Linda's Story

[This introduction, written in 2000, is now obsolete, but left as a trail so you can know Linda's willingness to let others learn from her story, warts and all. An update follows.]

Welcome to Linda's Story. Linda is a birthmother who has gone through some spectacular ups and downs in her life, and much of her life has been colored by her adoption experience.

As her friend (and I am only one of many) I've been with her when the world got black and the regrets floated to the top of her mind... regrets about disappointing her parents, about losing her twin sons to adoption, and regrets about how the latter part of reunion might have been better. I'll leave that last part for her to tell some day.

In one of her darker times, I asked Linda, "Your story is so mixed with highs and lows... for all that you have been through, good and bad, how would you summarize your story for others?" I expected a paragraph, and should have known better.

As a response, she sent me the following in 2000 with the offer to share with anyone who wished to read it. It is highly personal and of some length but she was happy to see it go on the Internet, in fact, she said she'd written in installments, over time, for her own edification, but had shared it with a few people to use on their sites. She did not say it was a cautionary tale nor a tale of triumph, just that it was hers.

Thank you, Linda.

Nedstat Counter

I was not that bad of a person, in 1968, I was kind of in a limbo world, my father was disabled, and there were eight of us children. As each one of approached the age to go out to work to help support the family,we did so, unconditionally.

When we did get to vacation, we went to Wildwood, N.J. My parents had friends who lived not too far from where we rented. I was crazy about one of their sons, who was the same age as I. Well, Bill was going to Vietnam, and his parents had a dinner for him the night before he left. After dinner, Bill and I went for a ride, parked in a moonlit drive, and got carried away.

Three months later, I knew something was wrong, my mother took me to the doctors, and I was pregnant. My father was horrified. This didn't happen in his family. So, my mom went off in search for a home for unwed mothers, we went to a few, and selected the Booth Home for Unwed Mothers, run by the Salvation Army.

I went there in June, 1969 to stay for the duration of my pregnancy. It was instilled in all of us girls that that was why we were there, to give birth, and to give the baby up for adoption to a family who could have no children of their own. We were Vessels! We were in a make-believe world, talked about everything but the child we were carrying. There were no ultrasounds in 1969. In August, I developed pre-eclampsia, and had to live on the medical floor for the duration of my pregnancy, however, the doctor knew something was up... she ordered an x-ray, and to the surprise of myself and all concerned, I was having TWINS! I somehow thought that this would change my parents' minds about giving the babies up for adoption, but was dismayed to learn that it didn't change a thing, only made matters worse!

After 36 hours of labor, with no anesthesia, my sons were both born breech. The pain was unbearable. Little did I know the pain would only get worse, and turn my life into a roller coaster of ups and downs. I got to hold the babies just one time, to look into their sweet faces, and tell them that I loved them, and was doing what was best for them. The minute that they took the babies away, a part of me turned to stone. I blocked everything out. I was depressed, I was alone, I had nothing. The birth father didn't want anything to do with me, after all, he "hardly knew me". He had twins in his family, two sets, actually.

As I had disgraced my family, I had no home to go to. I remember when I had to leave Booth, I only remember leaving, getting on a bus, and going to the local YMCA for a room. It was a living nightmare, one I will never fully recover from. It was as though I was living in a limbo, angry for having my sons taken from me, resentful because I had to live in a 4X6 room, in downtown Philadelphia, scared, I shut down. I got involved with the wrong people, and I ended up being found on a bus, all alone, and sick, having taken some kind of drug.

The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital with my father and mother looking down at me with such disgust in their eyes, I was really messing up. My father put me into a mental hospital to get help. Help, from what? Myself? Those days were the hardest. The adoption agency was so kind as to pick me up from the mental hospital and drive me into town to the court hearing, and have me sign the relinquishment papers... I really don't have too much memory of it, as I was on some kind of tranquilizer. I don't even remember anyone being kind to me, or offering me help. The social worker drove me back to the mental hospital. My older sister felt sorry for me, and allowed me to come and live with her. I did, got a job, and went on with my life... or so I thought.

