The Girl and the Mailbox: A Standoff

Sometimes, it’s the most simple physical actions that are the most difficult to do. I found this to be particularly true this morning, just moments ago.

While I run regularly, practice yoga often, have biked up some pretty steep hills, and can still throw my little Bean up in the air (and catch her)…this morning, I found the simple act of opening a mailbox almost impossible. Not any mailbox either, but the post office’s mailbox…in which you cannot retrieve what you put in. Once it’s in…it’s in.

This blue metal container was like a vault made of steel, with the possibility of Indiana Jones-like booby traps attached to it at every approach. Staring at it, I couldn’t even imagine pulling the receptacle open…just as days before I couldn’t imagine picking up a pen. The reality of possible disappointment, and heart-wrenching pain, was just too real.

Taking a step back.

Yesterday afternoon, I found myself here…


…searching for just the right card, mainly to serve as small place to write a note, and a spot to contain a picture. Turns out…there’s not really a card for this type of thing. Even if there was, I don’t know that they’d sell very well.

I ended up with this…

… included a picture of the Bean and I, and wrote a short note. I hoped it was straight-forward enough to explain who I was, but cryptic enough to not cause any craziness in her life if someone else got a hold of it.

I was planning on mailing it this afternoon, because I’d forgotten a stamp…but…just as everything else in this crazy story, what I needed showed up earlier than expected. While looking for a pen in my car, I found an old book of stamps.

This morning, I stood outside, in the darkened walkway of my local drug store, staring at the mailbox. After a few moments, I realized…I was still staring at that mailbox. Still. Staring.

I’ve not known a lot, over the past 7 years of searching. I’ve not known who my birth mother is. I’ve not known where she lives. I’ve not known her address, or even if she was alive. I’ve also not known how she would react to knowing that I was searching for her, or that I wanted to know who she is…but, in all the other not knowing, the last two unknowns really didn’t matter.

Standing at that mailbox this morning, I realized that now, they did matter. I realized that it also now mattered that I don’t know if she ever told anyone about me. The possibility is there that she did not. Slipping that card in the mailbox could force her to have to tell her story. The very real possibility of seriously affecting her life, by the simple act of opening a mailbox, is huge. The same possibility of her completely rejecting me because of that affect on her life, is also huge.

Can’t I go back to not knowing…just for a little bit?

Can’t I go back to living in complete ignorance…choosing to believe that she’ll be nothing but happy to see my face, learn about my life, and allow me the same things.

Can’t I know that absolutely no part of this will be painful for me, her, or either of our families?

It’s the “what-if’s” in life that tend to lay me out.

Can’t I know what will happen?

The truth is, she’s probably already made her decision. I’m sure she’s thought about what she would do, if I ever contacted her. Realistically, she’s probably already accepted, or rejected, me…at least in theory.

With that in mind, there, in that dark walkway of Boyd’s drug mart, I made a choice.

Just as I had chosen to pick up the pen, that had days ago seemed so treacherous, this morning, I chose to open the mailbox, put the card in, and shut it.

I smiled, as I heard the faint, muted thud of the card hitting the bottom.

I chose to give myself the opportunity to know. I may not like what I learn, or I may love it. It may cause laughter, or tears…possibly both.

The mailbox wasn’t so scary after all.

Now, I know…it’s the waiting that is truly terrifying.

Come what may.

19 Comments to “The Girl and the Mailbox: A Standoff”

  1. They don’t make cards for this kind of thing. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays… I’m glad you were able to find something that you could make work for you! I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will work out the way you want it to.

    It takes a lot of courage to send that first piece of communication. You should be very proud of yourself for taking that step! Good luck!

  2. As said before – all the best! Whatever happens, you’ll at least know. I think knowing is way better than wondering, even if the news are not as we’d wish or expect. But I hope, yours are good news and can’t wait to hear. Good luck from me as well.

  3. Courageous indeed! And come what may, you should be proud of yourself for taking action. I was so uncertain in my search too, uncertain, terrified, and excited all at the same time. Life just has a way of working itself out. I am so glad you are sharing your journey.

