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Last week-Adrian Curley’s story began with his birth mother, Janet, giving him up for adoption…because of her love for him, And of his adoptive mother’s (Orla Jo) efforts to help him in his quest to find his birth mother …because of her love for him.
Although all adoption records seemed to be lost to him, Adrian, with the help of his adoptive mother, found his birth mother, Janet. Janet wrote a poem as she remembered "The first time I saw you through a window’ and telling him good-bye," she thought, forever.
Adrian’s story would not be complete without excerpts from his adoptive and birth mothers’ comments and thoughts.
“Before I knew what it meant, I was adopted,” Adrian Corley shared. “My parents never kept it from me, so by the time I started to learn the meaning of it, it really wasn’t a shock. My mom had always told me when I turned 18, that if I wanted to find my birth mother, she would help me. I would think about what she might look like, but never thought I would want to try to find her. I guess I was just too busy being a kid to put too much thought into it.”
Adrian shared memories of a happy, normal childhood with an older brother, Aaron, who teased him (“But I know he cared, and now that I’m older, I get to pick on him and return the favor from time to time.”); more cousins than I can count to play. “I think even now, though I am the biggest in the family, she still thinks of me as her little brother. That’s o.k. though, because I still look at her as my big sister,” Adrian shared.
“So,18 came and went without much thought of finding my mother,” Adrian shared. “It wasn’t until this summer that I started thinking about finding her. I pondered the idea for a few months before I decided to start looking. Even then, I was just wondering what she may look like and how her life had turned out. I never thought a relationship would come of it. So with the help of my mom and my girlfriend, Danielle, I started searching.”
As the adoption agency had gone out of business years before, there were no available records to help. Orla, who heard the name only once, 25 years ago, and doesn’t usually remember names amazingly came up with a name. A social worker had once let the name and the hometown slip,
Adrian continued, “My mom knew my birth mother’s first name, but not the spelling of her last name. She also knew that she went to Mt. Zion High School and how old she was when she had me. Danielle and Mom came up with the idea of finding a yearbook in hopes of finding out what she looked like and getting her full name so I would have a bit more information on her.”
‘Someone who looked like me’
So Adrian went to the Mt. Zion library to find a yearbook. “I walked over to where they had the yearbooks and grabbed 1987. I figured that ’87 would have been about the time she graduated. I opened to the senior pictures, flipped through a couple of pages and then I saw her. I knew it was her before I even read the name. Up until that moment, I had never looked at anyone who looked like me. I felt like I have known this person my whole life. I knew then that I wanted to have a relationship with her,” Adrian shared.
Orla Jo, said: "Adrian text me and sent her picture, asking if I thought she looked like him. His eyes were her eyes and I said ‘Yes! It has to be her.”
Danielle grabbed a phone book from the library and called the first listing with the same last name. “This turned out to be my great-uncle Al. After he and I talked, he told me he would pass my information on to Janet. About 10 minutes later, she called me. I think I was in shock, because I don’t remember most of our conversation. But she did tell me I had two younger sisters. It wasn’t until the ride home that it really sunk in. I thought ‘Wow, this is amazing, I have two younger sisters.'
Adrian and Janet spent the next month talking on the phone, getting to know each other. “Then in August, she flew up to meet me for the first time.”
Janet: "The second time I saw you through a window..My dreams for you are becoming a reality, Your life was so wonderful, Everything I had hoped for you…” Janet shared the second time I saw him through a window was the airport window, he was waiting for me with a bouquet of roses."
“It was amazing getting to meet her,” Adrian shared. On her last day, before her flight, my mom, dad, brother, sister, Janet and I had lunch together. It was nice having everyone together,” he shared.
In September, I flew down to Florida to stay with Janet and meet my sisters for the first time. It was so fun getting to just hang out with them. I can’t wait to see them again.”
Janet: “I wasn’t there to watch you grow from a precious, tiny, baby, to a confident man of integrity. But that’s who you are, just the same…The first time I saw you through a window, I said goodbye
forever, It took all my strength, All my soul, to let you go…
The second time I saw you through a window, I said goodbye for a few weeks, It took all my strength, All my soul to let you go…”
Janet: On July 6, my whole world changed,” Janet shared. “My uncle Al called and told me about the call. I told my husband, Dave, that Uncle Al had just talked to my son and I was going to call my son. I dialed the number and told the man who answered, ‘I think I’m your mom,' and he replied, ‘I think you are, too.’ There was something so calming about his voice. I just knew this child had such a kind heart.”
Janet’s daughters, Rachel and Sarah, were thrilled to hear their brother had contacted their mother.
Orla Jo: ”Janet got on a plane and flew to Illinois. He greeted her with roses and she held her baby for the first time. She had been advised not to hold him when he was born and it was a decision she had regretted all her life
Family Ties & Traditions
Orla and Adrian’s adoptive dad, Gary Corley, divorced , but Adrian and his dad still have a close relationship. Orla later married Mike Merriman, who also shares a good relationship with Adrian. .
Adrian looks like his mother and has her temper.. He also resembles her brother, Dan, and Adrian moves, acts, and has the mannerisms of his Uncle Dan.
Janet shared Adrian is a fifth generation welder on her side of the family. He loves classical music, like Sarah does, and classical rock, like Rachel. He and Rachel both play the guitar and do martial arts. His great-uncle Al shared that Adrian is the fifth generation to work with metal and expressed his pleasure, joy, and thankfulness for the addition of Adrian to their lives, and for the family that loved and cared for him, nurturing him to be the man that he is.
‘I have never been missing anything in my life, so this experience has just added to an already wonderful life. Instead of having one amazing family, I have two. I consider myself very fortunate and lucky.”
Orla and Janet-the mothers…
How difficult would it be to sincerely want to help your son find another mother to share his love that you have treasured for yourself all of his life? Orla Jo Merriman has the capacity for the kind of unselfish, pure motherly love that allowed her to help her son on his quest and be at peace doing it. She expressed that love in the following words,
“When I saw the excitement in my son’s eyes, and the pure happiness he was feeling, I thanked God that he had more people in his life to love him,” Orla said of her adoptive son. “I thank her for choosing us to raise him.” The mothers have developed a a special and unique friendship of their own.
Janet loved her baby and was unselfish enough to want a life for him that she knew, at her young age and with no resources, would be impossible to give him. Being given a choice between two families with different backgrounds, she chose the one she felt would be more like her family.
“I feel a very special connection to Orla,” Janet said. “We are Adrian’s mothers-birth and biological;-and have always based our decisions on what is best for our children. I trusted Orla with my baby, and now she trusts me with her son. That wasn’t necessarily easy for either of us, but we are committed to Adrian’s happiness. I don’t want to replace her, because I couldn’t have asked for a better mother for him. I have such love and respect for her and I thank her for sharing her son with me. And the rest of the family-Janet feels Sarah best summed it up when Adrian and Danielle asked the girls to be in their wedding,’ I always thought that I would have this brother out there that I loved, but who wouldn’t even know I existed. And now I’m going to be in his wedding.”
“This time I know that, never again, will ”forever” separate us, Love will bind us together and I will be there for new dreams of your wedding day, of the birth of your children, ...And now, forever will not be our obstacle, it will be our gift !!” Janet said
To Adrian: “Not flesh of my flesh, Not bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own; You didn’t grow under my heart, You grew in it." Love, Mom (Orla).