As I scrolled through my blog today, I decided it was time to continue a story I started quite some time ago. If you would like, you can read the Finding Betty posts in my archives. I will try to catch you up a little here.
After a wine filled day watching Montel Williams, I decided it was a good time to find my birth mother. I was adopted, before I was born and had found my birth mothers name when I was in my twenties, but never really considered trying to find her. I think I was afraid of what I might find, good or bad, or that maybe she wouldn’t want me to find her. But fueled with alcohol, it seemed like the perfect thing to do. Her name was Betty Jean Ducham. I used the tool that Montel had said was a great source “Find Anyone Anywhere.somethingorother” I typed in the words Betty Ducham. My heart started to pound out of my chest as I saw a number come up 78. Your kidding, only 78 found, this might actually be easier than I thought. There were several Duchams listed in Michigan, but I was born in New Mexico. There weren’t any listed in New Mexico. Well, maybe she moved. Such a small number….I quickly search my own name Lori Payne. Just to give some perspective, there were 48,000 people with the last name Payne that were in the database, and only 78 Ducham. I knew at that moment there was no stopping. With half of the names in Michigan I started there. There was no Betty, but many others. I chose one picked up the phone and dialed, without a second thought. That was always the way I did things when I was drinking, no second thought, just do it. A male voice answered on the other line. Hello….. Hi there, I said while holding my breath. My name is Lori Payne. I believe I might be a relative of Betty Ducham, do you happen to know her? Yes I do I’m a relative of hers. Oh that’s great, I say as I start to shake. If I give you my number could you please pass it along to her and ask her to call me? Even as I write this today, years later, my hands are quivering. Such a huge decision to have been made so recklessly, but then again that is how I lived my life when I was drinking. The voice on the other line said, “sure” and I proceeded to give him my number. What would happen next was even more shocking, not weeks later, not days later, but two hours later my phone would ring. “Hi Lori?” Yes this is she. “My name is Alan, I am Betty’s Son.” I know my breathing sounded like a woman going into cardiac arrest. Oh hi there, thank you for calling me back. I fumbled through my words and managed, “Did Betty ever mention maybe having a …….daughter?” Yes, I was told I had a sister out there somewhere, but I never knew how to find her. Is that you? The tears started to flow, as I said, I think so. We talked for a moment and he asked me if he could scan and send me a photo of Betty over the computer. I immediately said yes. This is what came up on my screen. I was speechless. I knew it was her.