Tom Becka: Hello, and welcome to this episode of TomBecka.com, where everyone has a story to tell. This story is not that unusual. At the same time, it’s incredibly unusual.
The story is one of a 20-year-old in college. She gets pregnant. She decides to have the baby, put the baby up for adoption, and then wonders in the back of her mind, over the years, “I wonder whatever happened to him? I wonder what kind of a young man he turned out to be.”
As things turn out, it turns out that she knew this young man before she knew that she was the biological mother. Yeah, we talk a little bit what went on before they met; how they found out that they were indeed, mother and son, at least biologically. Then, we go and talk about how this affected Drew’s parents — the people who raised him.
It’s a fascinating story and one I think you’ll enjoy here on TomBecka.com.
How old were you when you got pregnant?
Andrea: I was 20.
Tom: You were 20 and you got pregnant. You weren’t married at that time?
Andrea: No. I was in college.
Tom: Was it a long time boyfriend or a frat party?
Andrea: No. [laughs] It was a boyfriend.
Tom: OK. You find out you were pregnant?
Tom: OK. Not an unusual situation for a 20-year-old in college.
Tom: What’s going through your mind?
Andrea: I went to school down in Texas. My family lived in Nebraska. After going back and forth in my mind what I wanted to do, if I was going to keep the baby or have an abortion. That was the decision at first, and then, of course, I decided I was just going to have him. Then, I told my family. Basically, right after I decided to have the baby, I knew I was going to place him for adoption, right from the start.
Tom: Is the boyfriend a part of this decision at that time, or does he split?
Andrea: No. He knew what was going on, but he knew that I had my mind made up. Because, at first, he talked about, “Let’s get married. Let’s do this.” It wouldn’t have been a marriage that would’ve lasted. I told him he didn’t have to marry me just because I got pregnant.
Tom: OK. You give the baby up for adoption. You carry the baby for nine months. You give birth. You hold the baby in your arms? Did you?
Andrea: Yes. I had a cesarean. After they put me out, and after they woke me up, they told me I had a boy, because I didn’t know if I had a girl or a boy.
My Mom actually got to hold him first, because I was still out of it. He stayed in the room with me. I was in the hospital for five days. That’s probably the only time that I decided I wanted to take him home [laughs] .
Tom: Well, that’s it — second thoughts at this point in time. Did you already know who was going to adopt him? Sometimes, you’ll know the parents. Or were you just trying to give him up to an agency and let the agency place him?
Andrea: On the agency, I told them I wanted open adoption, so I got to choose from three or four families. They just gave me background information. Drew’s parents didn’t have any children, and all the other families had children. I thought, if he’s going to go to a good home, I didn’t think it was fair for him to go to a family that already had children, versus a couple that didn’t have.
Tom: Right. OK, so you’ve given Drew up for adoption. How were you feeling after that? How were you dealing with that? With the fact that you had this baby, you became attached to the baby, and now you don’t have this baby anymore.
Andrea: That was hard. That was a really empty feeling for a long, long time. But like my Dad said, “You know what? Deal with it now, because if you don’t, you’re going to deal with it down the road some other time.” I think that’s true to a lot of things in life. It was sad. It was lonely. He was big baby, so [chuckles] …
Andrea: …it was kind of nice [chuckles] to go back to normal, body-wise. No, it was really hard. I’m not going to lie.
Tom: How did family and friends treat you during this time? Did you lose friends in the deal? Or did family shun you at all?
Andrea: My parents were upset about it. I don’t want to say anything bad, but I don’t know if they were embarrassed, if that’s the word. Because back then, that’s…
Tom: When you were talking about it, what year was this?
Andrea: This was ’84.
Tom: ’84? OK.
Andrea: Which isn’t that long ago, but I was a preacher’s daughter. [chuckles] We’re the worst.
Tom: OK, so you did that now. And then, over the years you dealt with it. Over the years, did you keep in contact, in any way, with Drew, or what?
