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  Carolyn's Story  

  Carolyn, like many adoptees, was told at a very early age of her adoption. The story, told again and again over the years, became much like a fairy tale. Carolyn often heard the story of the day her parents picked her up at St. Joseph’s Orphanage. Her new parents, Carroll and Kathrine, named their daughter, Carolyn Kathrine, after themselves.

After Carolyn married and became a mother, there were times when she considered looking for her birthmother. As her five children were born, resemblances were compared and questions of family background arose, she thought more about it.

In 1986, Carolyn and her daughter, Sarah, drove to Superior and found St. Joseph’s Orphanage. Prior to planned demolition, tours were being given of the old red-brick building that had housed hundreds of orphans. Windows were boarded up and painted black and the cinder-path around it was laces with patches of tall grass and weeds.

As mother and daughter sat on child-sized pews within the now silent Children’s Chapel, Carolyn felt tremendous gratitude for the woman who had given her the chance to be part of a very large and wonderfully warm, loving family. She silently repeated the Serenity Prayer, and as they left St. Joseph’s, Carolyn knew she would search for her birthfamily. All she had to go on was her birthname, Gloria Jean.

After several months of trying to search on her own, Carolyn met an adoption searcher at an Adoption Support Group meeting. After completing the research, she was able to give Carolyn details about her birthfamily, including the name of her birthmother, Lucille, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Two days later, with heart pounding, Carolyn made the phone call she’d thought about for so many years.

It seemed like the phone rang forever. Finally, a man answered and Carolyn asked for her birthmother by name, “Is Lucille there?” The next voice Carolyn heard was far from what she expected. Lucille was annoyed that her gardening chores were interrupted. Her tone was harsh and her words abrupt. Carolyn’s first words to her birthmother were, “This is Gloria Jean.”

After a long pause, Lucille whispered, “My God, I never thought I’d hear your voice!”

At first, Lucille said very little, but soon she and Carolyn were telling each other about themselves and their families. A month later, Carolyn and Sarah made the five-hour trip to her birthmother’s home.

The day was filled with tears and laughter as Carolyn and Sarah met Lucille, her husband, aunts, uncles, and cousins. All of them looked back and forth from Carolyn to Lucille – amazed at the physical resemblance. It was evident immediately that Carolyn was indeed a part of the family that welcomed her with open arms and hearts filled with love.

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