Note from Elaine: Guest blogger Pat Goehe passed away last month. She was loved and appreciated by a host of friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico and around the country. To honor her memory, we are republishing one of her contributions to The Goodbye Baby website. For Pat, meeting her daughter for the first time after 32 years was a life-changing experience.
In Pat’s words…
As I think about the reunion with my daughter after she found me, the thing that benefited me the most, was knowing that in fact she had been adopted by a wonderful couple. Those who have read my original blog posts may remember I indicated something had happened in one of my classes which made me wonder if my daughter had a negative experience similar to one of the students in that class. So it was such a relief to meet her adopted parents and see that they were so wonderful.
I was pleasantly surprised at the time of the original reunion that she was involved in the arts, and that she had moved to California the very same year that I went there on a years’ sabbatical leave from my college. Her field was music and also management and an agent for film composers. I was dabbling in the film industry as well. Another surprise was to discover we both were in love with the song from a Disney movie …. “somewhere out there….” In fact, while celebrating one of my birthdays shortly after the reunion at a favorite place, one of the singing waiters came and said there was another request for me. He went on to say my daughter had called and requested it. She knew I would be there that evening.
The old “nature or nurture” question was back in my mind. At our very first meeting she ordered the same salad dressing I always do. At one point where I excused myself to go to the restroom, she commented “So that’s where I get my pea sized bladder from!”. And as originally talked about, when she called me for the first time, I couldn’t get over how much she seemed like me. So much more than the daughter I had raised. She’s also a “worry wart” like me, usually overbooked in the “to do” lists, and there’s no question that we are both sensitive, emotional people.
What advice can I give to adoptees or the birth parents seeking a reunion? Be prepared for anything. If you have a scenario developed where it’s a glorious reunion, it may not be. If you have other children and you hope all will become one big happy family, that too may not be. It hasn’t been in my case. If you are haunted by needing to know, then by all means search. I hope you have a happy outcome. To me, the not knowing was the most difficult of all. I was prepared for whatever I would find, good or bad. She found me, and it has been good. Perfect? Is anything ever that?
Editor’s Note: Pat Goehe was a lifetime teacher who worked in all facets of communication and related arts. She taught students at the secondary and university level. Perhaps the most meaningful communication of her life, however, occurred when her daughter Linda, after decades of separation, contacted her. Pat was a frequent contributor to The Goodbye Baby website and the author of Annemarie and Boomer wait for Grandma and Annemarie Learns to Whistle. In keeping with National Adoption Month, we pay tribute this wonderful birthmother and to all birthmothers. Pat, you are missed!