My father was very ill, and as he lay dying, we all had a moment with him, to hear his last wishes, his wish for me was to find a man, settle down, and not to be a burden on my mother. So, I did just that, married the first guy who I was attracted to. I knew I was not a whole person, knew I would never be. My father died that year, in April 1971, I got married in June, 1971, because I could do this for my father.

When I told my husband about the twins, he was understanding, and thought it was a novel thing to have happened. By now the twins were 2 years old. My husband wanted to go to court to get the twins back. He wanted to get a lawyer, and say that I was incompetent to sign any relinquishment papers. Imagine his dismay when I said "NO". He couldn't understand my position, saying that it just was not right to take the boys from the only parents they knew, and from the parents who came to love them. That was a decision I made for the second time, I came more to "like" myself, and to be a little less hard on myself. Not so for my husband. He said I was cold and heartless, and I was making a mistake. I said, "So be it, I will not take those babies from their parents." I went on to have 2 daughters, in 1972 and 1976, but there was a part of me that I could never let anyone touch, it was a hole in my heart, for the sons I bore and gave up. Did I make the right decision? On and on, I questioned myself, at the same time trying to be a good mother to the girls God had blessed me with.

Needless to say, the marriage didn't work out, and I was left to raise my two girls alone. Now I had to take action! I had to find strength in my self to get on with my life. I had to survive, and I did. I went back to school and got my GED, went on to nursing school, and made a life for my girls. But the sorrow never went away... friends said I was dwelling on the past, forget it! But, I couldn't, and I still can't. My mother died in 1979, which was the year I left my husband, had a hysterectomy for medical reasons, and struggled to find something to hold onto. I found God, I found my girls, and I found my strength, I was going to be a survivor! Well, I am a survivor, but I am also the natural mother to two sons, I could not forget... how could I forget such a loss?

When the boys turned 18, I started to search for them. I registered with the ISRR, contacted the adoption agency, paid $300.00 of my meager savings, and the result: "Sorry, I can't find your sons". I will find my sons. I am a survivor of the worst atrocity there could ever be, a closed adoption. That's my story.

Each time I tell my story, I cry. I cry for my mother and father, who I disappointed in my teen years, I cry for the sons who I carried and gave life to, I cry for the part of me that could never even allow my daughters in. I cry, but I feel that when I cry, I am cleansing myself, getting all of the "muck" out from deep within my very soul. I was fortunate in having a very wonderful, sensitive therapist, who helped me to put myself back together again. Yes, I am a survivor, and I WILL find my identical twin sons, those precious little babies who I gave to life to, and had to give up because I loved them. I'm sorry if this is too long, but it is my story, my long, painful saga of being a birthmother.

I am a birthmom in search of identical twin sons whose date of birth is 9-1-69 and were born in Booth Maternity Philadelphia, PA.



Today changed things more. It was fantastic, first, a reporter from a local newspaper called me, and he started his interview on the phone... it is going to be on the front page of the paper on 4/22/1999.

He loves my story from the pregnancy to the relinquishment, to the present, including my views on the Uniform Adoption Act and adoption in general! He especially (he said) was intrigued on how I described closed adoption as an atrocity! Now, get this, he wants to put my photo on the front page, to run with the story, AND, guess where we decided to photograph me? In front of the old Booth Maternity home, (which is now owned by St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia on City Line Ave)!

We talked for a long time, and he was particularly interested in my SEARCH! He could not believe the adoption agency has been "searching" for 7 years! Well, now this is the best part... I (being fair and loyal like I am) called the adoption agency and told the social worker about the story... and she freaked! She said, "Did you mention the agency?" and I said, "Yes, I did, it is an integral part of my story", then she said, "Did you give them my name?" and I said, "Why, what's wrong?" She said, "Oh my, I have to talk to the director about this." I said,"Why are you upset? You knew I was going to fight for the rights of the adoptees, I told you that last month." She sounded real nervous, and guess what I said? I said, "Hey, if I found my sons, I wouldn't even do the story" ...AND SHE SAID, "WELL YOU NEVER KNOW! Stranger things have happened!" Those are her words!