Andrea: I met Drew’s parents right after I had him. It was basically for a whole year, they were to send me pictures. His Mom wrote me letters. There’s nothing forcing them to have to keep doing it, but she was really good about sending me pictures.
Tom: Was that just for the first year, and then they take a walk, right?
Tom: Then no more. You didn’t get pictures of his high school graduation or anything like that?
Andrea: No, I had no contact with anybody after that.
Tom: So during this time, emotionally, you got on with your life. You got married. You started the whole other life. You’d got everything else going on there. How often would you think about Drew? Was it just like, “Yeah, it was part of my college life?”
Andrea: No, I thought about him a lot, especially every birthday, of course. My Mom’s been really good. She always calls and says, “Happy birthday, Drew” — well, Zack is what I named him in the hospital. His parents I had asked if they would keep Zachary as part of a middle name, and so they did. That was really cool to me. That was awesome.
I just think that any parent that puts a child up for adoption, your biggest concern is that they’re happy, they’re safe, and they’re healthy. That’s all I basically prayed for, was that he was happy and he was healthy.
Tom: Well, let’s find out. Drew? So, there you are. You’re a kid growing up. Were you a happy and healthy kid?
Drew: Yeah. She actually gave me up to two people that were successful in their life. They took real good care of me. I lived out West my whole life. I always had a really good life — everything I ever needed, a good education and things like that. It worked out very well.
My parents ended up splitting up in the fourth grade, so I ended up living with my Mom. I don’t have really contact with my Dad any more, just because he wasn’t really the nicest guy in the world.
They told me, as soon as I could know, about four or five years old, they were like, “You’re special. You’ve been adopted.” I understood what that meant, so they shared with me as soon as I could know.
Tom: Did you feel special? Your parents would say, “You’re special.” But do you feel special, or do you feel different? Do you wonder about your Mom and Dad, and everything?
Drew: I always have, and they always pushed me to find out after I turned 18, to maybe try and pursue that. It was something I always thought about, because I still had the letters and pictures that she had sent from ’84.
It was a thought in the back of my mind, but I waited for, “Am I ready or not?” There have been some days where I really wanted to pursue it. When I lived down in Lincoln, there were the Luther Family Services down there. I’ve actually tried to stop in there, to see if I could find out some more information, but they were closed that day. It just never happened again after that.
Tom: You thought about it, and it was one of those things — one of these days, I want to track down my birth mother.
Drew: Sure, sure. People would ask me about it all the time, so I would tell them about it. Tell them the story and everything. Then I would think about it then, and it just comes and goes, until we finally met.
Tom: OK. Now, we get to the interesting part here, about how you guys — that’s not interesting, it is very interesting, like you said, but not that unique, not that unique.
By the way, you could have also tried to track him down, couldn’t you, Andrea?
Andrea: I could have put in for a search for him, but I think after 25 maybe…
Tom: Whatever is OK.
Andrea: I can’t remember for sure, but yeah. I could put in for a search for him, but he would have had to have ultimately contacted the agency to say it’s OK.
Andrea: If he would never have said anything, I wouldn’t have heard anything.
Tom: Again, if you put in a search, and said that you wanted to find your Mom, would Andrea have had to give OK to that too? Was it a thing where you both had to apply to a Lutheran Family Services to make it happen?
Drew: I was always told growing up, that if she kept contact through Lutheran Family Service, like updating information, addresses and things like that, I could find out that way. Otherwise, I think you’d have to hunt a little bit, because I don’t think they can disclose that information.
Tom: Did you keep in contact? Did you keep on updating or anything like that?
Andrea: I did for a while, and then probably from ’90s on up, no. But my social worker and I, we ended up having a really close friendship. She was a really amazing woman. I felt like if I ever needed to get a hold of somebody that might have a little more power than what I faced, just walking into the agency, she would probably always be there to help me.
