Mother and daughter meet for the first time, reunited by hope and Catholic Charities
This past September, in the Holidome of the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg, a 38-year barrier was swept aside as a mother and her child got to know each other for the first time.
“We sat there from 2 to 11 p.m. Neither one of us wanted to leave,” Lisa, the daughter, recalled. “We had so much to find out, so much to catch up on.”
On the one hand, it was like we were strangers. But then we also had this very deep connection that I think we both were aware of,” Pam, the mother, added.
Catholic Charities arranged adoption
“The story began in 1973 when Pam, a young nurse’s aide still living with her parents, became pregnant. The father was also young. The couple had planned to marry, but when the reality of the unexpected pregnancy arose, Pam realized she was not prepared to raise a child.
A priest put her in touch with Catholic Charities, and in 1974, when the baby girl was born, an adoption was arranged. Lisa, who is now married with children of her own, was raised in a loving home.
“I was told at three or four years old that I was adopted, which meant I was very special. I have a sister who was also adopted, and I have two older brothers. But my childhood was wonderful. I never felt I was any different. In fact, even after meeting Pam, my family is still my family. It will always be that way.”
Buble song hits ‘Home’
Lisa has been working to find her birth mother since 1996. She searched birth records, the Ohio Adoption Registry and various agencies. Eventually, after several stops and starts, a friend of hers suggested she get in touch with the people at Catholic Charities Adoption Services at the Diocese of Toledo, who help reunite Catholic Charities adoptees with their birth parents.
“For me, it was important to find out who I came from,” Lisa said. “I wanted to fi nd out who I look like.”
One day about a year ago, a letter from Catholic Charities with the news that her birth mother had been found arrived at Lisa’s home. Lisa was running errands and her husband called her with the news.
“I’ll never forget that phone call,” Lisa said. “While he was telling me, Michael Buble was singing ‘I Want to Go Home’ on the radio. It was like this was meant to be. I called Catholic Charities and said I want to go through with it.”
‘Just trying to figure out where we all fit in’
When you see Pam and Lisa together, you notice there are similarities between the two – their looks, their walk and even their handwriting. It’s a bit uncanny.
Pam said that when her oldest son was ten years old, he told her he always felt he had an older sibling. So when she told him about Lisa, he was not surprised.
“All of my family has been very supportive. They were all excited to meet her.”
So the two families spent this past Thanksgiving together and got to know each other. It’s been an adjustment, Lisa said.
“I think we’re all just trying to figure out where we all fit in.”
By now, of course, the answer is clear: Together.