Congratulations-It’s A Girl

Stork With Baby Girl Clip Art Cartoon

A busy Saturday afternoon filled with laundry, household chores, and kids was interrupted by a ringing phone.  I had no idea that answering the phone that day would bring such unexpected news.

“Hello”

“Hello, is this Cathy Atchley?”

“Yes it is.  Who is this?”

“Um, My name is Jill and I am a friend of your mother’s.  I am in town visiting and wondered if she was living back in Charleston by some chance?”  My mother hadn’t lived in Charleston since I was a very young child.  I was confused by the question and wondered why a friend of my mother’s would think such a thing.

I explained that my mother was still living in Nevada.  The young woman on the other end of the phone asked a few more puzzling questions and then asked for my mother’s phone number.    I explained that my mother’s job took her to different sites during the week.  Phone service was often limited.  I offered to take her information and pass it on to my mother the next time we spoke. She gave me her address and phone in Chicago, Ill.  Again, I was confused.

“Thank you for your time.  Oh, may I ask you on more question?  What was your maiden name?  I paused for a moment.  That’s an odd question.  I answered without questioning why.

“Hard question to answer,” I laughed.  “My name was Altman but before that I was Keaton.  I was adopted by my grandparents when I was 4 years old.”     There was a long silence and then a rather hushed goodbye.

I told my husband this was the strangest phone call I have ever had.  It made no sense.  My mother has been married several times and I wondered if perhaps it was one of her ex husbands trying to track her down.  I imagined other scenarios as well when the phone rang again.

“Hello.”

“Hi, This is Jill.  I wanted to tell you the REAL reason I called.”

I paused and said, “Well, I didn’t believe the reason you gave me on the first call.”

“Claudia Sheldon is your mother, right She used to be Keaton?”

“Yes, that’s right.”  I still had no idea what was coming.

“Well, Claudia is my mother.”  I wasn’t sure I heard correctly.  She must be talking about someone else.  I  have one brother and my mother’s “female” problems prevented her from having more children.  Surely I would know if I had a sister.

“I’m sorry.  Did you say Claudia is your mother?  Are you sure?  I don’t understand.”

Jill told me the story of her birth and adoption.  The dates and times  fit.  I had  a new sister.   We talked  for about an hour.  We decided to stay in touch.   A call later that night with my mother confirmed Jill’s story. I already had a wide array of half and step siblings so Jill was added to the mix. Since that time we have built a friendship and claim each other as sisters.

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21 responses

  1. Ha! Amazing isn’t it? I thought you freaked out! I have a half-sister, too. And being an only child by my parents, I thought it exciting to have a big sister. We turned out to be good friends the first time we met. 🙂

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    1. Yes, it is fun to answer the question, “Do you have any brothers and sisters?” Why yes, but I am an only child. You get the strangest looks. 🙂

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  2. What a story Cathy. As mother of two adoptive children (from infancy) this is such a hopeful story.

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    1. She had great parents and family and had such a much better life with her family than if my mother had kept her! Adoption is such a great gift!

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  3. Wow, what a story. I definitely did not see that ending coming.

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  4. Wow! It must have taken her guts to call you- what an amazing story!

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  5. This must have been a shock, but how wonderful to discover your “new” sister.

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  6. Congratulations!

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  7. Talk about a life changing phone call. I’m happy for you that it was a good life change.

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  8. I was totally confused as to why this person was calling you. When she said she was your sister I was stunned. Probably as stunned as you! I love how you really pulled the reader into the story. I felt like I was the one getting the phone call! Great job!!!

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  9. Congratulations!

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  10. Wow! I cannot imagine this kind of conversation and this kind of revelation. I’m glad that you guys were able to build a relationship, even after such a weird start!

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  11. That’s crazy! What an amazing story!

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  12. nataliedeyoung | Reply

    Wow, I didn’t see that coming! An unexpected shock/blessing!

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  13. Amazing! So glad that she found you and came into your fold.

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  14. What a gutsy woman, your sister. My sister died when I was 20. How cool you have a new one (that you like)nat our age!

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  15. As an adult adoptee, I love reading stories like this. It gives me hope that someday I will make a connection to my own biological roots. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  16. Yikes! I thought you were going to say you fell victim to identity theft. So glad it was something wonderful instead!

    My 2012 NaNo novel has a twist similar to your real life situation. I am amazed at how many people this actually happens to!

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