Tom: So, it was also one of those things in your mind, “One of these days, I want to look for him.”
Andrea: Well, I was hoping. I told my husband, “Someday, someone might be knocking on the door. Are you cool with that?”
Tom: Yeah, how does that go, too? Things didn’t work out with Drew’s father, right?
Tom: You end up being dated to your husband. You tell him, “Hey, by the way, someone might be knocking on the door.” Did you tell him that, early on in the dating process, or that’s something you’d say after you were married? Where does that come into the conversation?
Andrea: No, it was right off the bat. Plus, I had a cesarean, so I have a scar.
Andrea: You can’t really hide that stuff. But anyway, it’s being truthful here. But no, I’m a very private person. Some of my best friends didn’t even know. When you asked if family and friends were supportive, my friends knew about it at the time — my college friends, and some high school friends. But like you said, I moved on. I went forward. I chose not to share it with people. It’s not something you just come out and share it.
Tom: It’s like, “Hi, my name’s Andrea. By the way, I gave a kid up for adoption, back when I was in college.” Yeah, you don’t have to say it.
Andrea: Not to say I wasn’t embarrassed, by any means. I just am very private.
Tom: It’s not really part of it. Nobody’s business, yeah.
Andrea: Yeah. It was a part of him that I could keep between me and him. Does that make sense?
Tom: No, no. I thoroughly understand, I thoroughly understand. Moving on, how many years is it? ’80?
Andrea: ’84 or so. 2000 and was it ’12?
Tom: Yeah. 28 years. OK, 28 years later. There’s a nice neighborhood in Omaha called Dundee. In Dundee, it’s a nice little bar and restaurant district. There’s a very nice restaurant there, called Pitch — give them a plug. You and your husband go in there for dinner, quite a bit. You go in there for dinner and drink, quite a bit, right?
Andrea: Regulars, yeah.
Tom: You’re in there, and there’s this bartender there. You and he just click, right?
Andrea: Yeah, my husband and I both. No offense to anybody at Pitch, but he was our favorite. He was just a good soul, and we would literally say, “Let’s go see if Drew’s working. Let’s go and see Drew.” [laughs]
Tom: Drew, you’re a bartender there. You deal with a lot of customers. To get the tips, you had to be nice to everybody. Was there any sort of a different connection with Andrea than there might have been any other woman that came in?
Drew: Yeah, in a sense. It’s just like she has this motherly aspect to her, and she’s always very nice and kind. They’d always come down and take care of us. We’ve got to know them. We just became friends after that, and hung out a little bit. It just went from there. But yeah, she stood out from the rest of the people, I would say. Absolutely.
Tom: You guys just start talking, right?
Tom: Just bar talk. You’re sitting there. You’re working. You’re having a drink. You’re maybe having a slice of pizza or something, while you’re just sitting there, talking. How does it get to the point where you start talking about adoption and things like that?
Andrea: I was there with my girlfriend. It was later. It was after, what, 10-ish, I think. She talked me into coming out with her, for a little bit. We were sitting at the bar, and usually these guys don’t have any time to talk. They’re so busy. [chuckles] But for some reason, I think they were starting to close up. I don’t know. He just started talking about, “Well, you know I’m adopted.” Honestly, I never knew that.
I had known that they had named Drew, Andrew. His parents told me that. We laughed, because my name’s Andrea, and close to Andrew.
So he was like, “Yeah.” He just started rattling off all this information like, “Yeah, I think my birth father plays baseball at Texas A&M.” I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” I didn’t go to Texas A&M, so that’s why it didn’t trigger right away. But he was a baseball player.
Tom: But he didn’t play at Texas A&M. He played at a different school?
Andrea: Yeah, we went to a different college. Then he was like, “Yeah, my birth mom, she moved to Lincoln after she got pregnant and had the baby there.” That right there, I’m like, “OK.” Then, he’d get busy and go off and do something, and then he’d come back. Then I said, “Drew, how old are you?” because I was thinking he was like 26, 27 at the most.
