Claudia B.

A personal quest that reveals adoption secrets

and the importance of embracing our roots.

Story of an adoption and an encounter.

This story begins the day I was born, 45 years ago, in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut. The day my first mother, under the imposing mandate of my first grandmother, decided to give me up for adoption, or as they used to say at that time, ‘give me away’.

Today I think that God wanted my adoptive mother to be in the right place at the right time, and intervened so that she would choose me as her daughter. Her first reaction was to ask the midwife who attended the delivery:“And won’t her mother and grandmother want to meet her before I take her away?”. The midwife replied: “No, they have already left and they said that this baby generated enough expenses without wanting to meet her”. My mother, surprised and confused, took me to her house, where my father and my brothers, who were 12 and 6 years old at the time, were waiting.

My parents promised to keep my adoption a secret for life. At that time, people believed it was the best thing to do, to protect the adopted child.

My siblings were and are very nice. Our life as siblings was like any other sibling’s life, with fights, complicity, jealousy, friendship, games, patience (theirs with me, which explains why I am so spoiled) and teachings.

My life went by like anyone else’s: kindergarten, school, field trips, high school. I was a rebel. As my adolescence went by, I had more conflicts in my life. High school was terrible. I did not have a good relationship with my classmates. I was not interested in my studies. My brother could no longer tolerate my behavior because he knew that I was making our mother suffer too much. This was enough for him to tell me the truth about me being an adoptee. He told me in the worst possible way, but with good reason. I was already 18 years old and he was close to 30.

Foto testimonio Claudia B

Claudia B. is 58 years old. She has 5 children who are her pillars and 6 grandchildren. Guille has been her life partner for 39 years.
She defines herself: ‘intense housewife who celebrates life every time it dawns’.

When this happened I began a new stage in my life. The moment my brother told me the truth was traumatic. That day I felt what it was like to be truly alone. I did not recognize all the people who had been my family up to that moment. They had all lied to me! I felt all the differences: the color of my eyes, the color of my hair, my height, their intelligence, their neatness. I felt so different from them that I find it hard to explain. Nothing of what I thought I had had until that day belonged to me. Not even my mother (my father had already passed away when I was 5 years old).

That horrible, sad, and undeserved day, I promised myself to look for what did belong to me: my identity.

Time passed, and it is true that it heals wounds. My mother returned to her place in my head and in my heart, as well as my siblings.

Years later, with my husband, we had five children. With each birth I remembered my own story and wondered: ‘How could she? Why did she give me away? A baby, nothing more helpless in this world’.

This encouraged my desire to start my search, but I didn’t know how to go about it. Sometimes the phone would ring in my house or someone would knock on the door and my children would say: “Mom, they’re looking for you”, and I would think: ‘Well, she found me at last’. It was always an ever-present theme.

Twenty-six years after the day I found out about my ‘identity replacement’, one day my adoptive mom gave me a key piece of information, even though she was very reticent about it. She told me: “If you ever look for your biological mother, you should know that you were not born on March 15th. as you always thought, but on March 5th. This information will be useful for you”.

As I write these words, I think this may seem simple. But I want you to know that psychological problems exist. The drop in esteem, the self devaluation, the feeling of abandonment, the feeling of loneliness. I even experienced panic attacks throughout my 45 years of life. And my adoptive family is not to blame for all this. They gave me containment, and the affection I needed to be a happy person. And I am. But, for many years of my life, there was always something in the back of my mind that made noise.

With the Internet boom, the right tool appeared to start something that I had promised myself for so many years. And I also want to tell you that my family, my children, my husband, all of them always supported me, besides teaching me how to use this tool.

So it was that a simple email sent to all my contacts and then forwarded to their contacts, reached a newspaper in Comodoro Rivadavia. One of their columnists published it.

I never had any information about my biological family. I only knew the place and date of my birth. In fact, I thought they were from somewhere else in Argentina. I never imagined that they would still be in my hometown (my current residence is in Neuquén).

And that’s how, through a contact, who knew my biological mother’s story, I was finally able to talk to her.

With a million doubts and fears, my birth mother first talked to my husband because I was too emotional to be able talk to her. She gave my husband all her information: age, address, phone number, her husband’s name, my biological siblings, everything. Even today, I write it down and I find it hard to believe.

During those days, there was nothing else to talk about in my house. My (adoptive) brothers, who always gave me advice, were by my side. My older brother, the one who told me the truth, called me and encouraged me to meet my first mom. My husband and my children were concerned that this process would be painful even for me. My adoptive mother would tell me not to cry when I told her that I had found the person I had been looking for all my life. She caressed me like a mother does, my mother, and in that way gave me her approval.

