Saturday, December 3, 2011

Epilogue Part 1 - Birthfather

Hi everyone, Katie here.

Glogirly and I have been enjoying some downtime together. I've been nagging at her to get going on the Epilogue. As she's been procrastinating, she's at least been keeping my tummy full and litter box empty.

Also, she and Gloman just got Direct TV. So they've been, well... a little distracted. I'm still looking for the Cat Channel. So far no luck. Not that I'd be able to pry the remote from their tight grip.

Thanks for all of your great questions and comments. Without a doubt, the topic that appeared over and over again in the questions was - Dad. What about Glogirly's birth father? Part 1 of the Epilogue is all about Dad.

But first, in case you've missed anything, be sure to check out the links:

Searching For A Girl - Prologue
Chapter 1 - The Day After Mothers Day
Chapter 2 - So You Want To Be A Genealogist
Chapter 3 - Sam From Kansas
Chapter 4 - Four Hours
Chapter 5 - A, B, C
Chapter 6 - The Local Rite Aid
Chapter 7 - Dear Ms. Cotter,
Chapter 8 - A Gift
Chapter 9 - Questions + Answers + Questions
Chapter 10 - It's Your Aunt Dorothy
Chapter 11 - You Look Like Alice
Chapter 12 - Another Mother
Chapter 13 - The Little Pink House
Chapter 14 - Thank You
Chapter 15 - Jim
Chapter 16 - Surprise Of A Lifetime
Chapter 17 - Beloved Mother And Sister

Glogirly's background report contained a number of details about her birth father. No names of course, but some enlightening and even shocking facts. Remember, these details were likely what Alice told the Children's Home Society worker at the time she was finalizing the adoption agreement. Based on the details of the report, Glogirly believes that the information was probably a result of an interview and/or paperwork process both before and after her birth.

The following excerpt is taken word for word from the background report:

"Your birth father was approximately 39 years of age at the time of your birth. He was of Irish descent and the Quaker faith. He was five feet, 9 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. He had a slender build. He had black hair, brown eyes and a fair complexion. He graduated from high school, completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and held an executive director position. He was in good health. Your birth father was married to another at the time of your birth. During this union, five children were born. There appears to be no further information in the record regarding your paternal half-siblings.
Your birth mother was single and had no children prior to your birth. Your birth parents met at work and had a relationship. Upon discovering the pregnancy your birth father was informed. Your birth mother reported your birth father was not supportive of her during that time and she ended their relationship. Although a very difficult decision for her, your birth mother decided that allowing you the opportunity of an adoptive family was the best plan and she contacted CHS approximately four months prior to your birth for adoption services."

This was certainly a shocker. It was quite possibly a nice way of saying that he was a cheating philanderer with five, count them, FIVE kids. They met at work, where he was the boss and she was a subordinate. Then when she found out she was pregnant, he wanted nothing to do with her. Nice guy.

Although there were more details about her birth father than Glogirly expected, there weren't nearly enough to launch a full fledged search.

On her first trip to visit her family, Glogirly carefully pried to find out anything she could about her birth father. The subject was taboo though. She learned quickly that it was a secretive scandal no one wanted to touch. Dorothy didn't know anything about him. In fact she was shocked to learn what Glogirly already knew. Not Jeanette or any of her children knew a thing. Don't ask, don't tell.

To Glogirly's surprise, it was Armi who proved to be the most helpful. She commented again and again that Glogirly must look like her father.

Alice at 18-years-old - Glogirly at 47-years-old

The only photograph of Alice that really looked like Glogirly was her high school graduation photo.

Young Alice

As a little girl her hair was blonde before it turned brunette like Glogirly's. As an adult, the aging effects of cerebral palsy made the resemblance more difficult to see. 

Alice, approx. 40-years-old

When Glogirly shared the details from the report with Armi, she began to fill in some of the blanks. Alice must have met him at Achievement House. Achievement house was and still is a non-profit organization located in San Luis Obispo County, not far from the family ranch in Los Osos. It provides employment, training and placement for physically disabled adults. Alice worked at Achievement House and that's where Glogirly's birth father must have met her. It must be where he held the position of Executive Director, as mentioned in the background report. He was Alice's superior. A married man with children of his own quite possibly taking advantage of a physically disabled young woman, 13 years his junior.

Armi didn't know his name. She was the only one that Glogirly felt comfortable even asking. Armi was quite sure though that he and his family had left California. It was a small town scandal of significant proportions. Armi figured he'd been "run out of town."

When Glogirly returned home to Minnesota, she did a little digging. She even called Achievement House and asked if anyone could tell her who held the position of Executive Director in 1962-63. Her story was that she was doing some genealogical research. She spoke with someone in charge of marketing and eventually confessed why she was really asking. He was very kind, shared that his wife was also an adoptee and was searching for her family too. The Achievement House records were a mess though, as they were preparing for a 50 year anniversary, so he promised to get back to her if he found anything.

