Much like everyone else on the planet, I've done some things of which I'm not very proud. I've also suffered some things that no one should have to suffer. There's a certain phone call a man can receive, one that brings those two types of dark memories to the forefront of his mind.
Tonight as the phone rang, I looked at the caller ID. I didn't recognize the area code or number, and usually in such circumstances I'd just let the answering machine take care of it, but tonight I answered it. The voice on the other end asked for me by name.
He was 18 years old, and looking for his father.
He gave me his mother's name and asked if I knew her; I didn't. He asked if I had a daughter; I don't. I asked how he got my name and number; he got the name from his mother, and the number from Google. He had many others with my name to call, he said.
I have a friend who was adopted. His parents never made a deep dark secret of it, but they told him nothing about his birth parents. I know he harbored a natural curiousity, and sometimes that need to know was overwhelming. He knew they were in college when the pregnancy occurred, and he once told me he spent hours in the Sac State library poring over yearbooks, hoping to find a picture of someone who looked even somewhat like him. It wasn't until many years later, and not more than a few years ago, that he asked his mother and she told him about his birth parents--who weren't even from California, so his library time was for naught. He loves his parents, but I understand his need to know. All that he's shared with me helps me understand what the boy who called tonight must be feeling.
I myself have given up no child for adoption. But it's possible, although not very probable, that I have a child I don't know about. I'm haunted by that possibility, one brought about by the indiscretions of youth. I've been told that I had a child who was aborted, and that knowledge, too, haunts me.
The boy who called--I hope he finds who and what he's looking for.