Category Archives: fraternal twins adopted

9 month old twins at adoption locate birth mom after 68 years; mom now 88 years old…

Taylorsville 68-year-old reunites with birth mother
by Marie Nesmith
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Separated for more than six decades, Marty Morris was delighted to celebrate her first birthday with her birth mother at age 68. In June, the Taylorsville resident obtained her original birth certificate from the state of Illinois, which became the catalyst for locating and reconnecting with Vivian Carlough.

“[I wanted to share my story] as a means of giving [others] hope,” Morris said. “I had looked for almost 20 years. Of course, every time I saw a reunion on TV [I thought], ‘Well maybe there was still a chance for me.’ It always kind of gave me a little bit of hope. And my story has already helped one other person that I know of. I have a neighbor two doors down that also was born in Illinois. I told her that she could now get her birth certificate. She did. The same girl that worked here [at Drew Eckl & Farnham law firm] that did my genealogy search for me did hers and she has now reconnected with children of her birth mother that had given her up.

“So yes, there’s always a chance that maybe you learn something that will help you if you’re searching, because there’s so many of us out there. The older I got, [I thought] if I only knew [my] family history [so] I could [share it with] my kids … and now I’ve learned that it looks pretty good. Mom’s still alive at 88 and really has no health issues. And we’ve learned that my dad just died last Christmas Eve at 91. So now I feel like that’s a burden that’s lifted off of me that I can say to my kids things are looking pretty good.”

Adopted at 9-months-old with her twin brother, Morris grew up knowing pieces of their biological background, such as their birth names were Betty Fay and Gary Ray Williams and their birth mother’s name was Vivian Williams. However, during her search this year, she uncovered new details about Carlough’s life and the circumstances surrounding the adoption. Morris’ original birth certificate revealed her birth mother’s full name, Vivian Keen Williams, which was an integral component to narrowing down her quest.

“Until my adoptive parents died in ’93 and ’94, I never felt like I could look,” Morris said. “I just somehow felt like maybe that would be a little bit disloyal to them. … After they died, I went looking because there were several of us here at work in our section who are adopted. I think at one time there were five of us, and one of the attorneys here had looked for and found her birth mother, which kind of spurred me on even more. Every time I tried to do anything in Illinois, everything was sealed. … [So] when I learned the law had been changed, that I could now get my original birth certificate from Illinois, I sent for it and June 1 it came, on a Saturday.

“That’s when I learned that [my birth mother] was 20 and she had two other children before us. So that changed the whole dynamic that I had grown up knowing, [which was] you were adopted [and] your birth mother was a 16-year-old unwed mother. That’s all we knew and we knew her name. … The [real] story was her mother died when she was 12 and she started raising her siblings and got married at 15, then had a baby, then had another one at 17. And her husband went off to war and, of course, was a prisoner for [14 months]. … [He] came home in December of ’44 and, of course, times had changed, emotions had changed, apparently. She got pregnant with us and didn’t know it and they divorced. After she was divorced, then she learned she was pregnant. She said to me, ‘I didn’t know what I was going to do,’ and she finally made the decision to go to Chicago to the Florence Crittenton Home and that’s where she stayed the last three months [of her pregnancy].”

After receiving assistance from a coworker, who located Carlough and other family members online, Morris was able to meet her birth mother about 13 days after obtaining her birth certificate.

“When I brought that birth certificate on Monday to work and my friend found her family that afternoon, that quickly, and then found her the next day alive and living in Florida, [I thought], ‘Oh, my gosh, do I call, do I not call?’” Morris said, adding she initially called and left a message with one of Carlough’s children and after no response decided to contact her birth mother directly. “ … I called her and I asked for her name, Vivian Carlough, and she said, ‘Speaking.’ I said, ‘I don’t mean to intrude and I don’t mean to hurt you, but did you give birth to twins on Sept. 1 of 1945 in Chicago?’ … ‘I have a birth certificate here that says my birth name was Betty Fay Williams and my mother’s name was Vivian Keen Williams.’