He was like, “I’m 28. My birthday is coming up.” He said, “Yeah, it’s 7/11.” My heart just stopped, because, obviously, I will never forget that day, ever. I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” Basically, I just grabbed my cell phone. My girlfriend had no idea [chuckles] what was going on.
Tom: By the way, this was girlfriend. This was a little side story here. Your girlfriend thought Drew was trying at you, right?
Tom: We don’t like telling names here, but your girlfriend is thinking, “Hey, that bartender. I wouldn’t mind…yeah.” Uh-huh, right?
Drew: She was the one that initially asked me if I had any siblings. That’s how it all came out.
Tom: Well, that’s the adoption thing. I was going to ask you about that. Was that the sort of a thing that, like you said, you aren’t ashamed of it or anything like that? But was that the sort of thing you would normally tell customers, that you were adopted? So, you told that to other customers and stuff?
Drew: Absolutely. It sets me apart from other people. I think it’s a cool thing. It’s something that a lot of other people will never experience in their lives.
Andrea: Drew is a very open person.
Drew: I like to share it. I don’t mind.
Tom: OK. Then you go, and now, all of a sudden, bells are ringing in your head and you are thinking, “I wonder if…”
Andrea: Oh, yeah.
Tom: “…Too coincidental. It couldn’t be.”
Andrea: But yet, I was almost also panicking inside, too. This was just a rush of emotions, but I wasn’t sure.
Tom: Now, your husband Dave, who is in the studio here, too. You are part of this, at this point too, right? You wound up after this meeting with Andrea and her friend, with Drew. Then you wound up going in and talking to Drew too, right?
Dave: The night that Andrea came home and sprung this on me, she woke me up. I thought she was out of her mind. Basically, I said, “How much Chardonnay did you drink…
Dave: …down there?” I said, “I think you need to go to bed.” Did you call — was it Jen, or your Mom?
Dave: You called somebody.
Andrea: I called my Mom first.
Dave: OK. She called up her mother and then she called a friend. The next morning, when we got up, and we were processing this. She had letters from Drew’s parents. I said, “Get those letters out. There’s information in those letters.” His Mom and Dad’s names were at the bottom of the letters. Lynda spells her name, LYNDA. Then I started to shake. I was like, “OK, this is actually happening.”
Andrea: The reason we knew this was because…Let’s go back to Pitch. I took my phone. I was going to call my Mom, and my phone was dead. I’m like, “OK. Deep breathe. If you possibly think this could be your birth son, you need to go back in, and try to ask him a few more questions without being obvious, and then get home.” [chuckles]
Tom: Drew, while this was going on, did you notice or pay any attention to the idea that Andrea was acting a little bit stranger all of a sudden? Did any of this trigger with you, that something might be up?
Drew: She stepped out for a minute, I remember that. Then it had been about, I don’t know, about 20 minutes or so. Then I looked at her friend, and I was like, “What happened to Andrea?” Little did I know that I’d just sprung all this on her. She was probably having a hundred different emotions going through. But no, I had no idea, for sure.
Tom: OK, so now you’ve checked to see. You find out the adopted parents’ names. You got that information. Now, you’ve got to go and talk to Drew about this, right? You’ve got to go and talk to him about, “By the way. Hey, guess who I am?”
Andrea: Just to go back for a second. Drew sealed the deal when I came back in, and I said, “Well, what’s your middle name?” That’s when he says, “Well I have two middle names”.
He said “Andrew Michael Zachery.” As soon as he said Zachery, I could just feel like, “Oh my Gosh.” Anyway, we can go back to your question.
Tom: OK. So you knew, and you got hold of him that night, and they thought, “Boy, did you put down the wine?” [laughs]
Andrea: Oh, no. I knew it was Zack.
Tom: You go home, and you tell Dave.
Andrea: I knew in my heart.
