The Picture is old and worn. At first glance you see a precocious child, standing in front of a small pine tree. Nothing really out of the ordinary. She is probably wearing a nice new coat. That was always a good reason for a picture. She is little, perhaps three, going on four. Her hair is perfect, her coat is perfect, but unfortunately her life is not. If you look into her eyes you will see the sadness. The uncertainty teetering on the edge of fear. She may have been thinking of her Mom, wondering where she went. She had siblings too. Where were they? Where was her Dad? Where did all the people she knew and loved go?
She knows that everyone is looking at her. She knows she has to be good, polite and cute. She is putting on a show. One of many shows that she will put on in her lifetime. She is learning the fine art of manipulation at an early age. Because if she can be what everyone needs her to be, then she will win. She will win a home and a new family. She will win the coveted prize, a Mother.
Her name was Reva Gordon, she was my Mother. There were three different women who were involved in the adoption, Mrs. Shelly, Miss Shea and Miss Barnham. They brought her for visits to her prospective parents, Morris and Lauretta Pompeii. Morris and Lauretta could not have children of their own. All of their friends had children and this was something that they desired. Actually they had a child before they were married, Lauretta had to go away and give him up for adoption, then she could not conceive again. A secret that was hidden for many years.
I don’t know if there was an agency involved or if my Mother’s adoption was private. The visits started in 1937, according to Lauretta’s old red diary. Reva, my Mother, actually moved in later that year. After a few months they must have decided they were going to adopt her, and they started calling her Barbara. Reva Gordon no longer existed. She was now Barbara Mae Pompeii.
I often wonder how that changed her personality and if it determined who she turned out to be. How traumatic to lose your Mom, Dad, siblings and identity all before the age of 4. I also wonder who those people were and what ever became of them. Why was my mother left behind. Where did she come from? What did she see and hear? Was she ever loved or held? The connection between Mother and child is so important those first few years. Did she have that? I didn’t and it always affected my life and I am sure it affected hers as well. A lonely, empty spot deep within the heart, hers and mine .It was our common bond.
I have searched for answers to these questions for years and my search will continue. DNA is now a helpful tool and we have found some clues that may prove to be helpful. My Sisters are involved in the search and maybe one of us will come across something. I hope so. I will not stop looking, this I know for sure.
When I look at this picture of Reva my heart breaks. Her sad little face haunts me. I wish I could hug her and tell her everything is going to be OK .A week before she passed away, she spoke those words to me.
Today I remember Reva Gordon, a little girl lost.
I am going to figure it out Mom.
I missed you.