“There was kind of a long pause and she said, ‘Well, I guess, you’re my daughter.’ I still get choked. I still get choked when I think about it. She said to me, ‘Well, now what?’ And I said, ‘I’d like to see you,’ and her response was, ‘You’re welcome here anytime.’ … So the next Thursday we were there. My husband and I drove down to Florida. She lives independently in a trailer. She’s been there for years. She was waiting at the door. I just gave her a big hug and she hugged back, and we sat and talked.”

During their visit, Morris presented her birth mother a photo album, filled with images of her and her twin brother. While there, Morris also learned various details about Carlough’s life, such as her involvement with the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, and she never talked about the adoption to anyone, even her two later husbands, who are now both deceased.

After the first meeting, Carlough accepted Morris’ offer to fly her to Georgia Aug. 29 for her twins’ 68th birthday party. Held on Sept. 1, the celebration also featured Morris’ daughter, Holly Morris, and granddaughter, Ashleigh Morris.

“Once my grandparents passed away that was something that she always wanted to do was find her birth mother,” Holly Morris said. “And the fact that she had a friend that helped [find her] — I think it was like within a week of getting her birth certificate — [was wonderful]. This all happened so soon. So I was actually thrilled for her because she was so excited.

“[The birthday celebration] was wonderful. She is so sweet and she just welcomed us [and] we welcomed her,” she said, referring to Carlough. “… My daughter was there as well, so we had four generations together at one time. So that was exciting. It was just such a whirlwind that happened so quickly. Mom was so excited. So … we were happy for her that she was able to do this.”

Continuing to nurture a relationship with her birth mother, Morris also has reached out to three of her newfound siblings — two of whom have not responded and one, she will meet in November.

“All I wanted to get out of finding either [my] birth mother or siblings was medical history, family history,” Morris said. “I wasn’t expecting anything beyond that so I’m just thrilled that I had a chance to see her and we brought her up here for our first birthday party ever with her. So yes, I’m thrilled to death. I talk to her every week on the phone and she’s doing well.

“… I refer to her as mom. I call her mom. I tell her I love her when I hang up and she loves me back. I don’t think I can ask for anything more. I had that with my adoptive parents. They were very loving and this was just a gift for another mom to love and cherish.”

Touching story of an odd journey to find birth parents and a surprise conclusion for all…

