María’s story intertwines with the shadows of her biological roots
and the illuminating love of her adoptive family.
My name is María.
I’m from the capital of Neuquén, a province in Argentina, and I’m an adoptee.
I was adopted when I was 7 days old, and I always knew it, since I was very young.
I think this is why I always understood what it meant. In fact, I always had my first birth certificate with me, where I could read the information about the lady who carry me inside her womb.
In elementary school, my classmates used to bother me and make fun of me for being adopted, but I never cared. I told them: “I was wanted and looked for, but you don’t know if they wanted you or if you were a mistake”. I always defended myself with the same phrase.
When I turned 15, my mother, Teresa, asked me if I wanted to look for the woman who had carried me inside her womb, so I could share my fifteenth birthday with her. This question caused ambivalent feelings, part of me saying yes and the other part saying no.
My mother had a very nice attitude, and looked for my biological’s mother information. The only thing she found was a phone number. She gave it to me and I thanked her. I kept it for a while, until one day I had the courage to call. That’s when I had my first frustration because when someone answered the phone, she told me that the person I was looking for no longer lived there.
I stopped looking and forgot about everything.
Four years later, when I was 19 and dating Marcos (my son’s father), he asked me one night: “Honey, did you ever look in the phone directory?”. I was surprised because it hadn’t occurred to me, and just by chance there was a phone book right there, under my bed. I grabbed it and started looking. I found a telephone number, wrote it down, and put it away.
A few days later, after giving it a lot of thought, being at Marcos parents’ hardware store, sitting at their desk and with him and his mother by my side, and without thinking about it, I called.
A lady answered the phone so I asked her if she knew Dalila (that’s my first mother’s name), “I’ll put her on the phone” she replied. Dalila appeared on the line and said: “Hello” and I immediately replied: “Hello my name is María Carrera and I’m looking for my mother Dalila, are you her?”. She hesitated and answered: “I am not your mother, but I can tell you about her, since I am your grandmother”.
We talked for an hour and a half.
I cried as she described my first mother to me as a young person with many health problems. She also told me that she had been raped, and I was conceived as a result of that rape, and I also found out that I have three biological siblings who are younger than me. My two siblings who were born after me, live with their father here in Neuquén, and the youngest lives with my first mother, in a city called Plottier.
At the end of our conversation, Dalila told me to keep in touch. She also said that she was going to tell me more about my first mother’s life. I told her that I was going to keep in touch and I also said, that at some point, I would like to meet her in person. She told me that whenever I wanted to, she would see me.
During that year, I called her a few more times and then I stopped. I felt uncomfortable and I had already found out what I wanted to know.
Three years later, I talked to a friend who lives in Plottier, and we talked about my first mother and the fact that she also lives there. My friend offered to find out about her. I accepted the offer but made it clear to her that I had no rush.
A few weeks later, I was working at home and I received a message on my computer that said, “I got you your first mother’s number. Do you want it?”. It took me a while to process what I was reading.
Finally, I told her to send it to me. After watching my cell phone screen for 45 minutes, I took a deep breath and made the call.
My first mother answered the phone and at first refused to acknowledge she was my mother.
After a while, she finally acknowledged it, and told me the part of my story that I didn’t know yet.
Apparently, my biological grandmother never loved my younger biological brother. In addition, my “grandmother” didn’t have a good relationship with my first mother, and forced her to give me up for adoption. My first mother was a minor when I was born; she was only16 years old. I learned that she was raped and that she tried to get an abortion and commit suicide when she was pregnant with me.
I realized that it was true that she had health problems and that she was being treated, but they were not as serious as they had told me.
After talking for an hour, and “getting to know each other,” we ended the conversation and promised each other to write and keep in touch.
Sometime later, Dalila sent me photos of my biological brothers and we decided to meet in person.
My younger brother suffers from asthma, so my first mother had to bring him to the city of Neuquén for a checkup, to a clinic that is three blocks from my house. That day I went to see them at the clinic. I will never forget. I went into the clinic and as soon as I saw her I knew it was her.
We sat together for a while, waiting for my brother Nahuel’s (7 years old at the time) appointment. She told her youngest son that I was just a friend. We talked about anything but adoption and the fact that she was my first mother.
A few days later, Charly, my partner at the time, convinced me to have another encounter with her. I called Dalila again and this time she invited me to her house. I went with Charly and my son. The entire time we were there, my son played with my biological brother Nahuel.
This is the most special and beautiful memory I have of that day: to see my son playing with my younger brother as if they had known each other all their lives. They played without bias and were full of innocence and kindness.
We shared some tea and we could talk a little bit. I saw that she was checking on me, as I was checking on her. She showed me pictures and I got to know her a little better. That was the last time I saw her.
Charly, my partner, told me, “Dalila and you are very much alike. You have similar traits and similar postures”. His comment made me smile.
After that meeting we only exchanged messages.
Sometime later, I happened to run into one of my biological brothers, even though he didn’t know who I was.
Dalila and I exchanged messages for a little while. I told her about my son, about my adoptive mother, about my life.
After a while, I found out that she was pregnant again. A new member was arriving: the 4th. boy, whom I met just by chance, and when I did, I felt him very much mine, my blood. Besides, I was worried about him because he was born with heart problems and we didn’t know if he would live. I was very upset. I wrote more often and kept in touch.
However, sometime later, I became angry because I could tell Dalila was hiding me. My brothers Oscar and Emilio, who were born after me, knew that I had appeared but Dalila denied my existence. I knew this because Emilio contacted me on Facebook and we communicated through Messenger. Oscar also contacted me, and treated me very badly. Apparently, my brothers got angry with Dalila and she blamed me for my brothers not talking to her anymore.
One day, Dalila treated me with extreme contempt and asked me not to talk to my brothers anymore.
I got very angry and told her I would do what I thought was right. But it was too late, my brothers had already blocked me on Facebook, our only way of communication.
After that episode, on Mother’s Day of that same year, I made a decision (which may sound strong and violent): I pretended that my biological mother never existed. This was the only way I could close that part of my story and move on.
It hurt a lot. I cried a lot.
I realized that my expectations had not been met. But time passed and I was able to accept.
Today, I can say I’m adopted.
I am enormously grateful to my mother, my only one, María Teresa.
The one who waited for me from day one, the one who did everything for me, the one who took my hand and never let go.
Thank God, I still have her by my side.
Today I can say: “I am ADOPTED and I AM HAPPY”.
Maria C. is a graphic designer and mother of a 9 years old boy.
She identifies herself with the following sentence:
“The adoption of a really positive attitude can do wonders to add years to your life, a bounce to your step, a spark to your eyes and everything like that”.