Literature & Life

Search for a Stranger by Gordon S Livingston

The author’s search for his own mother is the theme of this story. He considers his mother to be a stranger because he was adopted and didn’t discover his true identity until he was 38 years old. In his quest, he meets a lot of strangers, but he eventually finds someone he really likes.

The narrative “Search for a Stranger” was written by a child psychiatrist in Columbia, South Carolina. His cousin inquired about his job one day. The author informed him about a conference he had attended on adopted children. The meeting reviewed and debated the difficult circumstances that adopted children confront. It was determined that adopted children require expert support in order to overcome the emotional issues they face. The feeling of having two identities was one of the emotional issues discovered. If a youngster want to learn more about his or her biological parents, the law will not assist him or her. Adoption records are normally sealed by the courts. An adopted youngster, on the other hand, is frequently horrified when he or she is unable to learn about his or her birth. He or she believes there is something shameful about his or her birth, hence it has been kept a secret.

The relative was perplexed as to why the adopted children needed to know about his or her adoption. The author reasoned that the child should learn the truth about his or her adoption from his or her adopted parents because learning the truth about his or her adoption from other individuals could cause serious psychological harm. Michael, the author’s fourth kid, was adopted and told the truth. The cousin then inquired as to what he would do if he discovered he was an adopted child. The author said that he would begin looking for his biological parents. His cousin had recently begged him to begin looking for his parents. The author initially assumed his cousin was joking, but when he discovered he was telling the truth, he felt terrible.

When the author was 38 years old, he discovered the truth. He was devastated since he had always assumed his adoptive parents were his biological parents. He had mistaken himself for a Scotch-Irishman. Many thoughts raced through his mind. He was suddenly having the issues that an adopted child has when he or she discovers the truth. He inquired as to why his adopted father had kept the truth from him. He expressed his fear that he (the author) would have preferred to visit his biological parents. His adoptive parents were scared he might be taken away from them. The author promised his adopted father that he and his mother would always be his parents. His mother, the author’s adoptive mother, died a year ago. The author then began looking for his biological parents.

On June 30, 1938, the author was born. His parents had lived in the city of Detroit when he was adopted. He was adopted through a Memphis, Tennessee adoption agency. As a result, the author informed the Martins that he had been adopted from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. To review the records of the children’s home society, the author needed permission from the Tennessee Department of Public Welfare. Permission was not granted since all adoption records were sealed by law

Gordon travelled to Memphis with his adoptive father’s permission to look for the record in Memphis city hall (every American town has a library and a reading hall). He then dashed to a nearby newspaper office and demanded back issues. A newspaper front-page report showed that the director has been profiting by selling minors for hefty payments. She sold infants born to unmarried moms, prostitutes, and mentally ill people. As a result, the Home was shut down. The author was unsure which group he belonged to. He hired a local attorney to assist him in his hunt. The author’s birth name was Donald Alfred Cardell, according to the lawyer the next day. The Memphis courthouse had his sealed records. The author and his lawyer went to the courthouse the next morning and asked to see the records. He was given the documents.

On August 17, 1940, his adoption decree was signed. Ann Simmons Cardell was his mother’s name. According to the records, the father had abandoned the child. The author requested a copy. The clerk recognised the author was still in possession of his adoption document. She snatched the adoption decree from him and told him he needed to ask the judge for permission to reproduce it. The author’s lawyer stated that the author’s mother was a Mississippi schoolteacher.

The author flew to Jackson, Mississippi’s capital, and discovered his mother’s name in the Department of Education’s academic records. In the year 1952, she earned her master’s degree in education. The author dialled the college’s alumni office number. They informed him that they had received a letter from Miss Cardell from Natchez eleven years prior. In the phone directory, he located the name Alfred Cardell Jr. He called Alfred and discovered that Ann Cardell was his aunt. Ann Cardell was living in Savannah, he told the author.

The author flew to Savannah and dialled Ann Cardell’s phone number. He introduced himself as her son and expressed his desire to meet her. She extended an invitation to him to see her. His mother, Ann Cardell, was a stately elderly lady in her sixties. She made him a cup of coffee. She then began to tell the author the story of his birth. She grew up in a Mississippi rural family. She’d fallen in love with a dashing young man who was a fantastic dancer at the age of twenty-eight. She had wanted him to marry her while she was pregnant. He was, however, never seen again. A pregnant woman who was not married was not respected. As a result, she travelled to Memphis to give birth. According to her, the author was born in this manner and no one knew about it.

He felt as if he was listening to his own life narrative. He felt sorry for his mother. Three years ago, his father died of cancer. His mother is his mother. She had a unique method of tracking him down through her students. Her students would be assumed to be her son. She felt as if she was soothing her own child, the author, when she comforted a child. She applied for a transfer to third grade when she found out the author would be in that grade. She felt closer to her son as a result of this. However, she began to feel as if she was getting egotistical. She desired to see him mature into a man. She was pleased that he had taken a seat in front of her. She begged forgiveness. She extended her arms in front of her. For the first time in thirty-eight years, the author touched his mother.

As a result, the story’s author revealed the mystery of an adopted child’s life. This is a harrowing and terrible account of an orphan’s real-life experiences.

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