I will do everything I can to help you through it. I would say "Trust Me" but that too will come in time.

I am trying real hard to come up with some pearls of wisdom but they escape me at the moment. I am still trying to get over the shock of finding you.

Well, kiddo, I better get to sleep or at least try to. I am sending a picture taken of me a few years ago and one of Patrick at his high school graduation.
Take Care Of You,
I just wanted to let you know that there is now doubt in my mind that the information is genuine. Here is a picture of me. Sorry that it is not the greatest, but I hope that you will possible see some similarities. Hope to hear from you soon.

A.K.A Jeremy Steven Trejo
Dear Duane,
There is so much to say. I guess the most important thing is that I never regretted having you. A part of me did regret giving you up, but I knew deep down that it was for the best. And until now, there has always been a small empty place inside. That void is filled now.

I wanted to write you a letter when you were born, hoping that your parents would give it to you when the time came. But the caseworker told me and my foster mom that there was no guarantee that you would ever get it, so I didn't.

I wanted to tell you then why I did what I did, and ask that you please not hate me. I am so glad that you understand about all that. You never would have become the man you are today if I had tried to raise you myself.

We all have our demons to battle, our dragons to slay...I have had my fair share of them more times than I care to count, but we muddle through, safe in the knowledge that there are people out there that truly love us. Not only were you loved by your parents but you have always held a special place in my heart, even when I had no bloody idea where you were or how you were doing.

Patrick got home from work a bit ago and I showed your picture to him. At first he said, "That's Uncle Bill" before I told him who it was. And he had me pull up pics of all three of you. His reaction was and I quote "Damn Mom, looks like I got a big brother finally!" He even commented about how much the three of you looked alike. Looks like you got a kid brother now too. :)

Well that is about it for this time....
Take Care of You and remember I love ya kiddo,

Monday, September 25, 2006


In July of 2006, I recieved an e-mail. It read "Just wondering if you were still in search of your son!? And are you still residing in Portland, OR?"

I answered of course I was and yes I still lived in Portland OR. The next day I got a phone call. Our conversation went like this:
"Is this Inez?"
"Yes, it is."
"Did you have a son born on June 26 1974 at Chicago Lying In Hospital?"
"Yes I did."
"Well my name is Duane and I think I am that son"

I thought to myself"Is this some kind of cruel joke?????" Here I had been searching for 4 long years and all of a sudden I get this call from a stranger telling me he might be my son-what was this and was I dreaming or hallucinating???????

We Move to Oregon

In 2003, we moved to Oregon with Michael's youngest son Dustin. Patrick stayed in Washington State with his dad and step-mother so he could finish school. I was still searching. A few young men called but each time, something wasn't right. So I continued my search.

I was busy visiting Patrick twice a month, paying for it with my disability check. I had been getting sick a lot and had to slow down on my searching.

Then I was in a research study using behavior modification to control seizures....it worked!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Beginning The Search-2002

I met my life partner Michael in July 2002. He has two teenage sons who call me Mom. Well I got to wondering about my first born, my Jeremy. So Michael who had lost a child to adoption himself encouraged me to start searching for my son.

I joined groups, looked up names and e-mails when I was sent names, eventually posted a profile on a search site called Adoption.com as a birthmother in search of her son. I checked the forums every day and posted at least once a month, but I had no luck.

By this time, I had told Patrick and Michael's two boys, Sean and Dustin that I was actively looking for my first son. I had also quit all the drinking and drugs. Michael and the boys supported that decision as well.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

1988 Patrick

Patrick was born premature by 3 weeks. But he became the lifeline I needed. I was still in a spiral but having him made me whole again. I was scared when the nurse took him to the nursery. I even asked her if I was gonna see him again. She asked me why and I told her something I had hidden since that June day in 1974. I told her about my first son.

I still went downhill eventually becoming addicted to cocaine and drinking heavy again after he was born. (As of this writing I am now 16 years clean and 8 years sober) I did get help this time, but I still had to take meds for my seizures, after numerous suicide attempts I signed a "No Harm Contract" and have not even thought about killing myself.

Rhett got custody of Patrick when I was in rehab but he let me be a large part of our son's life, as long as I stayed clean and sober. And I bonded with the son I raised. I started calling him my "Shining Star" and my hero because in all honesty he is. He was five when he would hold my head during a seizure and hug me when I would think about his brother and start crying.