Tom: Did that night…?
Andrea: No. My friend that I called, she didn’t have any idea that I had placed the baby for adoption. So at three o’ clock in the morning, I was also blowing her world along with…and we had guests at our house and I was…It was just crazy, crazy.
The next day, we sat around, and tried to figure out what kind of plan of action we wanted to take.
Tom: OK. So what is the plan of action now? How long is it, before you know, and now you’re going to go talk to Drew?
Andrea: I went through the agency. I called the agency I went through. I talked to a case worker. I told the scenario, and she goes, “Well, we could do a search. But he has to contact us before I can ever say to you ‘Yes, this is him or no, it isn’t.'”
We had to fill out all the paperwork, and you have to pay a fee which…It wasn’t that turned you off. To Drew, it was that, they were going to charge him $300 to search. That was what she said. They were going to charge us, and I said I don’t care if it’s a $1000. But when you’re 18, you can’t come up with…I wish, somehow, maybe they could change that, or maybe people could donate money to the agency, so these kids could have those fund for them. You just can’t cough up $300 when you’re 18.
Anyway, she was telling me how much it was going to cost. I was like, “That’s not an issue.” We just had to wait for the paperwork to go through. She basically knew. I think she knew. I could hear it in her voice that she knew it was him.
Obviously, she couldn’t say anything. But she said, “Well, how can we get him to commit, to calling you, because what are you going to say to him?” because I had asked her.
I said “Do you want? Have you ever searched for your birth parents?” He said, “No. I don’t know if I’m ready.” That was our biggest concern, because we didn’t want to come in and ruin his life if he wasn’t ready for it. That was probably our biggest concern. Then also, “Do I go reach out to his Mom first before I reach out to him?” You go through all these questions.
Tom: There is no handbook for how to handle this, is there? There’s no handbook for how do you find your birth son, how do you address your birth son that you just met in a bar. There’s no handbook about the proper way to handle that, is there? No. [laughs]
Andrea: We had just moved from Ohio. We had lived there for six years. My husband got relocated, and new job, and here, we find us. I’m like, I just don’t want him to think that we searched him and have been stalking him this whole time.
Tom: Well, yeah. Because he doesn’t know, and all of a sudden, you just started to showed up at the bar.
Andrea: Our biggest concern was that, we were going to screw — because his life was perfect, without us in it. Are we going to drop this bomb on him and screw it up?
Tom: OK. You say, “Have you ever searched?” and Drew says, “I don’t know if I’m ready.” How do you get him to be ready? Obviously, you want him to be ready.
Andrea: That’s what I said to the case worker, and she goes, “Can you give me the name of the restaurant?” So I told her, “It was Pitch.” She goes, “Well, if he calls.” Then, she’s like, “I’m going to say, ‘I think that your birth mother might have thought that she met you.'” I go on, “How do you get him to go?”
She goes, “Well, I’ll just say, she was at Pitch last night or something like that.” Because then, he’s going to be like, “Wait a minute. I might have waited on her or seen her or something”. Something to catch his attention. I thought that was a good plan.
Then, she also told me too that, men tend to search for their birth parents, if they search at all, not until their 40s or 50s. Where women, right of the bat, 18, they want to search. They want to know who they came from, what they look like. Women are more into that.
I was like, “Well, he may never want to search.”
Tom: They get awkward when you go into Pitch.
Tom: At this point then, how do you get him to make a phone call or do ask question about it?
Andrea: The agency sent him a letter, asking him to contact the office. He ended up telling my husband about this letter.
Tom: Oh, jees.
Andrea: We waited, and we waited for him to call, and we waited for him to call.
Drew: I put it up on my refrigerator. I was like, “OK.” Because it didn’t say who was trying to contact you, because they can’t say. It’s confidential information. I’m sitting there. It could have been anybody — it could have been a cousin, a grandma, it could have been, who knows?
