Monday, April 9, 2018- I could not tell you if I went to sleep that night. In fact, I don’t remember anything else after texting my brother Jamar. My mind was wiped like in the movie “Men in Black” when they used their Neuralyzer to flash away memories of people. I can remember, however, that I somehow dropped the kids off to school (or was it Ron?), made it to work (did I walk, or drive?), and somehow I managed to pack something for lunch, bread, mayo, no meat. The past two days had been filled with so much stress and confusion; I felt like I never went on vacation.
As soon as I got settled in at work. I printed out the email David sent me and googled Children’s Home Society of New Jersey. I wanted to see if there were any mistakes on the site. If so, this would confirm that Catherine, Jeannie, and David were scammers. I had no idea what they wanted from me. I hadn’t figured that part out yet. I just knew they were scammers. On Children’s Home Society’s homepage, you could see who they are:
Hhhmmmm… Founded in 1894. I wasn’t expecting that. Throwing people off with a date in the 1800s is an excellent move., I said to myself. “Saving children’s lives..” Okay…this sounds legitimate. I started to sweat again. I began clicking all over the site and this agency appeared to be genuine. I reread the email David sent me and decided to call the Search and Reunion Specialist, Pat Faiola. As the phone rang, I prepared myself to hear David’s voice. A woman answered, “Children’s Home Society of New Jersey! How may I direct your call?” I was shocked and wondered how much money and effort did Catherine, Jeannie and David put into this scam?
“Pat Fiaola, please”
“What is this call about?
“Adoption verification. I think I was adopted”
My stomached ache after I said those words; I became dizzy again. I was transferred to a woman who had a bit of a Jersey accent. I could tell she was trying to hide it.
“Hi this is Pat.”
I explained my situation to Pat from the beginning and told her I was checking to see if I was adopted. Pat asked me for my D.O.B. and for a copy of my driver’s license.
“Pat, do you need my SSN?” I knew to ask this because scammers need this info, right?
“No, Ms. Jackson, we would never ask for your SSN.”
Yikes! This is real! I said to myself. I had another hot flash. I told her I’d email her a copy of my driver’s license. She also informed me that she needed some time to go into archives because of the year of my birth to retrieve my case file. I started to think that this was a scam again. I wasn’t born in the 1800’s I was born in the 1970s! Whatever.
Again, I couldn’t tell you what happened during the hours I waited for Pat to call me back. I was working in an unconscious state of mind. Up was down and right was left. After much waiting, Pat called me back. I stared at the numbers coming up on my phone, and after three rings, I picked it up.
“Hello?” I chirped.
“Hi Ms. Jackson, this is Pat. I finally have your case in front of me.”
I gulped. “You were adopted in May 1972 by James Jackson, Jr. and Jay Jackson. Your birth parents are Barbara Jeanette Brooks and Samuel Maren. They were 16 and 17 years old at the time of your adoption and were high school sweethearts. Your birth name was Jennifer Brooks.”
In an instant, I felt as though my soul left my body and slammed back into me at 100 mph. I felt sick. Next, I felt something inside of me unlocked my spirit, and I began to stand taller with my wings fully extended like an Angel who had finally arrived in heaven. Something inside of told me that it was okay to live completely. I didn’t even know I wasn’t living my full life until I received this information.
She told me she was quite familiar with my case because Sam Maren always called to update his contact information just in case I was looking for him. Your adoption was sealed.
“What? Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m positive. Your adoption was legally sealed. Ms. Jackson, you were never aware of your adoption? Ever since D.N.A. kits, our agency has been receiving more calls like this every week.”
“Pat, if my adoption was sealed, then why are you giving me this information?”
“Oh, on January 9, 2017, New Jersey lifted the sealed adoption laws.”
“What?” I began crying uncontrollably. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, Ms. Jackson. What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
“Pat, January 9, 2017, is the day my father had a fatal heart attack!” At that moment, it became clear that my dad probably left Earth because he knew it was time for him to release me to meet Sam. My dad loved me and was so proud of me, and I knew there was no way he’d be able to share his “Peanut” with another father. This information is what has been nagging at me for the past year. This what the ocean was trying to tell me in Kauai
“Wow…I’m so sorry for your loss.”
Still crying, I asked, “Pat, Maren, what type of last name is that?”
“It’s short for Marenstein. It’s a Jewish name.”
“Jewish? Wait, what? My birth father is Jewish?!?”
“Ms. Jackson, your birth father is white.”
“Wait, what?!? White?”
“Janeen, I’m looking at your photo. You had no idea you are bi-racial?”
“No.,” I cried. “I favor my father…sort of.”
“Pat, my birthday is in March. Why are you saying that I was adopted in May? Is my birthday fictitious?”
“No. You were in foster care for a few months before Mr. and Mrs. Jackson adopted you.
“I’d like to add that you were fortunate to be adopted. Most biracial children back then became a ward of the state. Black and White people didn’t want to adopt biracial babies.”
Pause a moment. Ain’t that some foolishness? Biracial babies weren’t wanted back then, and today you can’t find enough biracial babies to keep people happy.
I told Pat that I was pretty sure I knew why I was adopted. My parents had moved to Jersey a year before I was born. Then I assumed that my mother was probably told she couldn’t have kids and so they adopted me. I was grateful that my dad and mom saw the beauty in my soul and not my skin color and took me home.
No matter what my journey was going to be like, my parents and brothers will forever be my family. I’ll be a Jackson for life. I thanked Pat and assured her that I’d call her back for advice. I hung up and started breathing. Another hot flash dizzy spell was coming on. Forget work. I had to tell Ron what was going on immediately.
- Are you living your full life? How do you know if you are or aren’t?
- Transracial or transcultural adoption means placing a child who is of one race or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race or ethnic group. In the United States, these terms usually refer to the placement of children of color or children from another country with Caucasian adoptive parents. What are your feelings about transracial adoption?