Well now, what do you think is up with her, maybe something she is holding from me? Maybe... She said, "Linda, you will hear from me tomorrow or Monday." Now she only works Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays. Is this my miracle?

I came totally out of the closet at work today, considering that the paper will run my story next Wednesday, and these are people that I have worked with for over 11 years, I got so much support, I just couldn't believe it! Women were crying, and hugging me, it was unreal!

Oh, so much has happened, sorry this is so long, just so EXCITED! Wish me luck, all, and burn those candles brightly, cause my third-time set of twins will be the charm! :)


OH PRAISE THE LORD my son called the newspaper today, I just got off the phone with Ronald, his brother is Donald, everything matches, weight, time they were born, Booth, everything. He called me MOM and we are meeting tonight. He lives only 10 MINUTES FROM ME!

I am so HAPPY AND THANKFUL... Ronald said he picked up the paper yesterday and when he saw my picture, he knew! He has been living in California, oh, my we are meeting in 2 hours!

First, thanks to all who have sent their love and support it means the world to me.


Ronald is just beautiful. On a sadder note, Donald was killed in a motorcycle accident May 25, 1990. This is so hard for me. How can I be so happy and so sad at the same time...

Ronald brought his baby book, baby pictures, he is so beautiful, they are identical. He looks just like me! We met at a restaurant, the owners knew him, we had everything on the house, they took pictures of us, Poloroids, so I am looking at us right now.

Ronald is an actor and model. He is doing a screenplay right now, dedicated to his brother... He has so much love in him, he kept hugging me and holding on to me. I was just crying and smiling, it was wonderful. His adopted dad died when they were 14, and he said he never got along with his adopted mom, she moved to Florida after his adopted dad died, and left them with an aunt!

I felt so bad, he comforted ME... he is just awesome! My heart is so happy, and so heavy, Ronald is taking me to the cemetery to Donald's grave, that will be so hard. I am truly blessed... he is wonderful.

I am having a small dinner Sunday with Ronald, his girlfriend, and my girls and their families, and needless to say, they are ecstatic. Then next week he is taking me to meet his aunt, she is the one who had all the info, the birth certificate, all the information. Then, slowly he wants to meet his large new family. I have 7 brothers and sisters, and lots of nieces, nephews.

Ronald is so happy, he said this is the BEST day of his life! Well, ditto for me, I am mourning Donald, so you can understand my heavy heart, taking this all in. When we said goodbye, he hugged and kissed me and called me MOM, said he loves me so much, and thanked me for keeping up the search for him. Will write more tomorrow, I am mentally exhausted, but really happy.


All Ronald kept saying is "unbelievable"! You know, Ronald is still amazed at how fast he found me. He is still amazed that he just came to Philadelphia from California; and never having lived in Philly, he was raised in Ardmore, Pa. He moved to the city he was born in... so many miracles, so many similarities in our lives. It just goes to prove that when the time is right, that it will happen.

Ronald especially is thankful to me is that I never stopped searching... how many times was I ready to? You all who have gone through my journey with me on PAFind and other lists have felt my pain with me, and pushed me on... I don't even have to name you, you all have been with me supported me, and helped me put up the good fight, Ronald is so interested in my internet "family", he is amazed. He also wishes that someone had helped him when he first looked for me at 18, told him how to search, he knew nothing about non-id, internet searching, he said he just kept the faith.

He also said that he always thought about me. What a wonderful son I have! What a wonderful man he is... even with the loss of his identical twin brother, he has so much strength, character, and self-esteem, I am so proud and happy.

