AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

Adoption: Greg’s story

with 5 comments

Just over three years ago at the age of 37 or 38 I wasn’t adopted …. well I was but I just didn’t know.

This is not a strange story I am sure in the ‘adoption world’  this is common place with people finding out that their parents are not their birth parents.  However mine is incredulous at times as unbelievable events unfold. My story is a complicated one but even though I am probably still becoming confused over issues I do have an amazing life.

I met Jane at the tender age of 22 at my job in a hotel in Cardiff – almost immediately I knew Jane was adopted and she was really close to her mum who lived in Wales and to be honest I didn’t think anymore of the adoption situation other than that Jane was happy with the life she had been given.

Fifteen years later my sister Carole rang from Essex and she was again annoyed with our Mother… ‘Greg can you sort me out a birth certificate online as she is being so awkward…’ 

I searched online on a genealogy site with no luck – tried myself – no luck … being slightly methodical I looked up my Dad – born 26th March 1923 – Albert Benjamin Shearman  found within a minute – I repeated this with a friend’s birth date same again found – went back on myself but could not find Carole or myself. I rang my Aunt June – The matriarchal centre of this traditional east end family – my mum’s sister and when I questioned her she said ‘ er er er …. ask your mother’

I drove to London from Wales to Essex to pick my sister up not having a clue what was up … I reminded my sister that whatever came out they were still our parents. I genuinely had no clue or inkling that we were adopted. We sat in the room – they came out with it – ‘your adopted – two different sets of parents – I was born Paul Glover. That was the hardest thing to take. I wasn’t Greg I was Paul – I can never understand when people change their name by deed poll .

I hugged my parents – they had hidden this secret – they didn’t tell us because we were so happy and she didn’t want to spoil anything. They had tried to tell my sister but they just couldn’t.

I returned to Wales and rang the local social services who obtained my birth certificate and the name of my birth mother – April Joy Glover – there are lots of John Smiths in the UK but only one April Joy Glover – I found her address telephone number in about five minutes. I did the sensible thing and hand the details to the social services , all I had to do was wait. Greg does not do waiting !

I returned from a night with friends about 12.30 and Jane shouted down the stairs that someone had just rung but she didn’t get there in time. I tapped the number into my mobile phone expecting it to be a friends number and their name would appear – I let it ring once and hung up. The phone rang back , it was the social worker who quite bluntly said –‘ Greg news – you just have to ring her first thing in the morning. She has been waiting since you were eighteen to get in touch.’ 

I don’t do crying normally – I am 6 foot plus 15 stone I have four shredded wheat ! I cried like a baby. She did want me after all.

April had waited in by the phone all day for me to ring on my eighteenth birthday. It wasn’t until that Sunday morning 20 years later that I rang her.  I cannot imagine what a mother must have been thinking all her those years – unable to trace me – unable to find out with contact letters how I was doing.

After several regular phone calls we arranged to meet in a Harvester somewhere along the M4 corridor. April was brought by her brother and his wife and their daughter. It wasn’t emotional it was like seeing a relation you hadn’t seen for a while. That is how it was – I know that doesn’t make for a good screen play – but that’s how it was.

April had always been un well – diabetic and many many illnesses that had forced her to stop work early. I only ever saw her once alone when I took her for a meal near her house – I asked April why she couldn’t keep me –‘I wanted you to have a better life’ I asked April why she didn’t just have an abortion – ‘because I wouldn’t have Bethany (our birth daughter) as a grandchild’ . I took April back to her house after the meal and even though she didn’t want me to come in as it was messy I insisted I saw her in. There were no photos or pictures up anywhere except one – a large picture of a baby on the mantelpiece. I didn’t recognise it as me until April told me that’s the only picture she had of me. As there had been no regular contact or update letters and photos of me all she had had for 37 years was this one picture of me staring at her every day.

Once I had ticked the ‘found mum’ box I went on to my birth father search. I had always looked up to my dad and his work ethic had rubbed off onto me in terms of the way to run a business, so I was looking forward to discussing the ins and outs of my corporate catering business over a pint in my local.

The problem was he had a really common name – no middle name and to keep this discrete let’s call him Joe Bloggs ! I sent a letter to every Joe Bloggs ( with no middle name) in the country – 235 letters went out with a request to get in touch regardless.

The letter went something like this…

Dear Joe

The chances are this letter has nothing to do with you however could you let me know so I can cross you off my list. If you are the Joe Bloggs I am looking for but do not want contact please write and let me know so I can end my search.

I have recently found out I was adopted at birth and I am writing to 235 Joe Bloggs. The Joe Bloggs does know about me as he signed my adoption papers just over 37 years ago.

Please ring me on…    or write to me  at …..

I received about 50 – 60 replies by either phone or email including one very irate man from Grimsby annoyed that I had accused me of being unfaithful and producing me. After about a year or so I gave up – well sort of in my mind I still wanted to sit down and chat to my birth father and discuss the ins and outs of a dressed salmon but I suppose it  wasn’t to be. A few months later I placed an advert on Gumtree London offering a reward to find Joe. I put his name a few details and his date of birth.

