real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

brown hair and blue eyes

This time of year is usually difficult for me. I am not a person who takes well to change, though fall is my favorite time of year. But all the really difficult, life-changing experiences in my life have started in the fall. And since my birthday is right around the corner, thoughts of my birth mother are pretty much near the surface all the time and will be during the next few weeks.

Over the weekend I received a copy of my adoption records from the Florence Crittenton Home in Peoria. Since the state of Illinois only allows “non-identifying” information to be given to adoptees, the records are sparse but full of information that is intriguing and new to me. This was the first time I ever knew anything about her physical appearance. She was 5’1″ tall. She had brown hair and blue eyes, just like me in my pre-gray hair and L’Oreal days. She was only 15. She had no mom or dad at home, only a stepfather and step siblings.

My parents knew only a few things about her, one of them being that she came from Coles County about 2 hours south of where I was born. My mom happened to see the piece of paper where that was written down the day they were in court and her attorney saw her and snapped “you weren’t supposed to see that.” She remembered it and told me years ago. It came back to me as I read that this young girl came to Crittenton Home six* months pregnant and was too far from home to go back for her clothing.

I found out that there were three high schools in Coles County in 1953 and that my birthmother finished 9th grade. Yesterday I talked with the librarians at all three schools and they are each sending me a copy of the pages with pictures of the 9th graders that year. I am anxious to see them but a little frightened, too.

I will keep you posted.

*I had originally written “three” here but realized this morning that she was really only 3 months from delivery when she came to Peoria. I am guessing that she had to finish out her school year. Can you imagine the shame to have been in her situation in 1953?



  Oto wrote @

I will be praying for you, Thatmom. I have no idea what it is you are feeling right now, but I know that I am feeling anxious and nervous and excited for you!

God bless you


  katiekind wrote @


We’re not really on hugging terms yet I couldn’t read that without my heart going out to you…and overflowing in a cyberhug.

  sarah wrote @

Karen, this is wonderful information. I am so glad that you are finally getting some leads. How very special.

  Thursday’s Child wrote @

Karen, I wish you the very best. I hope this brings you the peace you want. {hugs}

  koinonia community wrote @


Sending heaps of prayer your way.

  Susan T wrote @

Karen- Wow! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  TulipGirl wrote @

My bio dad died when I was an infant. Over the years, bits and pieces have become available. There has been both a curiosity as well as trepidation. . . Praying for you. . .

  thatmom wrote @

Thank you all for the kind words and the prayers!

Yesterday the first pictures arrived. I pulled out my own 9th grade year book to compare. The first pass through I spotted a girl who looks very much like me. When Clay came home I showed it to him and didn’t get a lot of response. But last night he told me that he thought that she looks just like me. I know I have a picture of me when I was about 4 or 5 that kept coming to mind when I saw her and am going to look for it today. She also looks like she could be small.

What if I find someone I look like in all three school print-outs? And what do I do with this information once I have it? I googled the name of this girl and found all sorts of people with the same last name still in Coles County. I am at a loss. I, too, feel curious and somewhat fearful and want to be wise. And I feel somewhat sad. She is 70 now, she is no longer that girl. But sometimes I still feel like an orphan. Maybe she still feels like one, too.

  Teri wrote @

I am 66 and I can tell you that age does not make you forget the child you relinquished. Nothing can. You should call and contact each and every person you can find in those yearbooks. Someone is bound to remember the girl who left school to have a baby, or who left school suddenly to go out of town to visit family or something. Someone will know something. She had to have a best friend back then. Or a sister or family member. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just take it one yearbook at a time and don’t give up. The search is a journey that has an end. You need your answers and she might also.

Teri Brown
Adoption Records Handbook

  thatmom wrote @


Thanks for the encouragement and please stop back here to chat if you like.

  Talia wrote @

For some reason, I had no idea that you were adopted! Wow, what a story. I have to say that it is very interesting to hear about your perspective on it, as the adopted one, now that I am so closely entwined with adoption as Luke and Jessica (who is not only my sister-in-law but my best friend) are on the verge of adopting their two little ones.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions with us, and I will certainly keep you in my prayers as you continue down this road of discovery!

  RichardD wrote @

We are adoptive parents. This was great to read. I will be praying.

  Lin wrote @

This is exciting and scary at the same time. I am pray that God will be glorified through it all!

  thatmom wrote @


Thanks for the info on what looks like a great resource. And I would love to invite you to listen to my tribute to my birthmother here:

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