by 8 men, is bittersweet.
December 7, 2016 marked eleven years since we met. It was awful being told I was conceived in rape back in 2003. I was 46 at the time. A hostile social worker from the adoption agency didn’t want to give any information when I spoke with her over the phone. Arriving at the adoption agency with a court order in my hands forced them to comply with my request. After a long time of talking I was told, “Since you’re going to find your mother you need to know about the father.”
The social worker leaned forward rudely adding,
“Your mother was raped!“
No mention of being pregnant after gang raped was a small blessing. However, it was the most horrible time of my life without a doubt to the point that I considered suicide. God was the only reason I didn’t. . Long story for another time. So I continued to live knowing He was my Creator but desperately wanting to find my birth mother.
One night I was watching someone find her birth mother on TV. I jumped off the couch and searched online for the company that helped find that birth mother. There my search began. About three weeks later I was given an address in Alabama and I was on a plane as fast as I could. Arriving at the address with a huge bouquet of flowers I found no one home. So I sat there for several hours until someone pulled into the driveway. When I asked the young woman about Ann Phillips she said she didn’t know her and had only bought the home a couple of years ago through a realtor. My heart was broken. Encouraged by a friend I went to the courthouse to search for documents on the property.
Everyone was so helpful after learning why I was searching. People scattered to several floors in the courthouse. It wasn’t long before someone returned acting like had discovered treasure. They had information about a death certificate and relatives. Indeed they really had found my treasure. Thanking them for the info I once again had my hope renewed. Before leaving Alabama I called my mother’s brother getting no answer. As not to ruin my chances of meeting my mother I left no message.
The woman wanted to know who I was and why I was calling.
Once home I nervously tried again. I had long prepared what I would say if someone answered. “Hello,” a woman’s voice said. She was Ann’s sister in law. My turn,,” Hi, I’m calling about Ann Phillips.” The woman wanted to know who I was and why I was calling. So scared to lose my opportunity I continued like a professional actress. “My mom recently died and wanted to get a message to Ann.” Pressing further the woman asked, “What is your mother’s name?” Without hesitation I gave her name. My heart sank as I heard, “I don’t know anyone by that name and I went to school with Ann.” I quickly responded, “Oh it wasn’t from school.”
Pressing further she questioned, “Where did she know Ann from?” When I said “Louisiana” there was complete silence. Being in sales taught me that the last person to speak loses the sale so I remained silent for what seemed an eternity. She finally spoke up. “I’ll have to get my husband to call you.” That would not be a problem I assured her. We spoke a bit about Ann being in a nursing home at the time and her being ill.
Our conversation ended and so did my hope to ever meet my mother.
I just knew my aunt knew who I was.
Fifteen minutes went by. After speaking with my mother my aunt called me back. Ann would get in touch with me but I was told not to expect it to be soon. This was the end of November but Ann’s sister in law let me know it could be February before I’d get that call. February? Well that was better than nothing I suppose but how was I going to wait that long?Time passed. I tried to live my life like normal but it was impossible for my mind to be anywhere else beside thoughts of what would happen. Would it even happen?
My heart’s desire was to just tell her thank you for my life.
December 7, 2005 is a day I will never forget.The call came in the morning while I was painting a mural for a client. I just let the phone ring, because I didn’t want to talk with her. It was my plan to get her number and search for her address. Then I’d meet her face to face. My heart’s desire was to just tell her thank you for my life. After that she could do what she wanted whether that was to accept me or reject me.
Society’s rejection of children conceived in rape weighed heavy on me. Even some of the most active “pro life” people hold exceptions for abortions in cases of rape. The life I was given is a gift from God and a gift from my mother, sustained by my adoptive parents. Just the fact that I was adopted led me to believe society had won and my mother had rejected me after I was born. But that was completely untrue.
I listened to her message and tears poured down my face. If I was her “long lost daughter” she wanted to see me. WHAT, long lost daughter? She’d been praying to God for 48 years that she would see me again. First I let my dad hear her message and we both cried. Then with trembling hands and what seemed like elephants in my stomach I made the call. The nursing home where she lived was filled with carolers making it difficult for her to hear me.
“As far as I know I’m your daughter!” I said as loud as I could without yelling.
She had waited so long for this moment but we both knew it wasn’t enough. Seeing each other face to face was a must. My dad spoke with her before we ended the call. What he said was overwhelmingly empowering cancelling the overwhelming destructive feelings of rape conception.
“Thank you for giving me my beautiful daughter and for making my family complete,”
my adoptive father told my birth mother.
I was on the very next flight to Alabama and at 7 pm on December 7, 2005 I walked through the doors of her nursing home. So many thoughts ran through my mind. The records showed she had brown eyes and mine are a very distinctive light blue. Would I “remind her of the rapist?” I was so nervous. Standing at the reception desk about to ask where I could find Ann I heard her voice behind me, “Juda?”
In what seemed like a slow motion movie I turned to see the brightest blue eyes! At last we were together! Immediately she wanted a hug and then stared at me with so much love in her eyes. Smiling, like me, we soaked in a most surreal moment. Unashamed, she told everyone in the nursing home when she arrived almost a year earlier.
They all knew she had placed a daughter for adoption after being gang raped. Introducing me to everyone who passed by us my mother thanked God for answered prayers. I would find out after she died that she had told people each Valentine’s day that we would one day celebrate my birthday together. Her prediction did come true on my 49th birthday the February following our meeting. We continued our conversation for about an hour before my curiosity got the best of me.
Since the records were wrong about her eye color could they be wrong about
the rape too?
Would she mind telling me about my conception I asked. She answered without hesitation. It happened as she walked home from a movie late one night. This was a night off from her nanny job. Her ride to the theatre was too drunk to pick her up. Nothing could have prepared her for this night. On a street corner in a used car lot there were eight young men, late teens, early twenties with nothing better to do. They grabbed her, beat her, raped her and left her for dead. She laid there fearing if she moved they would “finish the job.” On my knees next to her wheelchair talking for the past hour I burst into tears and laid my head in her lap, “I’m so so sorry.”
She patted my shoulder saying, “Honey stop your cryin’, I’ve forgiven those men
and look what God has done. He’s brought you back to me. God is faithful!”
Wow nothing could have been more powerful. My whole perspective changed. In years past forgiveness came easy for me and now I knew why. A hero gave birth to me and she loved me so very much. I didn’t remind her of a rapist. Society was wrong. God’s gift of love blocked Ann’s reminder of the rapists. Some would think if He loved her He would have stopped those men but He gives us all free will to do as we choose. To those who seek Him, they know full well of His great love.
Remembering my birth mom, pregnant after gang raped brings a bittersweet memories. Seven years of beautiful times stay in my heart. We were together when I arrived in this world and we were together when she left.
Every moment presents itself with choices. Consider choosing life in all situations.