  4. You are so brave and so amazing! I think you wrote the perfect letter, seriously. I am loving reading about your journey 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  5. I loved following your story. You are very brave to send her that card!*

  6. Somehow i “lost” you on here.. hence i did not get to “come back” as i promised, last Friday.. ugh. sorry about that. now i am “following” you, so that should not happen again!! LOL!
    I am also proud of you for taking that first step — if you trust and believe in your dreams of all this coming true and seeking what you want AND need… everything will indeed fall into place.!! I am living proof of that, too!!
    I know the “what ifs” can get in the way… and i try to dismiss them as often as possible; it becomes easier to do just that when you realize how those “what ifs” can indeed hold you back from achieving something wonderful and fulfilling!!
    I am going to try and find the post where I need to continue, as promised…. from last Friday.. if i cannot find it.. i will just post again on this one…
    Once again.. awesome to read your continued story!!!!
    Can’t wait to hear more!!!

    • Thanks Ellie! Your story turned up in my comments too..but I don’t think you wanted it to…so I moved it to a word file so I could read it. Thanks again!

  7. You are amazing. And I so enjoy your writing! Thinking all positive thoughts for you!

    Linda Rasmussen

  8. Hi Jamie. I am a UK birth mother who has been reunited with my son who is absolutely wonderful. The only problem with sons as opposed to daughters is that they don’t tend to write blogs because men don’t want to show their emotions as women do. Consequently, pretty well all the blogs etc are by female adoptees. I read their thoughts and feelings with great interest and wonder if my son also has those feelings. If he does he rarely shows them. We have been reunited for two and a half years now and I have a lovely daughter in law and a dear little grandson. I had been waiting for 40 years to hear from my son because it was a closed adoption and there was no opportunity for me to find him. For the last 20 years the British government has a system where if you are an adoptee or a birth parent wanting contact you can put your name down on the Births Registry at any time. As soon as they advised me of the new option I put my name down and waited for 20 years. Incoming requests are matched with those on the list and you get a letter asking if you still wish to have contact. When my son requested contact I was on holiday in the USA and when I got back home there was a brown government envelope waiting for me. I knew what it was immediately and sent back a positive answer straight away. I then got a personal letter from my son giving me his information and asking for an email address which I gave him and we have been writing ever since. He numbers his emails and is now up to email 103! I do hope your Mum comes back to you and you find that you are both good at writing. You must have inherited from somewhere. I wish you the best of luck with your reunion. Chris

  9. This makes me almost cry. I remember that phone call I made. Picking up the phone was the hardest thing to do…I almost wish I had written a letter, but I think it would have been easier to just never send it. A phone call is hard to escape from. I called her at home. I was in my early twenties.

    The first time she answered the phone herself. I was silent…and hung up. I couldn’t do it. Her voice was so familiar, even though I’d never heard it. But I made myself call again, and someone else answered. I asked to speak to “bio mom’s name” and this person went to get her. She came on the line again. And again I couldn’t say anything. I think she thought I was a prank call. When I opened my mouth all that came out was “ummm…”. That’s all I said. I started to say something like “I don’t know if you know who I am…”…but she cut me off. She asked if I was her daughter. I said yes.

    We talked for two hours or so. Trying to catch up. My views on adoption changed after that. I realized she’d wanted me and couldn’t keep me because no one offered to help. No parental support, no financial support. I’d always thought adoption was so simple…they don’t want you/can’t keep you and make the good choice to give you to a better family. Now I know differently. The book “The Girls who Went Away” by Ann Fessler is also a really good read for another view of adoption. I cried through it though.

    I hope it all works out for you. Making the first call, writing the first letter, it’s hard. Good luck!

  10. i just met my biological family not even a year ago, its been the hardest thing ive ever done the emotions and feelings about being given up and being her only child out of 4 that was, im not the oldest and i have a sister only 10 months apart that wasnt put up for adoption! its soo sooo hard i love being around them and get so upset when i have to leave or dont get to see them a weekend, but im so hurt, i see how much she loves them and how close they all are with each other!I feel as tho there life was better with out me tgat she dosent care as much anymore she gave me up but still got to have other children, wasnt missing out!

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