I thought it was neat that someone was trying to reach out to me, but, like I said, I didn’t know if I was quite ready to take that next step.
I told him about the letter and then…
Tom: Were you talking to your mom about this yet? Your mom was saying about…
Drew: I did. She lived in Hawaii at that time, so a little long distance there. I gave her a call and let her know what was going on. She said, “Oh, that’s really cool.” Because she’s always pushed me to pursue it, anyways. She’s always been super comfortable with it.
She thought it was great news and she’s like, “Yeah, you should do it, if you’re ready to do it.” I just wasn’t quite ready at that time. Little did I know that my friends were the actual people.
Tom: How long was it then before you actually made the call, between the time you got that letter and made the call?
Andrea: It was a month, five, six weeks.
Tom: Five, six weeks? What are you thinking when you make the call? You don’t know who it is, you’re not sure. All your life, you’ve had this wonder about, “Who my mom was?” You’re going to get closer finding out who she is.
What are you thinking when you make this call?
Drew: I actually didn’t even make a call. I never called back the social worker. What actually happened is, I called her one day. I was like, “Hey, let’s go meet up. Hang out for a little bit.” And I started telling her about the letter.
I was like, “Yeah, I got this letter. You know what? I’m going to go and pursue this. This is kind of cool.” Sure enough, she was sitting right across from me. That was the night that I found out.
Andrea: We basically took it upon ourselves, which I don’t know if that’s the correct way to do it or not. He’s 28. We talked about this for a long time.
I didn’t feel like he was ever going to make that phone call, and I told Dave. I said, “I don’t know if I can…We’re going to have to move.” Because I don’t know if I could do this.
The case worker had suggested we stay away from Pitch. We just distance ourselves.
Tom: You said that you gave her problems, say. Andrea, she’s in her 40s. You’re 28, right? You give your phone number to a lot of customers. How did it get to the point where…Did you felt comfortable about just to give her problems and say, “Let’s go out for a drink.”
Drew: They had been coming down there, for about two years before that, so we just got to know each other, anyways. Then I’d go up to Cork & Bottle, they would be up there, and I would talk to them. We would see each other around the neighborhood. I don’t know how the initial phone number swapping happened. I don’t know how it happened.
Tom: Had you made contact like this, in the past? Where you just said, “Hey, let’s go for a drink.” Or was this like unusual for you to call her that night?
Drew: No, not at all. We’ve hung out before. That wasn’t the first time at all.
Andrea: Also, he had told Dave one night, because I work at the Cork & Bottle and I was coming to work. He sat with Dave and he goes, “You know, my birth’s mom name is Andrea. He said that to Dave.
Tom: How do you handle that Dave?
Dave: I can win a lot of poker tournaments with my poker face.
Dave: I was shaking.
Tom: OK. So basically, Drew is the only one that doesn’t know. Have you not told anybody?
Andrea: We told, my mom knew and two other people knew. We had also asked ourselves, “Can we live this lie? If he does make a phone call, like in a year from now, and she puts us all in a room together, and he sees me sitting there, is he going to be angry that I didn’t share this with him? Is he going to be thankful?”
There were so many risks we thought about. We didn’t think it was fair to him. Maybe other people won’t see it that way, but we continued to live a lie because we knew, and he’s 28. It’s not like he’s 16 and you know?
Tom: It wasn’t like you were trying to force your way into his life or anything?
Andrea: No. I told him, “We will move. If you don’t want anything to do with us, we will go away.”
Tom: OK. You’re having a break. You made the comment. You said “I got this letter”. Andrea says, “Are you going to call?” You say, “Yes.”
That’s like your green light to say, “Well, he’s given permission, for me to spring this on him.”
Tom: OK. So you spring it on him?
Andrea: Yeah. He was in shock. You were…
Drew: It was later that night, because we ended up going back to their house. We’re hanging out there and we’re in the…
Andrea: We’re in the backyard.
