Reason Enough

By Sherrie Weller

February 28, 2022

Reason Enough

A friend and I are at happy hour. Icy doubles swim in glasses before us. Recently discovered: We are both adopted. Blooming: An intimacy unwarranted by the length of time we’ve known each other. I describe growing up with an identical twin, wondering about our birthmother. Ask if she has done a search.

She tells me she lied to the Catholic Diocese in St. Paul, conjured a research paper on matrilineal genealogy for class at the University of Minnesota, gained access to the 1965 baptismal records on microfiche. She found her birthparents’ names, looked them up in the phone book, made her husband dial the number.

She learned they live nearby, had been juniors in high school, forced to surrender her to save their reputations and their families’. I take pleasure in the successful white lie, knowing the church’s dedication to erasing links between ‘illegitimate’ babies and unwed birthmothers. Sex. Secrets. Silence. Shhhh.

We wade into a lifetime of longing to know their stories as the beginning of ours. Linger on the clawing desire to fill in decades-old blanks. I’m unsettled, sweating like our drinks. I want to search, but worry about hurting my mom, my twin. I say, “I feel guilty, like I need a good reason to search.”

She stares across the booth, says, “The fact is---the heartbeat you heard for the first nine months of your life is different than the one you went home to. Isn’t that reason enough?”


Sherrie Weller's work has appeared in Ms. Magazine blog and Becoming: What Makes a Woman. She earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and currently serves as the Writing Program Director at Loyola University Chicago, and teaches Core Writing and Literature in the English Department.


Picture by Jeremy Bezanger courtesy of Unsplash

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