Having Been Adopted...

... and how I feel about it now, over 50 years later. Regardless of how I might have felt at the time, what I might have wanted or even what might have been better for me in the long run, my future appears to have been neatly arranged for me by complete strangers well before I was even born. Or was it?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This is six-month-old me at my adoption party... or from my point of view, the day my OBC was sealed and my natural history obliterated. It took another adoptee to point this out to me. Funny that I never thought of it this way before.

From my parents point of view, they really did have a lot to celebrate that day. The nightmare of my dad being called before The House Un-American Activities Committee was still on-going but it didn't seem to affect the County's assessment of my parents' fitness to be my parents. My adoption was finalized without incident at the end of February 1953.

And - OK, yeah, I am grateful for that. Really grateful. Because what if I had been taken from them when I was six months old? Who knows where I'd have ended up? That really is a scary thought and it's one that I hadn't ever really thought of until about a year ago.

I had started to tackle the enormous project of going through my dad's papers. To my amazement, safely tucked away in an old red manila file folder that was literally falling apart, with "HUAC" written across the top in my father's distinctive hand, were notes of support from friends and colleagues. He'd kept them all those years. They all mentioned me... "Debbie is such a lucky little girl to have you for a father..." one said. "Debby will be so proud of you when she grows up..." said another.

The transcripts that I had expected to find were also there - transcripts of my dad's interrogation by HUAC. He had invoked his right to the Fifth Amendment as his reply to every single question put to him. Each question began with the now famous...

"Are you now or have you ever been... ?"

The truthful answer to that is - I have absolutely no idea.

Here we are when I was four:

What his friends said in their notes was true. I WAS lucky to have had him for a father. I always was and still am very proud of him and even prouder to have been his daughter. As I said in some previous post, I adored my dad. Perhaps that's why searching for my natural father - the mysterious and elusive Robert Gross - has never been terribly important to me.

Still… if anyone knows a Robert Gross (that's ROBERT GROSS) who was born in about 1930 (give or take a year), had dark hair and eyes, was Jewish but not at all religious, worked in a service station in 1951 and 1952 somewhere in the Los Angeles area, was artistic and liked to draw - and had joined the Army while he was still in high school... would you let me know?