I Got In Touch With My Birth Parents — And It Changed All Of Our Lives

I Had My Mother’s Name!
Written by Chad Cottle for Portrait of an Adoption
Grandma’s house in Ogden, Utah, was where I first learned what death is.
Dad walked through the front door into the small living room of Grandma’s house. It was late afternoon. I was playing with Grandma’s Lincoln Logs on the carpet. Somehow, I knew something was wrong. Dad went down on one knee there on the carpet, ruffled my hair and said, “Mommy died today, Chad.” There were no tears that I remember, but Dad seemed sad. I was 5 years old.
When I was older, I asked Dad what he did when he first heard the news that his wife was dead. “I went bowling,” he said. At first that seemed cruel to me, but then it felt — oddly — OK. I didn’t have a problem with it.
I was 5 years and a couple of months old the day Dad told me Mom died. I don’t have a memory of my twin brother Brad on that day. He was probably with me at Grandma’s house, but I only have that ten-second memory of what Dad told me while I played with those Lincoln Logs.
“OK, Dad,” I think I told him, and went back to playing with the blocks.
At age 5, I couldn’t fathom the finality of Dad’s news. Mom was gone. Truly, utterly, never-to-return gone. The world would go on. Someone, somewhere, was laughing. Someone, somewhere, was having the best day of his or her life. What did my mother’s death mean to them? Just another paragraph in the obituaries, a square black-and-white photograph lost on a whole page of other square, black-and-white photographs. Survived by her husband, Lynn, and four children, Luralyn, Chad, Brad and Tiffany.
But I had two other mothers in the world, neither of whom I had yet met. Living, breathing, cancer-free mothers. My biological mother knew I was alive, but didn’t know where I was.
Dad remarried my step-mom six months later and we instantly had two new brothers, one new sister, and then one more sister when they became pregnant. That made eight children.
I always knew I was adopted. Dad must have told us at a very young age. I had the notion that somehow it made me special. “I was adopted,” was something I’d say to brag.
Brad and I shared a room. We used to scratch each other’s backs on Christmas Eve, trying to stay up all night so we might get a chance to see Santa Claus but never really making it that long. I don’t remember very many conversations about our biological parents, though. We just didn’t talk about it. Certainly not in any deep sense. We were well taken care of, very much loved, and all our little minds really had time for was playing with G.I. Joe or the latest “Star Wars” figures.
As we grew up, shuffled back and forth to school, baseball practice, soccer practice, scouts and the nearest swimming pools in the summer, there were times and circumstances when I was reminded that I was adopted, that there was a woman out there who was my biological mother, from whose flesh I had come, and that there was a father out there, too, who may or may not know we even existed. Sometimes I would pause and look at all the people around me, wondering if she was in the crowd. Did she think about Brad and me?
Sometimes my curiosity ran wild. I wanted to know the before-story. Why was I adopted? What happened to cause it? And what about our father? Who was he? Dad told us our father was a basketball player, was six feet eight inches tall, and was a mathematician. He said our mother was a secretary at a law firm, that she was 27 when we were born, and that our father was 21.
I remember calculating, a couple times every year, how old they were. I thought about them every year on our birthday, wondered if they were thinking about us, too. How could they not? It seemed like the only connection I had with them. It was the one time during the year that we could somehow share.
Next: “Our mother was thinking of us, that was certain.”

The beginning of my search
When Brad and I were about 12 years old, our adoptive parents received a letter from the attorney who did the legal work for our adoption. The letter was from our biological mother.
She wanted the parents of her biological twins to know that she was in rehabilitation for alcohol abuse. That letter perked my interest, and I thought more and more about it. Our mother was thinking of us, that was certain.
In my mid-20s, I found an old filing cabinet in the basement, packed away in a storage room. I rifled through every file in it and found documents from the attorney who did the legal work for our adoption. One document, three pages long, detailed the release of twin boys to my parents. In every case, the name of our biological Mother had been literally cut from the documents. I also found medical bills, totaling about $800, which our adoptive parents paid.
I noticed that my biological mother had made two phone calls the day after we were born. I was consumed with curiosity about what happened in that room and who she talked to. I took all the paperwork. It was a start, the only thing I had to go on. I sent copies of all the documents and a request for the names of my biological parents to the attorney, who was still in practice, and eagerly waited a reply.
Weeks, then months passed. Nothing came in the mail. I assumed the attorney was bound by Oregon law to keep everything private. The laws in Oregon at the time didn’t allow me to obtain a copy of my pre-adoption birth certificate, so all I had to go on were the few documents I had found.
A few years passed. When I learned there was a measure on the Oregon ballot that addressed the rights of adult adoptees, I was intrigued and found through an Internet search that the measure would allow adult adoptees to obtain a copy of their pre-adoption birth certificates. I was thrilled. At last, it looked like I might be able to get a copy of it.
I watched the Oregon election more closely than my own California election. In November of 1998, Measure 58, the Open Adoption Law in the state of Oregon, was voted into law. It was a moment of joy for me, but the joy didn’t last for long. Six birth mothers challenged the new law and it was held up in the courts until the Oregon Supreme Court threw it out in 2000.
I received a copy of my original birth certificate on July 11th, 2000.
The First Call
I had my mother’s name! One Internet search revealed that she was still living near Eugene, Oregon. It was that easy. I had a friend call her to see if she wanted contact. I didn’t want to bother her if she wasn’t interested. It seemed like the right approach.
Two days after I received my original birth certificate, my friend spoke to her and discovered that she was, indeed, my mother. She was willing to speak to me but wanted half an hour to gather her thoughts, my friend told me.
So I waited half an hour, pacing, shaking. Then I called. She answered on the second ring. “Hello.”
“Hello, this is Chad,” I said.
“Before we go on,” she said, “we need to make sure I’m the one you’re looking for.”
“Okay,” I said.
“Do you have a fraternal twin brother?” she asked.
“Were you born on December 27th, 1969?”
“Yes,” I said. This was when I jumped in with: “We were born at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, Oregon?”
“Yes,” she said.
“At 10:45am?” I asked.
“You found me,” she said with a sigh. “What do you want to know?”
“Anything you’re willing to share,” I said.
And thus began the most stunning, memorable conversation of my life.

