Posted by: Brenda Kula | January 31, 2008

My Mother’s Birthday

Img_1930I think today may be my mother’s birthday. I’ve met her only twice. I was a preschooler at our first meeting. Then we saw one another again when I had young children, and she and my half brother were visiting a great-aunt I was close to. This relative, who has been dead for 22 years now, once told me that my mother’s birthday was at the end of January, either the 30th or 31st. So out there somewhere, if she’s still alive at age 73, (information which I’m getting off my birth certificate in front of me), she would be celebrating her birthday.

This morning I went to my desk and took out the file which holds my birth certificate. I scanned the page. My father’s age says unknown, though his name is listed.  It says he was an unemployed laborer. Midwife was checked as the attendant at birth. The time was 11:37 p.m, on February 19, 1957, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Once in awhile I look at the half page document, knowing it is my only link to the people who gave me life.

I was told there was a monetary transaction right after my birth, between my parents and someone at the hospital. Possibly a nurse or the midwife. Which I suppose puts me in the category of being a "black market baby." No one seems to know where I was the first year of my life. But I somehow resurfaced. Perhaps the authorities were involved. But that’s how I ended up with my maternal great-grandmother and grandmother, and lived thereafter with them.

I know I have a younger brother who I met once in my early twenties, and an older sister I met shortly before that. They were taken from my mother and adopted by separate couples. My mother had two more daughters. Then my half brother. I have never met the other two sisters, as they were possibly adopted out at an early age. The half brother, Billy, was in the system. I know because about 18 years ago I received a call from social services. They told me I was the only relative they could locate. Would I please come have my blood tested. Billy, at that time in his latter teens, needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. I was found to not be a match. My older daughter went with me once to visit him in the hospital. I believe he did get the transplant from a stranger, but I do not know the outcome. Or whether he is still alive.

I know my mother could not have had an easy life. Her mother was mentally incapacitated. I grew up with her in our household, so I knew at about age ten that our mental intelligence was fairly even at that point. But I would continue to get older, and in that way she unfortunately would not. My mother was her only child. I don’t know the circumstances of her birth.

My father, who died when I was young, was a truck driver. I was told that he picked my mother up on the highway, and took her away from a life that I’m sure was not a happy one. Whether she had the same medical or mental condition as my grandmother suffered from, I don’t know. But I think she may have. You don’t just have six children and "lose" them, do you?

My great-grandmother died two months after my 13th birthday. I lived there alone with my grandmother for a couple of years, then with relatives for another year. I went on with my life and lost contact with all but the great-aunt mentioned above after that. There was no love lost between us. I could feel their distancing themselves from me at any early age. 

I have contacted the police and FBI, trying to get information about what happened. But I was unsuccessful in my attempts. Too much time has passed. My relatives are now dead. I don’t know my father’s side of the family. So I guess I’ll never know what occurred 50 years ago. Could it have been because my father was unemployed? That my mother could not handle another child, having one daughter already? What could have caused them to sell their newborn baby?

I live with the feeling, ever present, that somehow, something was wrong with me. That there had to be a reason. But perhaps, there is simply none. And I was just the victim of circumstance, as were they. 

If anyone reading this entry could possibly know anything about what I have shared today, though that would be a miracle at best, please contact me. My mother’s name at the time of my birth was Martha Coleen Pruitt. If anyone knows of my mother, and she is still alive, please tell her happy birthday for me.   



  1. I’m sorry that I have no information for you, but I just wanted to say… This has nothing to do with you! My mom has been a foster mom for over 15 years and it’s almost never about the child. When it is about the child, it’s mostly older children with behaviour issues, that even then, are often linked to fetal alchol syndromn (caused by a mother drinking). But then I’m sure your head already knows that. It’s the heart that doesn’t always listen. I’ll pray for you today.

  2. I read your story several times, and you are a resiliant person to have gone through what you did and end up with a good life. So many get off track from their early experiences. I’ve read that adopted children almost always have the same feelings as you, but I’m sure intellectually you know that what happened really had nothing to do with you.
    I’m surprised that in this age of information, you’ve been unable to learn more than you have. That’s a shame, I know it would probably help you better understand what happened so long ago. Hope you find your mom, and all the other info you would like to learn.
    Good luck,

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