Thank you newspaper reporter and the local newspaper AND ALL MY LIST SIBS! Hang in there, NEVER stop... I'm so glad I didn't stop looking! :)


After I spent 4 wonderful, glorious days with my Ronald, I didn't hear from him again. Nothing. I emailed him a few lite "hi" e-cards, and got no response. Well, by now, I was getting upset, because Ronald had not told me where his brother was buried. Plus, that last time I saw Ronald was 4/27. He said he would call me that Sunday! So, as you can imagine, I was losing it.

I called the local newspaper who did the reunion, to ask him if Ronald had given him any details, (maybe stuff I couldn't remember) so the reporter said he would check into finding Donald's obituary and where he was buried well, to make a long story kinda short, the reporter couldn't find Donald in the death index and was upset that I had no answers, so he set out to find Ronald (I had bad feelings about this from the first- always go with your gut instinct, wish I did). Anyhow it was kinda like someone pounding on your door, CALL YOUR MOTHER!

Well, Ronald got mad and things got pretty bad, and now Ronald is not ready for contact. But, I am not worried, I have all the faith in the world... Saturday my daughters and I are going to Donald's gravesite (yep, Ronald gave it to me, said I had the wrong town (not) anyway, I will say farewell to Donald, and know that he is in a better place.

Ronald needs time, he has been alone a long time, and the thoughts of this large, loving family may have been too much for him. However, I told him the misunderstanding with the reporter would not have happened if he had only emailed me and said he didn't want contact right now.

Well, I love him, he loves me, and I have the faith that we will be together again!


Well, I have complete closure. I visited my son, Donald, at his grave yesterday, and although it was very sad, it was comforting to me, to be where my son, Donald is resting along with his adopted father.

The people were very good to me, they are sending me info about Donald, and I now feel as though I have come to the end of a long painful journey. I wish the adopton laws were not as tough as they are, I will continue, wherever I have the chance, to speak out on Open Records for Adult Adoptees. I would not wish this pain and torture for another person.

To all who are still searching, and to those who found, I want to tell you to keep the faith, and whenever possible, speak up about closed adoption. I see hundreds upon hundreds of adoptees searching and birthmothers searching. My wish for the future is that we can make a difference.

Now that my personal journey is over, I will spend my time helping others. That is the reason I share my story with you as it unfolds, to give you all hope, and to know, that even though every story is different, we are all the same.

I am hoping for BIG changes in the future, and 2000 DC rally to be a really BIG event, complete with newspaper coverage, from all over, we CAN make this happen.

I plan on working on Registration Day for ISRR this year, anything that I can do to make a difference, to help someone, in any small way, I will do.

I have come full circle. My journey is complete. I am feeling happy for the first time in almost 30 years.

POSTSCRIPT to above, 5/8/02.

Linda's story, as she wrote it for "public consumption", ends here. She died at home 5/5/02 and we've been told the coroner ruled her death "accidental". She was only 51.

There are those who might say that instability such as Linda suffered from are living proof of why adoption records should be kept sealed, that troubled birthparents should not visit their problems on the offspring they relinquished.

Anyone who knew Linda would disagree. Linda was not a whack-job who blithely got pregnant, signed her boys away, and frivolously came back as part of some romantic saga. She was a fine and compassionate young woman whose remaining life was overshadowed by the shame of her family, the loss of her children, and the state's and adoption agency's lack of cooperation in putting her mind at ease. It was societal judgement, the relinquishment demanded by the time of her teenage pregnancy, and cruel Draconian laws and adoption practices that made her the fragile lady and fighter she had to become. Closed adoption practices made Linda all that she was. Why was truth made so legally evasive? Why is there no humanity in our Pennsylvania laws to give peace to those who give their children, in love, to adoption?

One of the reasons Linda and I bonded was because she and I had the same agency. I was lucky enough when I searched to have a social worker who slipped (still not sure if this was an error or a favor) and told me a county for my b-mom's family (a county I had not checked based on previous bullsh*t they had told my a-parents about where I was supposedly from, central Pennsylvania). I had my birthname but searched pre-computer- I had been manually calling directory assistance all over the state and visiting libraries, so having "Montgomery County" allowed me to find in 3 days or so. Linda was not so lucky as many of you know. I did give her a back door to try but she never told me how it worked out. I do know I thought it was not coincidental that our agency stopped doing searches on behalf of b-moms after her story came out so publicly. And they *should* have been ashamed.