Drew: …patio. Then she opened up this photo album, and she started crying. I was like, “Oh, God. Am I in trouble or something?”
Then she gets to this picture, it’s of a bear that she gave me when I was born. It’s down in my mom’s storage room, right now. I was like, “Wait a minute. I know that bear from somewhere.” Then I looked up, and sure enough they’re crying.
I’m like, “Wow, this is really happening, right now.”
Drew: We were friends before and then we just became family. This situation was a lot easier for me, because I already knew them. It wasn’t like everything was just sprung on me. I already knew about them. I don’t know. It worked out in a good way.
Andrea: Drew handled it, perfectly. In my mind, he’s always been very good about it. He’s a good soul so…
Drew: There were some days, when the dust settled, a couple of weeks after. I was like, “Whoa. That really just happened.” Then you start thinking about things and it’s like, “Is this too much?” Then I think about how she’s thinking too. It’s not just about me. She plays just a big part as I do. I don’t know. A lot to go through your mind.
Tom: One thing going through your mind is, the things that a bartender might tell a customer, might not be the same things that a kid would tell his mom. [laughs]
Drew: Yeah. They know too much.
Drew: Yes, there had probably been some things I shared, that I wish I probably hadn’t.
Dave: We’ve tried to forget a few things.
Tom: All of a sudden, you’ve got to go and tell your mom now right?
Tom: That’s another issue. You’ve told Drew. You’ve all got together. You become this automatic family, to speak. Yet, you’re not really a family. Drew now has to go and tell his mom.
Fortunately, you said your mom has been very open and willing to discuss this and everything. Was it difficult to make that phone call? To say, “Mom, guess who I met?”
Drew: Yeah, it was, actually. I was excited about doing it, but I was worried about how she was going to feel.
[coughs] Excuse me.
I called her. She was still living in Hawaii at that time. I made the call the next day. I talked to her, for about 20 minutes, about it, and she seemed like she was really cool with it. But, I’m sure, after she hung up, my step-dad later told me she had a moment with it. But, she has been waiting her whole life for that day, too.
Tom: Has it changed your relationship with your mom and your step-dad?
Drew: Absolutely not. If anything, I think, it’s made it better, to be honest. There was that little dark spot in my life that I never knew about, then now it’s completed. Everybody knows about it.
Andrea: The next day, after we told Drew, we went to Drew’s house, and he pulled out a folder that his mom had been saving for him with pictures of me.
I gave him a high school picture of me, wrote him a letter. He pulled out the folder and there was my high school senior picture. I was like, “What if he would have come home one night after working and decided to look at it?” It would have been like, “That’s Andrea!”
Drew: I know that lady, from somewhere. It sure looks a lot like Andrea.
Tom: Yeah. Hey, wait a minute. Yeah. But there never really was any suspicion on your part that Andrea was…There would be no reason to be.
Drew: No, not at all. I had no idea.
Tom: All right. This happened about a year ago or so, a little over a year ago. What’s the last year been like?
Andrea: I’ve definitely had ups and downs, and I think we all have. It’s been great. Drew handled this like a champion. He’s a very open person. He puts it all out there, and that’s what I love about him. But I’m not so much that way. When he first started telling people, I was like, “Whoa. Give me a day or two, because there are some people I want to tell myself. I don’t want them to hear it from somebody else.”
Tom: People that don’t know this neighborhood.
Tom: It’s a very close-knit neighborhood, so word on the street comes out on something like this. It’s going to spread like wildfire.
Andrea: I was very proud of it, because he wanted to tell the world at that point. I was really happy about it. But yeah, I had to also. We’re opposite in that way. I can’t speak for him, but it’s been a great year. I’m glad now that it has been a year, because you learn boundaries. You just get to know each other.
At first, I just wanted every ounce of every second I could possibly spend with him, but I knew I couldn’t do that, either.
Drew: Yeah, then she got tired of me.
