Well literally one sunny day, business as usual, kids playing in the back yard as i was waiting for Peter to come home from work when the phone rang. I answered, only to hear a young girl ask to speak to Vivienne Gittens. I said this is me. She said to me that she thought i was her birth mother. I stood in complete silence. Thinking someone was playing a joke on me but no one really knew who could this be? I asked how she got my number and she said that she received a letter in the mail from the government with my Maiden name “Gittens” and she knew that she was born in Brisbane so picked a name in the white pages and gave it a call. Within 4 hours of getting my name she was speaking to her Birthmother. Fancy that. Natasha had actually spoken to her Great Grandmother Gittens who advised her that i was now married and freely gave her my number. Grandma Gittens had no idea she was speaking to her great granddaughter. Ok so now this is feeling serious. I actually started to laugh continuously from nerves I must tell you. Then I remember thinking O MY GOD what am i going to tell Peter and the kids. SHIT no one knows, what am I going to do????? I asked Natasha to hang up and that i would call her back. I had to really think about what to do next. I had a decision to make.
I talked to a few of my closest friends at that time to get their advice on how I should tell Peter. Is he going to hate me, will he get angry, hell I was just numb. I could keep talking to her behind his back but I didn’t want to do that. OK let’s go back in time a little, Peter and I have known each other since high school. After school we hung out with the same group of people but were never a couple. I was living in Airlie Beach 1985-86 at the age of 21 when we got together; we got married in 1991 then gave birth to Ayrlie Rae in 1993 then Liam in 1996. When we were living in Airlie Beach we were drunk as skunks when I decided to tell Peter that I had given a baby up for adoption. All i remember is him cracking off, not about having a baby but about giving her up. The next morning all i could think of was the relationship would be off or he doesn’t remember. Turns out he didn’t remember. I was so nervous about talking about it again that I never said another word until now.
Well Peter didn’t take my news to well and didn’t talk to me for 2 months. You see, he wanted to marry a women that didn’t have anyone else’s babies only his. I guess looking at me that was the package that he was given. Well he never told me that so how should I know. Peter also doesn’t believe in abortion so i said to him if i had of had an abortion than things would be better then. That was to hard to get his head around. After being pushed aside for 2 months i said to him that I am a good person, a good mother and that i haven’t done anything wrong. If he can’t support me through this than i would leave. We said when we got married that we would be together for better or worse and that we would grow old together what happened to that. After many a conversation and questions to answer we did work things out. Peter has been able to share the journey and experiences with us all as a family. THANK GOD FOR THAT.
Back to the phone call. Well for many days and hours after we talked and talked and talked. There were 2 questions that stand out that she asked me and that was
1. Are you catholic? (NO)
2. Do you know who my father is? (Yes)
My first questions to her were
- Have you had a baby (I didn’t want her to carry on tradition) her answer (NO),
- What colour eyes do you have? Bright blue with a dark circle around them (just like me)
- Are you short (yes) Just like me.
- Where do you live? Dubbo, where the hell is that. Bloody miles away.
It was a good while after that we decided to meet for the first time. In the flesh. Natasha was driving to Queensland to meet me. I’m nervous as all hell. Is this really happening. We decided to meet in Queens Park, Ipswich which is the photo of us you see as my header. I was 35 she was 18. I was on my own with no kids or Peter. That day changed my life forever.
In the park we just kept looking at each other. We put our hands together and noticed that the lines were almost identical. Our feet are the same size and we both have a bobbly big toe on each foot and our little toes don’t have much toe nail at all. We have the same hair, same shape body with the same bum (sway back). She curses me to this very day about that ha ha ha. To this very day we like to trick everyone and pretend to be each other on the phone, We walk the same, we talk the same and stand the same. Incredible when you think about it as i had no influence on her life at all for 18 years, genetics are truly amazing. I also got the pleasure of meeting her Mother (Sandra). I could not have wished for a better mother. We ended up talking for just as many hours as Natasha. Turns out that Natasha’s Adoptive Father Bruce (who was waiting nervously in Dubbo as he didn’t make this trip) couldn’t have children but Sandra could. Bruce wasn’t keen on IVF as he wanted them to have a child that was neither theirs. I totally understand that, it would be hard watching your wife carry a baby from someone else’s sperm. 6 weeks after Natasha was born they were blessed with her. Sandra presented me with a scrap book that she had made for me with pictures from the day Bruce and Sandra brought her home till the day i meet her in the park. It still gives me goose bumps just talking about it. This goes to show you the kind of people Sandra and Bruce were. They were offered another baby but declined as they were so thankful to have one baby that they didn’t want to be greedy and wanted another family to enjoy the gift of a child like they did as it took them 10 years to get her. Natasha was raised as an only child (spoilt as well).
The next thing she wanted to know was about her birth father and how i got pregnant. Well that’s a story in itself as i fell pregnant without having sex, yes you heard correct, didn’t have sex. Just call me Mary ha ha. I will leave you to ponder that thought, till i write again. Vivienne.
For me I wasn’t nervous .. You know 17 and made of cement. Looking back now, I didnt think it would of had such a massive impact on soo many people.
I remembered the day I received your details in the mail. Vivienne… What does she look like, does she even want to know me, is she still alive?
