“My Gutsy Story” by Siv Maria Ottem

My story starts 35 years ago after I had given my son up for adoption. The years in between then and now have left me searching for part of an empty hole in my heart. I tried to fill this empty hole with something else or someone else over and over again. The pain of such loss never goes away no matter how hard you try to replace or ignore it. It is true that the heart can be broken and the soul can be ripped in two and torn. When I left my newborn son in the arms of a stranger I could only hope that the choices others made for me were the right ones. His tiny fingers curled around mine for one last time and holding my breath, I tried to hold back the tears and failed. I learned then that common sense can be cruel. I tried not to look back as I left the hospital but I realize now that I have never stopped.

Years went by and time healed many scars. Yet, every now and then a small blond haired boy, a certain song, or a faint smell of something familiar would open that scar causing me to bleed again. That is when I would climb into that empty hole and realize just how alone I was. Lucky for me there has always been someone there to help pull me out again.

Fate had been kind to me. I had 3 beautiful and healthy children as well as a loving husband.  The little blond haired boy had become a man. The song was all but forgotten, yet there was still a faint smell of something familiar that hung in the air. I tried not to dwell on this. I stopped myself whenever I started to wonder where he was, what he was doing and if he was happy.

On the other side of the world there was a young man who also felt a missing part of his life. His search for me began years ago while his parents were still alive. He never gave up hope, and he never stopped trying. Armed with just the name of an Adoption Agency and a helpful social worker his search was made easier because of Facebook.  One year ago on May 10th, 2011 that social worker found me, contacted me and put the two of us in touch with each other.

 

Siv Maria Ottem and her son

Our first meeting at the airport on my birthday, October 9, 2011

May happens to be an amazing month for me. Do you have a certain month where for some unexplained reason, life grabs you and makes you pay attention? May is that month for me. Maybe my mother, who was born in May, genetically imprinted this month for future events into my DNA. I married my husband in May, my youngest son was born in May, and two children who were lost to me found me once again, in the month of May. Two years ago on May 12th my daughter, who I lost through a messy divorce years ago, found me on Facebook. You cannot possibly imagine the effect this has had on my life and the life of my family. In one year, I gained two more children, two grandchildren, a son in law and various new friends including the estranged father of my first son (who I found on Facebook). My husband became a step-father, my mother a great grandmother, and all my children gained more siblings. My son, who lost both his adoptive parents and had no siblings, suddenly had a huge family with grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins. I often think how overwhelming this must be for him, and how many more surprises are still in store for all of us.

Siv Maria Ottem and her adult children

The three of us, once lost then found

My youngest daughter traveled to the states last summer from Norway to meet both her sister and older brother for the first time. I traveled there soon after and got to spend time with both of them; I also got to meet my grandchildren for the first time. There have been a lot of first times for everyone and this summer there will be even more. My son is coming to visit us and finally meet more members of his family.

We all connected through Facebook and keep in touch using Skype. My son learned a lot about me before we even had the chance to talk. He found my blog “Been there, done that” on Facebook, went there and read all about me and my life. Questions he has asked himself his entire life were answered in one tiny corner of cyberspace called “Blogger”.

One year ago I got out of bed and started the day with ordinary expectations. When I went to bed the night he found me, I realized that my expectations would never be ordinary again. How could they be? In one year I had given birth to two grown children, and the funny thing is … No matter how grown up they may be, they still feel like— my babies to me.

All of us can get lost, but thankfully we can also be found.

Siv Maria Ottem Bio:

After living abroad for over 20 years I still feel American, and although I am over 50 I still feel like a teen-ager. What started out as a messy divorce, led to a vacation and turned into a new life.  After my vacation, I returned to Minnesota, packed my bags and moved to Norway. Working mostly in the travel or health industry, my passion has always been writing. Living here among Trolls has inspired me to write about them, and the culture surrounding them. Currently I am working on a fantasy novel about a young woman who discovers a secret that throws her into a world of “Gods and Fairy tales.” One of my short stories should be published in a fantasy anthology this fall.

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Sonia Says:

What a beautiful story with such a happy ending. What amazes me is how Facebook has connected so many people who may never have found each other. Thanks for sharing your personal story which offers hope to those searching for relatives or their adoptive parents.