So with my first mother’s phone number in my hands, I called her. She answered. My whole body trembled. I explained that I was born in 1965 and that I was looking for my first mother. I told her that the information I had was that she might know something about it. I heard a resounding ‘NO’ from the other end of the phone. “I don’t know anything,” she told me. I told her that if she couldn’t talk at that time that it was not a problem, and I asked her if she could just tell me when she could talk. I knew it was her. There’s like a sixth sense that doesn’t let you make a mistake in situations like this. Then, she asked me: “Where are you now?”, and that’s when I confirmed it. I replied that I live in Neuquén and she asked me to call her on Thursday.

My head was a jumble of doubts and fears. I didn’t know if I had done the right thing or if I should never have looked for her. I loved her and hated her, all at the same time. I don’t know what happened to her after that conversation, but I knew she was not well because the next day her husband called me to confirm dates and evacuate doubts. He was very cold and it seemed he didn’t want me to be the person she left 45 years ago. I think he must have his reasons, and he knows well what his involvement in this story was, since he married her some time after my birth and knew of my existence.

However, he was not the one I was worried about. The only thing he accomplished with that call was confirm my identity. I was María’s daughter. Finally, I found that person from whom what I wanted were explanations. I wanted to see my resemblance to that family, my mole on other people’s faces, my obesity genes, my wavy dark hair, my rhetoric in the way I speak. It seems unbelievable, but that too is something one can inherit.

María had to tell the truth to her other children, who accepted it and understood her.

Me, I had an identity crisis. When you don’t know where you come from, you are always comparing yourself. I remember, some years ago, a lady in Bariloche who mistook me for someone else. That night I did not sleep, thinking that this other person could be my sister or a cousin who was around. I felt like going out to look for her.

On my 45th birthday, I traveled to Comodoro and met my first mother.

She is beautiful and was nervous like me. I didn’t know how to approach the subject. The meeting was with her children present and I was with my husband and my girls. We had spoken on the phone several times before.

I wanted to meet face to face and it happened. It didn’t take much explaining. She gave me away because her mother forced her to. María was only 17 when she got pregnant and didn’t know what to do. Nobody knew anything. Her mother took her to the hospital and told her: “Forget about this baby. Forget that you had a child.” She is submissive. Now, she is 62 years old and she is calm but short-tempered. Crying with great sorrow, she explained to me how terrible that day was for her. I felt the same way. She had no choice but to do what her mother told her to do. She was alone. She told me: “I would never have given you away. I would have raised you like my other children. I didn’t know what to do”. At that moment, I didn’t need anything else. Suddenly I understood everything she had gone through, what she had suffered. That was all I had wanted to know all these years: the reason why. And I forgave her. I understood her.

Today, I respect her. She told me she prayed for me, that I would be okay. She didn’t know how to look for me. She didn’t know anything about me. I told her that if her children forgave her, it must be because she was a good mother, and that made up for everything that had happened.

Someone asked me if this was good, if it helped me, and I think it did. It is necessary for us to know our identity, to know where we come from, to know the people who speak our same language, who laugh the same, who speak with our same gestures.

I think we all deserve a chance. So does she. Now, she can sleep peacefully. That baby she had to give up, today, is a well cared for woman, a well raised woman.

As for my biological siblings, two of them do not accept me. I think that is their problem and not mine. I am happy with the faithful friendship of a sister, who is on her way to being my best friend. This is one of the gifts I deserved. The riddle of my life has been solved.

I have a family that loves me and accepts me as I am. They take care of me, they advise me. A family that, in addition, was by my side throughout this whole journey. My (adopted) siblings are the best people I know without a doubt. My mother is superior to anyone and my husband is my other half.

To those who ask me what do you feel, how did it go, what happened? I dedicate this story to them. And also, I tell them: It was incredible and necessary. The wounds are healing.

Today, with María we call each other from time to time and we talk about how we feel; she asks me about my children. That comforts me. She is a good woman. With some cousins we chat a lot and we are starting to love each other. We are a lot alike. We’re trusting and chatty.

Well, if you read my story: thank you. If I made a mistake… that’s my main characteristic, I make a lot of mistakes. I hope this is useful to someone. If you want to ask me anything, I’m at your disposal. This is one more life story, which I hope will encourage many people to look for their identity.

I am Claudia Borelli. Thank you my darling mother for calling me that.

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