It took me hours to finally call you once I received your number. I called twice and a man kept answering the phone. I was like for god sake how long does it take to get milk and bread as this is what he said the first time I rang for you.
Then with a heavy heart I knew this was it. Your going to pick up. I never forget the sound of your voice, it was sweet but yet confident in how your spoke.
For the first time I was intimidated.. (Hard to do)
But then I asked.. I need to ask you something it’s going to sound weird, but please Don’t hang up…..
The day we met in the park honestly was a blur to me. Sitting here now thinking about it I really don’t remember much of that day. I think the emotional roller coaster and the looking into the eyes of the women who birthed me was way to much to comprehend. I do remember looking at our hands and listening to each other on how we sounded and laughed the same.
I knew this day bought me closure because I looked into the eyes of someone that actually looks like me.
People take family portraites as a must do thing. A pain in the arse each year one friend explained to me. But my family portraites was a loving family with my mum and dad, but really 3 random people. No noses the same, no eyes, lips, smile. These things deep down ment everything to me.
I envied the kids I went to school with and seeing there photos on the wall, they knew exactly were they came from and who had what traites.
From that day in the park and taking those first photos were everything to me more then the meet itself. I’m not sure why at this stage but as our journey un
Folds I do get my answers.
Hi Viv, What a lovely story as I sit and remember all those times and that little girl you are talking about, how I will miss her in just a weeks time as she moves on with her life and goes to Qld to live how time goes around it is like her live has gone a full circle. I am happy for them all but how I am so sad as well. My life will never be the same again. Boy I need to go to work todaly I will need to pull my self together I can hear her and Chloe talking in there room what a lovely sound only 7 more days of this.Love Sandra
Well done and congrats for telling your story.
I have followed the story (from Tashs side) since the day aunty Sans and uncle Bruce brought her home. I’m also adopted and my name was Lisa Maree.
Look forward to the next chapter….
Congratulations Viv on telling your story, I look forward to hearing all about it! It’s great to hear that you have both found hapiness in each other and in a way completed each others lives.
The Lead up to the First Phone Call
We were always going to look for Tash’s birth mother (Viv) this is what we had always called her, there was never any time this was not going to happen as Bruce and I wonted to thank her for giving us the chance to be parent’s and thank her for the gift we had been given.
Natasha and I had been going to adoption support group meeting since she was about 12 years old, so she always new we would be there to support and help her when she turned 18 this was when she was able to receive idenifying information about her birth mother.
Tash sent the letter off about 6 weeks before her 18th birthday asking for the forms we needed to fill out to get the information. As we waited for the forms Tash became very emotional, she was like a (bear with a sore head), Jas ask me to talk with her as no one could do anything right. I started to think maybe she was not ready and was doing this for her father and I. I told her if she was not ready we could leave it for a while we would understand. She said no Mum it’s ok. I talked to her about maybe there could be a Veto and what that may mean to her, Tash was a teenager and very scared of what she may find we did a lot of talking it all through.
Bruce and I then decided that he would be home with Tash for the mailman each day after we filled in the form’s and waited for the new’s. GREAT PLAN but this is not what happen. There were never any forms sent to us instead what arrived was a letter with information with Tash’s birth mothers name. NATASHA WAS HOME ALONE.
She then gets Jas to ride her up too the hospital (were I work) on the back of his moter bike, with her letter you could not wipe the smile off her face. I remember saying to her what are you going to do now. She said I don’t know Mum. I said I will be home in a few hours I will help you, they then both left. I was so excited for her and all of us we at last had a name, in the end I could not take it any longer and left work. I rushed home from work to help but anyone who know’s’ Tash was she waiting for our help not on your sweet nelly. She had all the information she needed phone number, married name and had even made a phone call and (Viv) was out shopping. How did all this happhen in 4 hours from the time she received the letter. After leaving the hospital Tash rang her adoption support person Maryann from Narromine who just happen to be in Dubbo that day. Off they went to the electoral roll office and looked up Viv name and found 4 Gittens in Brisbane, home she went and rang the first name on the list and spoke with the lady looking after Viv’s Dads mother ( I think this may have been Tashs aunty) who gave out Vivs married name and phone number she then rang that number and spoke to Peter who said Viv was out getting Milk and Bread.
I remember Bruce and I were in the kitchen and I said come on ring again she must be home now. She keepted walking around then said Mum and Dad I can’t do it in front of you both so she went into her room, we sat at the table looking at each other and then we heard this almighty yell and we both rushed into her room to see Tash sitting on her bed talking to her Mum for the first time it still brings tears to my eyes, to remember seeing our daughter she had found the missing piece of her life she was now complete.
We stood and watched as Tash ask about toes, fingers how short she was, I will never forget that first call. Tash wanted Viv to talk to us but of course we did not have any idear that she needed to leave the house and ring Tash back.
When she rang back and spoke with us we could not stop thanking her and she was thanking us we were all crying what beautiful memories.
I have over the years spoken at adoption support groups about the way Tash found Viv on that day I wished every one could have such a lovely story however this does not always happen. They usual have a person in the middle who does the contacting. But not our Tash she is a go getter and we are all so lucky to be a part of her life.