|I Always Knew My
Name Was David
2002 by Simon Hodgson
From the age of about 4 or 5 I knew that I was adopted.
Whilst I didn't fully appreciate what it meant, my Mom and Dad told me that they loved me and that I was wanted and very special. My brother was adopted too. I can remember sitting in a big black leather chair in the judges chambers while he asked me questions on things like "Did I want a new brother and was I happy about it?" I can also remember him telling Mom to be quiet and let me answer on my own! I can still see the wood panelled walls, funny wigs, gowns and a little grey coat that I must have worn to court that day hanging on a coatstand.
At school I was quite open about being adopted when asked about it by the other children. They used to ask questions like "Don't you know who your real Mom and Dad are - wouldn't you like to know?" I just replied that I had a Mom and Dad and thought it funny when their mouths would stay wide open and their eyes stare in amazement. This must be what Mom and Dad had meant when they talked about 'being special'... How naive we are at that stage.
At the age of 11 things became a bit more complicated. We were at an age when kids start to say cruel things in an attempt to gain an advantage in the 'pecking order'. Kids can say some pretty awfull things and I soon realised that I was very different from most of the other children at school - they thought I was a freak! "That Kid doesn't have a real Mom and Dad", they would say to each other - even to their parents when they came to collect them after school...
To make things worse Mom became pregnant and me and my brother became terrified that we would no longer be wanted or needed any more once a real baby - one that actually belonged in our house was born. We would sit for hours and just talk about it together.
Towards the end of Moms pregnancy we had become used to the idea though - even looking forward to the event. You can imagine how we felt when the news came to us via the school secretary that we had to return home early one afternoon. Dad came to collect us and said that Mom had miscarried... For weeks we would try to stay out of the way of everybody, treading on tenderhooks to avoid the subject and hiding from Dad when he came home from the pub after finding himself in a bottle. The pain must have been unbearable.
It was when the 'census' lady visited us one evening that the real 'bombshell' dropped. I was 16 now and obliged to take part and answer questions. I sat in the corner of the room listening intently. "How many children do you have and how many times have you been pregnant?" the census lady said. The reply was a devastating blow to me. A sucker punch with the effect of making me feel physically sick. Mom had miscarried the year before I was born - I was just a replacement! I slammed the door behind me as I ran from the room and up the stairs to my bedroom, locking the door behind me and collapsing on the bed - crying with rage and self pity!
I became rebellious, drinking and staying out late at night. Dad was particularly cross when I started smoking, but I didn't care as I felt duty bound to become a pain in the ass!
After a number of weeks of not talking, eating or even being in the same room as my parents I calmed down a little. We never spoke any more about my adoption or the circumstances surrounding it. Since that day when the census lady visited we seemed to drift apart as a family and we have not really been close since...
Many years later and I am now married, have two smashing kids and a wonderful wife. It was only because of the risk of hereditary disease or something similar that I decided to find out more about my past. If I was honest about it I gave in to the never ending pressure that my sub-concious placed on me to find out.
A very nice lady called Sue visited me from the social and welfare office after lunch one day and explained the process of doing a search to me and how I should not to get my hopes up. I paid Somerset House £10 for a copy of my original birth certificate and waited for Sue the social worker to return.
The day I found out my original birth name was surreal... I was told to sit down and take a deep breath. My name was David! I can remember laughing out loud saying "I always knew my name was David!" perhaps it was a residual memory that had stayed with me? Probably just a lucky guess... I sat there giggling and shaking at the same time, my knees had turned to jelly and Sue told me that I went quite pale. My 'Birth Mother' was named Joan Ruth and my Father was called Eric. They shared the same surname as that nice chap who writes the 'Spot' stories...
I had been born in Birmingham in January 58 and adopted in August of the same year. I was shown the address of the nursing home where I was born and the road where my 'Parents' had lived. Unfortunately the nursing home had not kept records earlier than 1965 so even though I knew now who they were, they could not be traced. I registered with the 'Contact List' at National Statistics and still remain hopeful but to date I have not heard anything... Maybe I should employ an agency to find them for me if they are still alive? What sort of Hornets nest would I stir up though if I did - Do I have any Brothers or Sisters? So many questions but what are the answers?
One thing is certain - I always knew my name was David!
For Joan Ruth and Eric - whoever and wherever you are...
Love from your Son
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