Previous gift was many years in the making

Dianne Bonecutter Garrett - Contributing columnist

It’s National Adoption Awareness Month. Here’s my story…

I was born December 3, 1952, but my life actually started December 19 when I went home with my new parents.

Of course, most adopted children, no matter how happy, always wonder where they came from, why, and if they look like anyone. Let’s be clear — I had the most amazing parents a child could want.

When I turned 40, Ohio opened all adoption records up to 1964. I requested mine, and the search began. I was most interested to learn about health issues.

Obtaining my original birth certificate, and those of any children born to my birth mother, I discovered I was the youngest of six.

Wow! I was raised an only child.

I hoped for some brothers, so I would have a greater chance of locating them. Sisters would likely have married names. They were 14-25 years older, so I knew some could possibly be deceased.

I found a brother and two sisters. Two brothers were deceased. The oldest, Milton, had passed seven months before I found them. Ansel had been gone several years. They were 65 and 52.

After speaking with brother, Merrill, and sisters, Catherine and Norma, by phone, we planned a meeting at Merrill’s.

They had no knowledge of my birth. Mary Faye came to Clinton County from Dayton a few months prior to establish residency so she could give me up secretly. I was named Linda Faye until adoption.

She returned to Dayton to her family, never to utter a word to anyone. Husband, Stanley, was the only one aware.

They divorced six months later. She was involved with another man with whom she lived out the rest of her life. She possibly didn’t know which man was the father, and she was 46.

When we met, there were gasps all around. My sisters and I had a strong resemblance, and we were all short. Catherine gave me a photo of Mary at 40. I look exactly like her, and I am the only one who was blessed with her dark blue eyes.

The nose has it! Merrill asked if he could feel my nose.

Yes, it seems odd, but he had a reason. There is a bump I’ve always hated. Seems everyone had it, and it was inherited from Stanley. So without DNA, we determined that we were full siblings. Pretty scientific, eh?

All siblings are now gone. I have a great relationship with some nieces and nephews. I’m even a great-great-great auntie.

I apparently get my sharp tongue and love for cooking from Mary. She was a pastry chef at a hospital and a cook in a restaurant.

Wondering if she ever thought of me, my niece put that to rest.

Ann was a nurse at the hospital during her final days. On a break she went to Mary’s room. She was visibly distressed. Not recognizing the nurse as her granddaughter, she spoke freely saying, “I don’t think God will let me into Heaven. I did something very bad a long time ago”.

Ann told her to pray about it, and she died at peace. After meeting Ann, she shared that she now understood what that concern was about.

I found peace with that, as well.

Also, the missing puzzle piece as to why she left home for a few months was solved.

My real parents were truly Mondalee and Eldon Bonecutter. They raised me with love and patience, offering every opportunity possible. I miss them every day.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Thanks, Mary Faye, for giving three people the gift of being a family.

Dianne Bonecutter Garrett is a Wilmington native and a former print and broadcast journalist.

Dianne Bonecutter Garrett

Contributing columnist