COVID was a difficult two years. My Kids 4 Kids school year programs and presentations came to an abrupt halt. I was fortunate that I was able to run my summer camps, but not without a lot of restrictions and stress. I thank my incredible summer staff for getting me through the two years of camp. I was able to produce two videos and write two ebooks during COVID.
Every situation has a potentially negative and a positive. What you focus on is what you get more of. During this time something amazing happened. I found my birth mother. I was adopted in 1962 in Dundee, Scotland by Isabel and Bill Graham. My adoptive parents were always open with me but didn’t have a lot of information about my birth parents.
Through Ancestry, I did a DNA test to see if my DNA would be a match with someone in the Ancestry database. I received an email from a woman in Australia who knew someone in Scotland who knew my birth mom. I was later contacted by my birth mother’s cousin, Dezra. Dezra was able to fill in a lot of information about my birth mother and adoption. At the time I found Dezra, I found out my birth mother had just passed away from Dementia. She was living in Minnesota.
My birth mother’s name was Irene Elizabeth Calder from Inverness. My birth father was Sandy Alex Dingwall. My name would have been Alexander Martin Dingwall or Calder. Irene didn’t want to give me up, however, her father just got remarried and was not interested in allowing Irene to have a child. Irene was not married to Sandy. I believe Irene’s father, my grandfather, was an alcoholic and mean man. He had his three daughters taken away from him because he neglected them. Irene travelled to Dundee to a Salvation Army Hostile for Unwed Women. These were set up around Scotland for women who had children out of wedlock.
My adopted parents emigrated to Canada from Perth, Scotland. They heard through the youth pastor of a woman giving up a child in Dundee.
The adoption was arranged and my adopted mother went over to adopt me. Isabel Graham had to keep me in Scotland for six months as the birth mom could change her mind. She didn’t!
Isabel Graham took me back with her to Canada just before my first birthday to meet my adoptive dad, Bill Graham. My adopted parents had tried for children for ten years. Nothing! After my adoption, my two brothers and sister were born.
I found out that my birth mother married twice and never had children. The trauma of giving up a child stopped her from having another child. She never wanted to give me up.
On Monday, June 20th I will be meeting DEZRA in Aviemore, Scotland. I will introduce her to my adoptive dad, which may be emotional. I know my birth dad had recently passed away from Alzheimer’s. He had three daughters who would be my half-sisters. I’m not sure if they were ever told about me; probably not. I would like to know a bit more about my birth dad – did I look like him? Did we have a similar personality?
I’m looking for to meeting my birth relatives. When I last talked to DEZRA she welcomed me home. It’s been too long – 60 years to be exact.
Scott Graham, M.S.M.