They took her $300 and did not find. But what is infinitely worse is that our agency had a policy that if a birthparent search for an adoptee was being conducted, they considered the *adoptive parents* as their client, not the adopted adult. Thus, rather than look for the adoptee (and her boys would have been legal adults at the time she requested a search) agency policy was to get the consent of the a-parents before contacting the adoptee. (Perhaps this was to cover any a-parents who lied to their kids.) Anyhow, what happened was that the agency could not find the adoptive parents... if memory serves, her boys' a-dad had died and mom had remarried and moved to Florida, and so they had no luck with the a-parents. But did they then try to reach the adult adoptees themselves? Heck no... they allowed their own stupid paternalistic policies to roadblock the search. If they had freaking picked up a suburban phone book Linda's one son was *in it*.

This really sticks in my craw. In 1960 my b-mom had gotten tons of excellent counseling from them (I have the notes from the social worker and recall my b-mom's gratitude to them). In fact, the SW she had later went on to become President of some Philadelphia SW society. And at the time, our agency was considered the "better" agency in this part of the state. Yet this seems to have changed over the following decade. Linda was picked up and dropped off from the mental hospital by her SW to sign the relinquishment papers. How can a consent like that be ethical, let alone, legal?

But it is scary to know she was not alone in this... that birthmothers have been made to sign papers while in labor, or while under the influence of drugs for labor. What more "duress" can there be? Yet as a society, we continue to focus blithely on the happy points of adoption, how the poor childless couple now has a family... and yet while this is good and necessary, we can never forget how those children got to those lucky families. And we can never forget that birthparents are parents, and to expect them to forget, to expect that they want to "hide" is say they have no hearts. Laws that assume birthparents want every trace of connection to their kin to be swept under the rug does a huge disservice to the birthparents who ache like any parent, to know their child is all right. But Linda would never have asked for so much herself, she would have asked only that her sons have the choice to know the truth, whether they chose to know her or not.

I don't need complete confirmation of how Linda passed on to know how much the loss of her sons and the effects of that governed the remainder of her life. I concur with many that the closed system with its inherent denial of what is truly being done, along with shame, secrecy and lack of honesty holds the bag for our loss of Linda, and made her life unbearable.

Linda Susan Hurd, 1950 - 2002.
Rest in peace.

Remembering Linda

From her online "Bud", Pat Zimmer:

Pass it on if you like, Sue. I'd like for everyone to know what a wonderful person Linda was. :)

As I write this, I’m still in a state of shock hearing about Linda’s death. Linda was, besides being my friend, a loving mother, grandmother, a caring and compassionate woman, and an adoption reform activist. She was forever involved in writing letters to state representatives, congressmen, senators, newspapers, television shows, and anyone who would listen to OUR stories. She cared not only for herself, but also, for other members of the Triad. She was always willing to lend a helping hand with a search, an ear when one needed to talk, or to provide whatever assistance she could without so much as a second thought.

Linda and I met in 1999 while on the searching list of the Sunflowers Birth Mom Support Group, found our bsons around the same time, relished in each others finds, cried together when things weren’t going so well in our lives, laughed immensely at stupid little things together, and loved each other as sisters would. In reality, that’s exactly what we were (are)… sisters… brought together by chance, and by a society who decided that we should not be allowed to nurture, care for and love the children we gave birth to so many years ago.

In May of 2000, I was privileged to be able to meet Linda face-to-face. I can remember her telling me that her daughter, Missy, said to her… “Are you sure you really want to go to Florida? Maybe this Pat person is an ax murderer. You don’t know her!” How funny I found that statement.

But… what a great time we had together during the week she was here in Florida!! We went out to dinner, walked the beaches, swam and sunned ourselves at the pool where I live, bought gifts for her grandchildren together, and while she was here she finally mastered WebTV cut and paste! She was so proud of herself.

