Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Meeting her birthmother at age 19 left Sonia with more questions than answers. What would her life be like if Jane had raised her? Where was the genetic father? And most important, why was Jane adamant that Sonia not meet her half-sisters?

Though Sonia was born when Jane was 19, Jane had waited to start her own family until her late twenties. When Sonia found her, Jane's children were "tweens" on the cusp of adolescence. Jane could not introduce them, she explained, because it was the wrong time.

Perhaps I could meet them as your "friend", Sonia countered. Jane need not explain to the children the Sonia was her first daughter. In response, Jane showed Sonia a picture of Sonia taken when she was about twelve. Sonia was standing next to a couch she had never seen, in a room she had never entered, and her hair was curled in a perm Sonia had never had. It was Jane's youngest daughter, Stacey.

Stacey and Sonia looked so identical that later, when Sonia met her biological grandparents, Jane's brother believed her prank that Sonia was his younger niece (granted, the uncle lived in another state and only saw his niece once a year). In fact, Sonia showed me this picture of Stacey without comment after we had been married and living together for several years. My response, before she revealed the subject of the photo, was "I didn't know you had a perm at this age."

It was not the right time for Sonia to meet her half-sisters. Jane had not prepared them for such an experience. They remained ignorant of Sonia's existence. It would have been easy to tell the children about Sonia when they were little. They would have absorbed the information without question.

Telling her daughters the truth would have been as simple as correcting Pat, the older girl, when she claimed to be "the oldest". Or simply gathering the girls and explaining with a smile and a positive attitude that mommy had helped another family to have a baby a long time ago. What a kind thing to do. Any child would be proud of her mother for performing such a selfless action.

But the right time had never come. And now Jane felt it was too late.

At least she had met Jane and filled that hole in her heart. Perhaps one day the right time would come and Sonia would meet Jane's children. For now, knowing Jane had to be enough for Sonia.