The records had been sealed by the law, under the law.
But everyone wants to know where they came from, and I am no different. My family life had not been the best; I was always at odds with my adoptive mother. My drive to know my origins was stronger than some. I started a search, thereby flaunting the law.
It didn't go well. In the days before the Internet (yes, there was such a time, believe it or not) I would have had to be in California in order to conduct any sort of worthwhile search by going to courthouses, looking up records, and the like. It would have been an uphill battle at best, because of the way the law is written in California. I would have filled out form after form after form, only to be laughed at by some underpaid clerk. "Silly man, we can't give you that information!"
Even so, I wasn't in California; I was in Texas. (Still am, actually.) So I gave up my search and tried to not think about it too much.
Life went on; years passed. I eventually got involved with rhianwyn, and though we didn't exactly set out to achieve it quite this way, she got pregnant. When I found out, she offered to "take care of it" as we had previously agreed to. Something in me snapped, though, and as if directed by the Divine I opened my mouth and said "No. Don't."
Best damn thing I ever did, up to that point. But I digress.
As rhianwyn and I pondered what was about to happen to us in some nine months, we realized that we would have but a quarter of our child's family medical history on hand, as rhianwynnever knew her father (and her mother would never talk about him).
Thus the second search started, this time plus Internet. I joined mailing lists, visited web sites, sent volumes of emails. It was an arduous time, during which I did precious little else. I managed to find other people who were willing to fight the law on my behalf, people who wanted to help. People that thought, just like me, that this part of the law was ridiculous.
I had a goal in mind, not only for myself but for my unborn child as well. I would not be dissuaded from that goal. After some six months, I had a letter in hand, complete with a name and address that was Very Damn Likely. And that letter? You probably guessed right. Yet again, I was flaunting the law, bending it around my own purposes.
Sending that letter was the best damn thing I ever did, up to that point. Three days later I got a joyful, tearful phone call. It lasted several hours. Then another call, and another. You should have seen the phone bill that month!
I made plans to fly out to California to meet my birthmother, who was utterly overjoyed. Not only was she reunited with me 30 years after the fact, but the double bomb of knowing that she was soon to be a grandmother? It was almost too much for her! I was exceedingly excited not only to know my 'real mother,' but to have a sister and a brother to boot, which I'd never had growing up.
The law is useful indeed in some circumstances. But in others it is ill-begotten and misguided, written by those with no personal experience with the things they judge. I'm proud to say that I won this fight with the Laws of California. Best damn thing I ever did.