By Karen Allen Campbell - Posted at thatmom.com:
I shared part of this story here a year ago. Today I am sharing “the rest of the story.”
I have written about my own adoption several times on this blog and even shared my thoughts about my birthmother on a Mother’ Day podcast. Though I had not ever made any serious attempts to do an adoption search for her, she was in my heart and mind through the years I was growing up, especially during my first pregnancy. I wondered what my daughter would look like and spent many hours pondering how painful it must have been to carry a baby and give her up for adoption. Several times I spoke with those who kept records at Crittenton Home where I was born but since they were only able to give me what they called “non-identifying information,” there was really little for me to go on to begin any sort of real search.
Three years ago, in November, adoption law in Illinois changed to allow adoptees born during a certain time period to obtain their original birth certificates from the state. The day they were available, I mailed in my money and request.
A couple days after Christmas it arrived and I opened it with most of my family here and looking on. To my disappointment, the name of my birthmother was left blank and the only new information was that she was 14 the day I was born, she had been born in Illinois, and my given name was Karen Sue Gilmore. “I am a Gilmore girl!” I announced and we all laughed.
Immediately everyone took to their computers and phones, googling “Gilmore” and “Peoria” but none of us really knew what to do with this information. I called the Department of Records in Springfield to ask about the missing name and was told that this was a common practice at homes for unwed mothers in those years. So I tucked away the paperwork in a large manila envelope, along with the other information I had, and placed it back on the shelf in my library.