Next: “He called me!”

bDad and Brad

I learned that bMom and bDad, as I began to affectionately call them, split up while bMom was pregnant with us. They hadn’t spoken even once in thirty years. bMom asked me during that first call if she could find bDad for me. I said yes and she found him the very next day. He called me! We swapped photos.
I told Brad that weekend that I’d found them. He was pretty stunned, but seemed excited and interested. He spoke to them, too.
The First Meeting

bMom via email, a few days before our first meeting:
I’m not nervous in the least. But I’m nervous because I’m not nervous. In fact, I’ve got the screaming meemies because I’m not nervous. Brad sent me a picture of you, Chad, in a little green sweater and a fuzzy hat that was taken when you were about 1 or 2. You were sooo cute. But I know you are all grown up now. I promise not to try to diaper you. -bMom

We met at the first rest stop just north of the Oregon/Washington border. I was driving about 30 miles an hour the last ten miles, literally shaking with nervousness. When I pulled into the parking lot I saw them standing together on the hill between the trees. I got out and could barely walk toward them.
bMom broke away from bDad and ran the last few steps, grabbed me in a hug. I lost it. Tears steamed down my face. I remember seeing bDad walk up. I heard him say, “What about me?”
bMom and I laughed. She pulled away and beckoned him to join us. We all hugged each other, then stepped away and just looked back and forth for a while.
“You did good, Chad!” bDad said at one point.
We spent two days together that first meeting.
More Meetings
I met an entire family. Biological grandparents from bDad’s side. Aunts and uncles, two half-sisters. I tried not to feel guilty. I’d thrown a rock into a pond and had little control over how all the parties involved were going to react.
I never felt anything but acceptance from the entire family for crashing into their lives. I was proud to have come from this bunch of truly wonderful people.
Brad was at dental school in Connecticut during that time, but he came out for his first meeting a month after I met them. That first night, late, bDad excused himself to go to bed. He went upstairs. Shortly after, bMom also excused herself to go to bed and followed bDad upstairs.
“Is there something going on between those two?” Brad asked me shortly after bMom went up. From what I could tell, there certainly was. I just smiled and laughed with Brad.
Are you serious?
bMom called me one day while I was driving home and said, “Your bDad is finally going to make an honest woman out of me. We’re getting married.” The signs that this might happen had been pretty clear all along, but this was still a stunning moment for me. My biological parents, who hadn’t spoken since bMom was pregnant with us — nearly thirty years — were getting married.
They’ve been married for many years now.
On August 13th, 2001, the first anniversary of the day bDad, bMom and I met in person for the first time, I received a bouquet of blue flowers. Thirteen of them.
On July 13th, 2002, the two year anniversary date of when I called bMom, Charline for the first time, I received a phone call while I was eating dinner in a restaurant with some friends. My caller ID said it was bDad, Tom.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hello, is this Chad?” said bDad.
“Sure is.”
“I have this woman here who says she’s your biological mother. She’d like to talk to you.”
“Oh, boy,” I said, going along with the joke. “Can you tell her I need half an hour to gather my thoughts?” We laughed, then laughed some more.