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A Mother’s Loss: Part 1

November 16, 2009

My family structure is unconventional, to say the least. My father had 7 children by 5 different women. He and my mother were never married and already split up by the time I came in to the picture. I am the only child of their brief affair.  My mother wanted to give me up for adoption when I was born but my father put the kibosh on that. Instead, he raised me (with the sometime help of my older half-sister’s mom) in his home. My mom would visit me from time to time and when I was about 3 years old she decided that I should live with her.  One day she basically kidnapped me from my daycare and took me home with her. When my dad wanted me back there was a small scandal and a big custody battle that was written about in the local newspaper because my parents were interracial and my maternal grandfather was a city alderman. My mother won custody of me but I continued to see my father regularly.

My mother has never been an open book when it came to her history. Some families constantly reminisce about the past: not mine. I rarely ever heard my mother speak of her childhood or her adult life before me. It wasn’t until the one day I happened upon the article from the newspaper about the custody hearing that I learned I was not my mother’s only child. The article said my mother had two other children before me that she had given up for adoption. I was shocked and confused by this news, yet I never confronted my mother about it. I guess I figured, at my young age, that she had kept this information from me for a reason and I needed to honor that.

Some years ago my mother told me that she received a telephone call from the oldest child she had given up for adoption. I don’t remember how the subject came up but I am pretty sure this was the first time she had ever mentioned having another child.  She said this child, her son, who still had her last name, rang her up because he wanted to know more about his past and why she had given him up for adoption. They spoke at length and had a pleasant conversation. He said he’d been raised in a happy foster home but was never adopted.  He didn’t give her his telephone number or say he wanted to meet her. Apparently that single conversation was all he (they?) needed:  he never contacted her again.

Last night my mom tells me that the police showed up at her door at 5 AM a few days before. The police asked her if she knew this man with her same last name. She said yes, it was the son she had given up for adoption and spoken to only once. The police said they had bad news: her son was found dead. He lived alone in a rooming house. He was 48 years old.  The police contacted the only person listed in his mobile phone address book: my mother.

To be continued. . .

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2009 9:44 pm

    only one word: wow.

  2. 1chicklette permalink
    November 16, 2009 9:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing this – so deeply personal. And a bonus! You write beautifully. Keep sharing your stories. Jen

  3. November 20, 2009 3:08 am

    Oh…my…gosh, Maija. I am so moved by your post. I can’t wait to read part 2, but I had to first comment and tell you how much I LOVE YOUR WRITING!!! And your spirit, and your openness, and your honesty. I so relate to you in this way. I have been looking for your blog for a while now (after losing my bookmarks). I knew it was something with “pig” – you wouldn’t believe the things I stumbled upon looking for it. But I finally found you again, and I’m so glad! You are such a gifted writer, and I’m a loyal follower of your writing. Then there’s the interracial piece! Wow. More in common. I’m not interracial but some of my best friends are, lol. Like, my two oldest daughters (Wrote this post about them thrilling the world and me and my other 5 children.

    You keep writing!!! And I’ll keep reading.

    Btw, when I finally found your blog again, I tweeted this:

    Look forward to read everything you write. :)


  4. April 6, 2010 11:28 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I inked several issues of SABLE over his pencils for First Comics. I never spoke to him on the phone or met him (I don’t get to many comic shows), but our mutual friend Marke Heike had told me what he knew about him at the time.

    Mark was from Milwaukee and has lived in Florida working for AC Comics for many years. I know Mark already had some concerns about Bill way back then. I think Bill and I probably exchanged a couple of letters and I feel so bad that life didn’t treat him better in the end. RIP.


  1. Bill Jaaska has Passed Away – Can Anyone Confirm? | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

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