“Hello,” Leona said in her sweet southern voice.
“Hello. Is this Leona?” the voice on the other end of the line asked nervously.
“Yes, it is. And who is this?”
“My name is Judith Gilford, and I live in San Francisco. I believe I am your son, Gary’s birth mother.”
For a few seconds, Leona couldn’t speak.
When she was able to catch her breath, she managed to say, “What makes you think that?”
“I have information from his placement file,” Judith explained. “Look, I don’t want to interfere in your lives,” she rushed on. “I just want to make the information available to Gary, to give him an identity just in case he wants to know.”
Leona listened as the woman explained some of the circumstances of her life and how she had come to give her baby up for adoption.
“I never wanted to give him up, and I’ve always wanted to find him,” Judith said just as Loyd poked his head into the room. Leona waved him away and walked into her bedroom, closing the door behind her. She listened carefully while Judith told her everything she had gone through to find her son over the past few years. Leona, always attuned to the feelings of others, couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the woman.
“Please just let me send you a package with a letter and some pictures for him,” Judith begged.
“I’ll discuss it with my husband,” Leona said. “And I’ll talk to Gary.”
Judith cut her off. “Please don’t make me any promises. I will just send the information and trust that whatever should happen will happen.”
A few days later, when Leona received the FedEx box from Judith, she turned it over and over, afraid to open it, fearing the potential it had to change all of our lives.
All the birthday parties, the skinned knees, the boo-boos she had kissed. All of the memories she had shared with me flashed through her mind. Was this some kind of cruel joke? How dare this woman intrude into her life—her son’s life—like this?