I think I was in a fog for the rest of the day, maybe the next several days. My mind was working overtime, putting together all of the pieces of my relationship with Danielle over the years. I may have come to the conclusion that she was my birth mom before my parents told me, but that doesn't mean I was really able to wrap my mind around it right away!
The next morning I decided to call Danielle and let her know that I had found out everything. This was not as easy as it may seem, though. The last time I had seen or talked to her was at my high school graduation, about a month before my 18th birthday. I am assuming that she backed off after that because she was giving me space—she probably figured that I would find out about her within a few days of turning 18, and she wanted me to be able to get in touch with her when I felt comfortable. I'm sure she didn't expect me to wait over a year to search her out.
Anyway, apparently in that time, she moved. The previous summer she'd lived with a roommate in Columbus, and we called that apartment first… only to find out that she had moved suddenly and not left a forwarding address or phone number. We had one other contact—the family Danielle had lived with when she was pregnant with me. We called them, but they didn't know where she was either.
This was getting more complicated than I was ready to deal with.
And then… are you ready for this? The phone rang. Guess who.
Yep, I hadn't heard from Danielle in over a year, and now, WHILE I WAS TRYING TO FIND A WAY TO CONTACT HER, she called. Out of the blue. She had no idea that we were trying to get in touch with her.
Honestly… I don't remember much about that first conversation. I know that I answered the phone. I know that I told her I knew she was my birth mom, and I know she was relieved. But that's really all I remember. I don't think we got into any great details that day, but we set up a time for her to come visit.
That is when we were really able to talk.
It's difficult to relay to you my full story without telling hers… but I really don't want to betray her privacy. So let me sum up a lot by saying… Danielle didn't come from a stable background. She'd had a lot of struggles as a child and teenager, and she finally decided to join the Air Force. She felt that would give her some stability, some discipline.
And then she met him. Danielle was a mechanic in the Air Force, and there was a crash involving aircraft from her base, so the Air Force sent an officer to investigate. The man who would become my birth father. I honestly don't know how much of a relationship they had—I know that she says she was very much in love with him. I also know that he lived in a different state. And he was married. Not the makings of a healthy, committed relationship.
When Danielle got pregnant with me, it was mandatory that she leave the Air Force—adultery is not allowed. My birth father would have been asked to leave as well, except that she wouldn't tell anyone who he was. So suddenly she was on her own again. She returned to Ohio, to a pastor and his family who had taken her in during her late teen years, and then decided to go to Bible college.
In the meantime, by the way, my birth father was not offering any help to her… until a friend of hers basically blackmailed him. She threatened to tell his commanding officer that he was the father, which as I said before would have ended his career in the Air Force. So he started paying for her medical bills—although he didn't know that she had insurance that was already covering that. (Remember way back when I said my parents had wanted to help with her expenses, but she didn't need it? And the judge said if they had given her any money, he would have taken the baby away? Yeah, God works in mysterious ways……….)
And that was really all she could tell me. She knew his name, where he was stationed when the two of them met, and… well, that was pretty much it. Not much to go on if I wanted to find him… but then again, at that point, I really didn't. Right then I already had enough on my plate.
We had a good evening of just catching up and exchanging memories and filling in some gaps. And we promised to be in touch more.
But believe me, the story is far from over.