Tom: What about you, though? Now, you want to spend every moment that you can with her? How did you feel during this year?
Drew: It was one of the reasons I moved down here. Because I used to live out West. I moved down to 49 Chicago. It was close by them, so I can see them pretty much, whenever. Like she was saying, it’s a good opportunity to get to know each other and take it to the next step, and see where it goes, I guess.
Tom: OK. What would you say to anybody listening to this right now? Andrea, what would you say to any woman who has given her child up for adoption? What would you want them to know about this whole experience?
Andrea: I know for most people, probably, it’s not something you ever forget about — whether you want to talk about it or not. Like I said, the biggest concern was that he was happy and healthy and alive. Now, I can honestly say, “He is, yes.” I got to see that, and that’s a gift. Not many people get to have that gift.
There are probably a lot of birth parents that search for their kids, and they never hear a word, so they never know. It’s like you don’t have any closure. That’s what I would say the most about what’s an amazing gift, just to have him in our lives, even if we just saw him once a month.
Tom: What about you, Drew? What you say to some kid who was adopted? This experience, what has it been for you?
Drew: Actually, about a couple of weeks after we had found out officially, a gentleman approached me at the Cork & Bottle, and asked me, “I’ve been wanting to pursue finding my mom, but I don’t know if I’m quite comfortable with this. How are you doing with it?” I told him the whole story and the situation.
I said, “I’m lucky how I fell into it. Obviously, it’s a little different for you. But if you really want to know, man, go for it. What have you got to lose? I would want to know, but that’s just me.”
Tom: You wanted to know, but I was just thinking about this. You had all these feelings about, “What if he doesn’t want to?” All these feelings. “How do we handle this? What’s the reaction going to be? How is he going to react to me?” All those fears before you told him. Did you ever have any fears about, “What if I want to go and try to find my mom, and she doesn’t want to see me?” Ever have any fears, or anything like that?
Drew: It crossed my mind, because, I know, it’s happened to people in the past — stories that I’ve heard. But I don’t know. You stay optimistic. Like I say, “What have you got to lose? Go for it, and if she doesn’t want anything to do with you, so be it.” I have my mom now. She’d taken care of me my whole life. I love her to death. She’s my best friend.
Tom: Yeah, because like you said. Has that changed your relationship with your adopted mom who adopted you?
Drew: Not at all, yeah.
Tom: The mom that adopted you. You’ve all gotten together now, a few times, right?
Andrea: Yeah, a couple of times. I let them all tell me what they want to do. It takes time for people.
Drew: It’s kind of baby steps, you know?
Tom: A couple of weeks ago, you met Andrea’s mom, you met your grandmother for the first time.
Tom: What was that like?
Drew: She’s a very interesting woman.
Drew: She’s really, really nice. It was very cool to meet her. I met her dad last Christmas, and her brother, so that was pretty cool. So, just slowly meeting all these new people that you’re blood related to, I guess. It’s cool.
Tom: But you have not yet met your birth dad?
Tom: Why not?
Drew: Well, we don’t technically know his whereabouts, right?
Andrea: No, but I don’t think it would be hard to find out.
Drew: Right. It’s something we’ve talked about. But it’s only been a year, and I’ve just met all her side of the family and everything. She’s just met my mom and step-dad here, fairly recently.
Tom: So, baby steps along the way?
Drew: Sure. I’m sure, one day, we’ll do it. But she’s got to be comfortable with it, as well. If she is, that’s cool.
Tom: [chuckles] OK. Does Drew look like…?
Andrea: Oh, yeah. He looks like his…
Tom: Like his dad?
Andrea: …father. Yeah.
Drew: It’s kind of scary, actually.
Tom: Well, there you have it, another edition of TomBecka.com. An amazing story, fascinating story, and all true. It makes you wonder sometimes about the cosmos. Was it just coincidence or fate? That Andrea and Drew got reacquainted, and the way they did get reacquainted.
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