A couple of weeks later, Glogirly received an email. There was no definitive information. The name she was looking for might be Rathbone. But there was no way of knowing for sure.

Glogirly used the search tactics she had perfected looking for her birthmother and family. She found many Rathbone's, but none that matched the family she was looking for.

Looking for her birth father felt entirely different than looking for her birthmother. Even if she found him, what would the result be? Sure, she might find a few more answers. She might look like him. But the ramifications of contacting him were far more dangerous and potentially hurtful. What if his wife never knew? What if she did know? What if no one knew? What if his kids found out that their father had an affair? So many possibilities, most of which could cause a family a tremendous amount of hurt. She wasn't seeing any happy endings on the paternal side of the family search.

And what would Glogirly even say to him? The conversation certainly wouldn't resemble her conversation with Jeanette and Dorothy. The result of his actions broke Alice's heart. She lived with that pain her whole life. Even though there were probably more sides to the story, Glogirly didn't think much of this man.

Maybe it was easier for Glogirly to face her maternal birth family since she had been without her own mom, her adoptive mother, for 20+ years. The pain of losing her so many years ago had softened. When it came to finding her birthfather though, maybe it was all too soon after her own dad's death. She'd lost him only a few years prior to her search. The loss is still with her and she misses him everyday. That part of her heart that just might not have room for anyone else.

The reality is, Glogirly found who she was looking for. She found Alice and came to know her through her family. She also found something she didn't even realize she was looking for. A sense of belonging, history and family. Most important of all, Dorothy.

In part 2 of the epilogue, I'll answer the other questions that we've received and tell you a little more about what has happened since Glogirly's first visit.

Click HERE for Epilogue Part 2 - Your Questions Answered


  1. Hello, Glogirly,

    I understand that you searched your mother rather than your father, I would have done the same, I think...

    Thank you for sharing your deepest emotions with us! It is sometimes hard, but it is so good to know that there are sensitive and generous people all around the world who can share such things.


  2. It sounds like your birth father isn't worthy of knowing you, anyway. Thank you so much for continuing to share your story.

  3. Sadly, I think Alice's story (in a general sense) is not uncommon - a relationship with a married man with his own family leading to a pregnancy. My humans says her own mother was born under similar circumstances, and adopted by her birth mother's sister. Glogirly surely knows that not being acknowledged by her birth father in no way diminishes HER.

    We are so glad everything about contacting her birth mother's family went so well.

  4. Thank you for sharing all of this with us dear friend. I think Michelle is right - your birth father isn't worthy of know what a wonderful person you have become. Your story isn't all that uncommon - sadly even in this day and age.

  5. Glogirly, Mom googled and did find this link about a Tom Rathbone and Achievement House, but (though there were 5 kids from 2 marriages) it doesn't seem to fit what was written about your father. Perhaps Armi got the wrong person related to Achievement House.

  6. We have all been on the edge of our seat reading your story and we honestly think it is a wonderful warm story of reuniting a family. We are so glad to know that your maternal relatives welcomed you so openly, but we also concur with your thoughts about your paternal relatives. We have been waiting to read how things have continued and we can't wait until the next installment, and honestly we will be sad when it's over.

  7. I gotta agree with the other commenters, sometimes it's the Right Thing to leave something lie fallow. I mean, he hasn't come looking for you, has he? And I sincerely think that had your Mom lived into the computer age she would have not wasted a moment finding you.

  8. I totally agree with the other commenters. So very sad that this man who is your birth father did what he did! But your real father is the one who loved you and adopted you and brought you up. But now you also have your birth mothers family to get to know and love. It's win win. Thank you so much for sharing all this. It's been riveting. x

  9. momwas so into reading about Glogirlys birth father she ate like 98 mini accident
    Benny & Lily

  10. In doing her genealogical research, Mom found out that her first husband, who ran off and left her with a 3 year old and a 9 month old, later had a second family. She decided not to contact those people though, since they are innocent of wrongdoing and may be harmed by learning they have half siblings. Sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone and we think Glogirly made the right decision.

  11. Whoa what a loser he was! I'm glad Glogirly's personality took after her Mom and her adopted family. Actually TW once had an affair with a married man and became very close with his young daughter. She'd love to know how the daughter is doing this many years later.

  12. Very interesting that all that was in the record. Maybe someday you'll be ready to search.

  13. Tell Glogirly when my husband met his birth father, the father basically gave him his medical history--and introduced him to his other children as "a friend." It was very awkward. However, the birth father answered a lot of his questions such as, "Why has it always bothered me to run around the house shirt-less?" and, "Why am I built the way I'm built?" It was more of a genetic meeting--not the forming of a friendship. At age 48, he still has a lot of hostility toward his birth father for denying paternity before and after he was born.


Thank you so much for your comment. We LOVE hearing from you!