I was raised in a very religious home, by my mother. She was a single parent long before single parenthood was common. I grew up wishing I had a father, wondering what he looked like, and whether he ever thought about me.
When I was very young, my mother worked as a housekeeper, but by the age of 43, she was unable to work, due to physical problems, and that's how we ended up living on welfare.
I would not wish such a life on anyone! Not only is the small amount of money never quite enough to last to the end of each month, but many of the social workers were downright nasty. One took it upon herself to snoop in our cupboards. Others were rude and 'high and mighty' as Mum called them.
In the summer of 1970, when I was 17, my best friend and I left our little town to travel to the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. The idea was that we would get work picking fruit in the orchards.
On August 9 a new boy, Nick S. arrived, fresh from hitch hiking up from the U.S. He told me later that the minute he saw me sitting under a maple tree in the park, he said to his pal, "That's the girl I'm going to marry!" He was 19, which seemed very grown up to me.
We travelled north to Vernon, B.C. and stayed at a youth hostel there. We met K. H., and his girlfriend, G.M. Shortly after, as we walked along the street, K.H. and G.M. pulled up in a bright lemon yellow convertible. K. H. told us that the car belonged to his uncle, who had told him he could borrow it. Never thinking at all, we hopped in when invited. K.H. and G.M. wanted to travel east, and they asked if we wanted to go along. We said, "Sure!"
After travelling through the Rockies, east into Alberta, and then to Saskatchewan, K.H. and G.M. and a few other people who we'd picked up hitch hiking, were all arrested by the R.C.M.P. -- the car was stolen!
I was put on a year's probation, and Nick got a few months in jail. After he served his time, he was deported across the border, to the U.S.
Nick came back across the border, to be with me. The police picked him up, and he was taken to Edmonton, Alberta. Immigration demanded that he have a sponsor, who would vouch for him. My mum put up the $10,000 bond (she didn't have to actually come up with the money, it was all on paper, which was good, because she was still on welfare!) and signed the papers so that Nick could stay in Canada.
He was told by Immigration to get a job, and prove he could be a good citizen or they would send him back to the States.
Nick and I married, on December 9, 1970, exactly 4 months after we'd met. It was a justice of the peace wedding, with two strangers as witnesses. But we didn't care -- we were defying Immigration, because we were sure that they would have stopped us if they'd had a chance. We hitch hiked a lot, to Toronto, and Hamilton, Ontario, and to Vancouver, and the Okanagan, in B.C. over the next year to year and a half. I worried that if he didn't get work and settle down somewhere, he would get deported.
Meanwhile, Nick's mental problems soon became apparent. He would get very depressed, often suicidal. He would lose his temper, and threaten me. Yet, I stayed with him, determined to "help" him. Looking back, of course, this was ridiculous, but at the time I truly thought I could 'save' him from himself.
Nick would grow restless, whenever we stayed in one place for long, and then he would simply take off, disappearing for days or even weeks at a time. Although Immigration had told him he was not to leave Canada during this period, he did so, then would have to come back across the border, risking the wrath of the government, or worse -- to be kept in the U.S. and away from me permanently.
When I discovered that I was pregnant, in the summer of 1971, I was so very happy, even though we had no means of support, and not even a roof over our heads at times. Nick was delighted at the idea of being a father, but he had no sense of needing to find work and settle down.
He took off and was gone for nearly 5 months. I spent my pregnancy first babysitting for a friend, and then living back at home with my mum. Welfare, of course, was there to pay for food and so on, but I remember buying one maternity top with my $10.00 clothing allowance one month, and realizing just how terribly poor I really was.
I went into labour about 8 p.m. on February 3rd, and Daniel Shelley S. was born on February 4th at 12:16 p.m., weighing 8 pounds 5 ounces, and 23 inches long. During the last couple of months of pregnancy, I'd spent a lot of time reading the old classics, and poetry. "Shelley" was in honour of Percy Bysshe, John Keats, and others from that era.
There are many adoption/
relinquishment stories, and every one is different.
I know of an adoptee who is very bitter towards his birth parents, and has no wish to ever meet them. He claims that he hates them.
It can be easy to judge, when you are looking back at events in the past. We can never know what really happened, only guess, or at best, ask when the reunion takes place.