I’ve often heard the phrase that sometimes your whole life can change for the better in just an instant. A split second. The amount of time it takes to snap your fingers. But I never really believed it until it actually happened to me. Everything changed for me in the single moment when I finally met my birth mother face to face.
That precious moment would not have happened without the guidance and expertise of John Suggs. After nearly twenty years of on and off searching on my own, I contacted Catholic Charities and initiated an official search by the agency through which I was adopted. I waited a year and a half, only to be told that they had no luck and that they wished me well.
But by this time, I was not about to give up and came across John’s Family Orchard website. I was impressed by the testimonials, but even those couldn’t fully prepare me for who I was about to meet. Mr. Suggs is nothing short of a miracle to me. From the moment I met him, it was clear that he took this process seriously and firmly believed in the premise that ALL adoptees have a right to know who they are. John then proceeded to actually find my birth mother’s name in a matter of hours. That is right. He had her name that fast! He then spent the next few days searching and searching for her. Although that part took longer – she had moved around quite a bit – he was always confident and reassuring. His empathetic demeanor made this highly emotionally charged time much easier to bear. For the first time in this process, I was not alone – I had an ally!
Once we finally found where she was living we were still stuck because we could not locate a working phone number for her. This meant that I could not reach out and call her which was my preferred way of initiating contact. So what do I do now, without a phone number? I was absolutely terrified of the idea of just showing up on her doorstep. That was something that I simply could not bring myself to do. She already gave me away once, I thought. What would I do if she rejected me again? That I could not handle. So, after calmly listening to me express all my fears and worries, John gently said that, while he makes a point of not doing this because he doesn’t believe that he – or anyone else – has the right to interject themselves into this critical moment, if I wished he would go to see her personally first. Yes, please! Go talk to her and find out if she wants to meet me! If it was to be bad news I would much rather hear it from John.
So, with my permission, he went to her home. And that afternoon, he called me with the best news ever…my mother wanted to meet me! She had never stopped thinking about me. She was thrilled that I had finally found her and was contacting her! Twenty-four hours later, there I was, standing before her, feeling complete for the first time in my 48 years!! We had a wonderful visit – and have continued to talk (and talk, and talk!) and have had continued visits. I look forward to meeting my half-siblings next!
While it is easy to explain that John is efficient and determined in the technical aspects of his work, it is harder to explain his compassion and deep empathy for the situations of adoptees and birth mothers alike. Needless to say, this is a situation fraught with a whirlwind of emotions. At times, I thought the stress might kill me, but John was there to hold me up and encourage me every step of the way. He always kept in close contact and never left me to deal with any aspect of this journey unsupported. I owe him a debt of gratitude that I could never repay – he filled in my blanks, he reunited me with a loving and wonderful birth mom – I now live with a contentment that I’ve never known…how do you possibly thank someone for that? So please…if you are in the beginning stages of this journey, or if you’ve tried for years and exhausted all your options….call John Suggs – you won’t regret it!
With Deepest gratitude,