When Pat was old enough to understand, I told him about his older brother and how someday, I might look for him.

The Spiral

I never really got over what happened. I went deeper into the depths of depression, drug and alcohol abuse and trying to find someone who could take away the pain. I did get through college and my GED but I did it as if I were a zombie. It was just something to do to keep the memories in the back of my mind. I moved from place to place, not staying in any one spot for too long and each relationship I was in was worse than the one before.

I moved from Illinois to Washington State in an effort to start over but that didn't help much until 1987 when my life would change drastically.

I had two failed marriages under my belt and more bad relationships than I care to count when I met someone who I thought would change my life and in a lot of ways, he did. Rhett became my best friend and the father of another son. In 1986, I almost died from an ectopic pregnancy and was told I had a less than 40 percent chance of ever concieving again. Then in 1987, I found out I was 7 weeks pregnant with a boy. I gave birth to Patrick Gregory on April 3, 1988. Patrick was and still is everything to me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Epilepsy and me

A few days after I got out of the hospital, I was standing in back of the brownstone we lived in with David and my friend Regina who lived upstairs from us just smoking a cigarette and talking. It was really hot out. Next thing I know I was in the emergency room of a hospital with my foster mom. My chin was sore and bloody and I had no clue what happened. My foster mom told me I had had an epileptic seizure. It was a grand mal one - the type where ya flop around like a fish out of water. I had no clue what epilepsy was.

The doctors said it was due to heat exhaustion and the physical and emotion stress of giving birth and giving my baby away. For the rest of my life I would have to be on medication to control my seizures if I wanted to live a normal life, but I would have change my lifestyle too.

My Spiral Into The Depths of My Own Personal Hell

The day I signed the papers and conned David into it became what I call the beginning of my downward spiral into my own personal hell. I hated myself, hated who I was and what I had become. I was no longer that bright sunny girl anymore-I was worthless, a person who had given away a baby- and I knew more about life than other girls my age.

So I started drinking heavy and doing every illegal drug known to modern man! David and I had split up which was good, but I became the ultimate "BAD GIRL" I didn't care anymore either. I did keep asking about the baby and when he was about 6 months old, they told me his name was Duane Alan. My caseworker told me it was because they wanted me to stop asking questions about him.

After the Birth-The most important 15 minutes of my teen life

I was laying in the hospital room crying, seemed like all I could do was cry then. I was so ashamed and angry and guilt-ridden. I had just given away a part of me....but I really didn't want to. I regretted it but it was all done. Then this young nurse came in and let me hold my little guy for all of 15 minutes. Then the head nurse of the floor came in and snatched him from me and told her that I was not supposed to see him, that I was one of "THOSE GIRLS". The young nurse looked at me and came back later to see how I was doing. My foster mom held me while I cried. David didn't want to see me. And that hurt too. The nurse who let me hold my son came back with flowers and a card and a big dish of mint chocolate chip ice cream trying to help me feel better.

My priest came in and said it was all for the best. That maybe now my soul would be saved after all....like I really needed to hear that!

Labor and Delivery

I really don't remember too much about it all. I started out in a lot of pain and my water breaking. I thought I had wet my pants, but Mom said it was just the beginning of labor and not to worry, I would have plenty of time before the baby was born. But boy did it hurt after about two hours!

My foster mom had been teaching me deep breathing(back then they didn't call it Lamaze) in order to slow down the pain. And she timed my contractions. They were coming alot faster than she had thought, especially for it being a first pregnancy and me being so young.

She told her room mate Donna to keep an eye on the kids while she took me and David(he stayed with us the last couple months of my pregnancy) to the hospital. They wouldn't let anybody come in to the delivery room with me....it was just me in this white sterile room. The nurse came in with the doctor who was not my OB and checked me. I was crying alot because of the pain of the contractions, all the time doing the breathing that my foster mom had taught me.

They gave me a shot of something and then it was over. I was told I had a baby boy. But I wasn't allowed to see him. They wrapped my breasts in what seemed like ACE bandages and gave me a shot to dry up the milk and that was just as painful as the birth.


I really should tell more about my baby's father. His name was David Steven Taylor. We were both just kids-he was 15 when I got pregnant and 16 when the baby was born. David had a way of charming all the girls around and that was why we got together. We were both wards of the state and just babies having a baby as I put it. The only reason I can recall his full name so clearly is because I had an older brother named David and we named the baby Jeremy Steven.