Comments (30)

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  1. Siv Maria says:

    Thank you for sharing my story Sonia. I started out skeptical to Facebook and now when anyone tries to tell me that it is just a place for games, I tell them it is so much more. Goes to show you how small this world has really become. There is no such thing any more as a simple mail box or telephone.
    Siv Maria recently posted..Special Guest-Girl in a Red CapMy Profile

    • Sonia Marsh says:

      Siv, So glad you submitted your story of hope and reconnecting with your son after 35 years. I’m sitting at Charles de Gaulle airport and had to check.

  2. Joy says:

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing. Everything truly is possible when we believe it to be 🙂

  3. Dear Siv, Thank you for sharing your beautiful, heartwarming story! It reminds me that no matter how lost or distraught we may be, we should never give up. When we share how the power of hope works like you have, we are all inspired and enriched. Your happy ending with your beautiful ” babies” says it all- dreams really do come true for those who believe. Lovely!
    Kathleen Pooler recently posted..Who is the Target Audience for My Memoir?My Profile

  4. Nikki says:

    I can ‘t imagine having any of my family members missing for such a long time. It must have been so hard and I am so glad it worked out in the end.
    I like being able to catch up with friends and family on Facebook and see their updated photos. It is good to know Facebook can be even more useful.
    Nikki recently posted..You’re Not Normal!My Profile

  5. Siv Maria says:

    Thank you for the comments, It is nice to know that others are listening 🙂
    Siv Maria recently posted..SecretsMy Profile

  6. Melynda says:

    Woman I loved following your journey the first time around and it is just as sweet this time! Love you lady and I’m glad those holes have finally been filled.

    • Siv Maria says:

      Thank you Melynda, your support has always been important to me! All this happening in one year might seem like a dream come true but it has been a lot to handle. Sharing with good friends like you make it easier.
      Siv Maria recently posted..SecretsMy Profile

  7. Whoa, Sis,

    I knew your story, but I never knew all this took place in one year! I am surprised you are not dizzy from this whirlwind.

    No one could be more happier for you than me… you also found a cyber brother too! What a wonderful year for making family/friend connections. I know I am very thankful that we found each other.

    ALL THE BEST this MAY…

    always, yours,

    Bro
    MICHAEL DI GESU recently posted..SLIPSTREAM BLOG HOP! WELCOME FRIENDS OF MICHAEL OFFUTT …My Profile

  8. Geoff says:

    It has been a wonderful year since I found her. I can’t wait to come visit Norway. Love you lots, mom.

  9. Laura says:

    Thanks for sharing this surprised you are not dizzy from this whirlwind.I cant wait to read your blog again..
    Laura recently posted..Die moderne Architektur – EDV-gestütze FormfindungMy Profile

  10. You sound so happy! Your story reads like a novel; it’s wonderful. Well, they do say that life can be stranger (more exciting, more interesting) than fiction.
    Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane recently posted..Life Abroad: Riot on a Turkish BusMy Profile

  11. Siv Maria says:

    Miss Footloose and I guess fanty free? Yes, I see the correction—I know that I am missing something! Thank you!
    Siv Maria recently posted..Eye Spy!My Profile

  12. Lady Fi says:

    What an amazing story. So glad it had a happy ending for everyone involved.
    Lady Fi recently posted..Looking for rainbowsMy Profile

  13. Penelope J. says:

    Lovely, heartwarming story. Who would have imagined, when you gave up your son for adoption, that you would be able to find him again using a technology that had not yet been invented? Thanks for sharing such a deeply personal story with us.
    Penelope J. recently posted..Never Give Up on Your DreamMy Profile

  14. Es Goodman says:

    Awesome story, wonderful events. I also love the month of May. My 2 favorite women were born in that month, right around Mother’s Day.
    The POWER of Facebook if used the right way, is amazing. I found out so much of my mother’s past thru FB.
    Thanks for sharing…

    Es

  15. What a lucky boy your son is–adoptive parents and then birth mother and a whole family. Your intention and his worked on the universe. So happy for all of you.

    We should talk! Fantasy embedded in fairytale and gods is what my two Y/A books are about. Fun to mix this world with that.
    Marcia J. Sargent recently posted..Expect the Unexpected Part 2: Flight SuitsMy Profile