Two days later the phone rang.

‘Hello I have seen your ad on Gumtree…’

‘Oh yes … (I sighed as I had already had quite a few calls trying to get the reward money )’

‘we have an exact match…. there is only one Joe Bloggs in the UK with that date of birth , however if Mr Bloggs died pre to 1975 or has emigrated we cannot help you’

I woke up and listened this sounded like someone who finally knew what they were talking about.

‘the only problem is you have advertised this in London…’

‘Yes ‘ I replied …’ I was conceived born adopted & brought up in London’

‘Oh well this person lives nowhere near London but lives in a small town in Wales….’

‘Where ? ….’ – they didn’t know I lived in Wales …

‘You wouldn’t have heard of it – its tiny….’

‘Where ? I now live in Wales !…’

The place will remain nameless but when she told me that my birth Father lives 3.1m (according to my sat Nav) door to door in the next village to me – shock is not the word. So I do what all inquisitive sons do I drove round there like a stalker to see if I could see him cutting the grass – I went to the local pub to see if he was propping up the bar (like father like son!) and then I rang him:

‘Hello Mr Bloggs – my name is Greg Blah Blah… I am carrying out some family research ..is your date of birth this …

‘yes’

‘did you used to live in London’

‘yes’

He then stuttered realising what In was on about … he tried to change the dates he was in London … I knew I had him… I didn’t say much more he didn’t admit anything I suggested he rang me.

Two weeks later he hadn’t rung – so I tried again.

‘Hello Mr Bloggs we spoke a couple of weeks back I am in ‘name of nearby town’ and just want a chat’

‘I can’t talk now I will ring you Monday’

(It turns out that he had thought I had travelled up from the smoke to knock on his door and was just round the corner …)

He did and we agreed to meet in my offices in Cardiff. I paced up and down all morning waiting for him to arrive. When he did arrive I shook his hand we went into my boardroom and some of his first words will always haunt me.

‘I’m not even sure you’re mine’

I had absolute no doubt he was my birth father – he looked like me. Not just a little bit he was an older twin. I showed a friend a picture of a sports team/group some 50 strong that was 10-20 years old and said my birth father is in this picture. Who is he? My friend laughed and pointed straight to him.

He was impressed with what I had achieved – he found it incredulous that I had moved to same town. I discovered that we would have had a pint in the same sports club in the town. I discovered he knew many of the people I knew, but he had a family he had his life I had two half brothers in this town.

I told him that I would never contact him again – I would certainly not ring him or knock on his door but I suspected that we would bump into each other and that he needs to have a story ready because all women are very astute and if you stutter when she asks who I am ……the person you just clocked across a room or seen in the high street.

The only slightly touching moment during the meeting came when I told him the story about when I asked why April had not had an abortion. I thanked him for his part in Bethany’s life. If it hadn’t been for him she would not be here. He left and even though I see him regularly – there is a definite blanking from him. He knows that I would be keen to meet up every now and then, but I have to accept he is not my Dad and he is certainly not someone to discuss Pea soup with mint or without.

So back to my domestic life ….

We had tried for another child for several years to give a brother or sister to Bethany our birth daughter so when all this ‘adoption’ malarkey came out – the answer was obvious!

Our 2 year old son has now been with us for a year and he has made our family complete.

He will keep his name he was given by his birth parents and he will always know that his birth mum & dad loved him but couldn’t look after him and we have promised to send regular updates and photos because I know what my birth mother went through.

written by Greg Shearman, you can follow Greg on twitter @gregshearman

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Written by adoptresources

October 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm

5 Responses

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  1. I wanted to post my thanks to Greg for sharing his amazing story of adoption… I have to confess to a few tears…

    adoptresources

    October 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by greg shearman and greg shearman, Fiona Strachan. Fiona Strachan said: On the blog tonight… an amazing story of adoption from @gregshearman http://ht.ly/2Xi90 #adoption […]

  3. […] featured on your own blog, it can be anonymous or not. The first guest blog is an amazing story of adoption from Greg. Let me know if you’ve got a story you’d like to […]

    • Hi Greg what an amazing story I’m adopted myself Jags catered for my mum’s 80th last October and it went brill. I can empathise with you i started my search to find my birth mother over 20 years ago and found my birth mum 9 years later but she couldn’t cope with me turning up in her life she couldn’t even acknowledge she had received mine or any letters from my social worker. She sadly died 7 years ago but I found 2 half sisters and we have been in touch and have seen each other with our families for over 18 months now! I’m 48 and have found the search frustrating and emotional at times but it was worth not giving up for the joy that came at the end. and like you i have been blessed with great parents who gave me a much better life. Take care Ruth Nelmes

      ruth Nelmes

      January 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      • Hi Ruth
        Thanks for your lovely comments and for sharing your story. It’s great to hear about adoption from other perspectives. Feel free to pop back on the blog anytime : )
        Best wishes
        Fi

        adoptresources

        January 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm


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