By the time she left Florida she was relaxed, sunburned and happy. We learned more about each other in the week she was here than I ever thought was possible, and our friendship blossomed into mutual respect and love. From there on out, we were “Buds” forever.

For a time communication between us came to a standstill. Linda was offline trying to deal with her demons. Demons, which first came into her life when she lost her twin sons to adoption in 1969. Those demons reared their ugly heads time after time during the 2 years I knew her, and Linda tried so desperately to tame them, only to have them sneak up behind her and slap her upside the head again and again.

When the demons tried to take over, Linda would email or phone me, and I would slowly, but surely, be able to talk her down from the ceiling. It took time, but I loved my friend, and if it took years, I would have been there to help her.

The last time I ‘spoke’ with Linda was over this past weekend. We emailed back and forth about a trip she was planning to Florida at the end of this month. She was looking forward to getting away, checking into flights and hotels, and I was helping by sending her information. The last email I sent her had “Just…” in the subject line, as I was telling her… “Just make sure you tell me what hotel/motel you decide on, so I can make sure it’s in a safe area.” I was worried about her. But, I had no clue that my worry should have been in other areas… not a hotel/motel room.

Linda had recently gotten a kitten, was thrilled with her temperament, told me what a ‘lover’ this kitten was, how she purred all of the time, and what great company she was for a woman living alone. Linda seemed so happy to me, that I wasn’t worried about her. I guess I should have looked closer. She was on a manic high, ready to crash at any moment. If I only knew…

Her daughter, Missy, told a friend that Linda’s death has been deemed ‘accidental’. I personally do not concur with this. Adoption and the demons brought forth by the loss of Linda’s twin sons, the self-hatred involved, depression, social workers, unwed mothers’ homes and society are to blame for Linda’s death. And, we all have to continue to fight for what Linda wholeheartedly believed in… OPENING RECORDS FOR ADULT ADOPTEES and CHANGING THE LAWS IN EACH AND EVERY STATE AND COUNTRY WITH REGARDS TO ADOPTION. We can’t afford lose another sister, mother, friend, aunt, grandmother… we’ve lost too much already.

~Pat :-D)
Manning's Mom


From me (Sue) to listsibs on PAFind:

Hi Guys-

The longer-term listsibs on PAFind remember Linda as She made a lot of friends here and I hope you all are doing as ok as possible with this very sad news.

Linda was a friend to anyone who wanted to be her friend. I had the pleasure of marching with her in the DC adoption march in 1999 and she was amusing yet deep company. I don't think I've ever met anyone more complex! As I got to know her more, she was by turns, funny, exasperating, sweet, and almost always insightful. She was a fighter, not just in adoption and search, but in her personal life as well.

When I think of Linda, I remember the recipes she fired off to me when I married a vegetarian. And when I met her she had these very foxy modeling shots of her son (not being salacious- they were underwear ads!) that she was so proud of.

Linda's picture and search were featured in the Frank Lewis article we did with other listsibs in City Paper. (Unfortunately it seems City Paper has removed her online photos but I am told by Frank they may be restored soon.) If you'd like to read her part of the story, it's here. Linda found her son because he saw the article and responded to the author... unfortunately Linda's other twin son had died in a motorcycle accident years before. While the path of her reunion was not smooth, she always told me she was still glad to have gotten her truth.

I heard from Linda only this past week, and as for all of us, this is going to take some digesting. I know she will be missed. Prayers said here.




From Ann Wilmer, GRC National Coordinator, to PAFind:

Her reunion was not a happy one, largely because the twins were placed in a bad situation by the adoption agency. But although Linda had a number of health issues, I think she was really her old self as recently as last week when we made plans for her to come down on May 25 and spend a day with me doing "girl" stuff.

Over the years I have known Linda, we became very good friends and close confidants. Even when she was out of the loop and off-list, we kept in touch, sometimes talking on the phone about the despair that she felt. She was also there for me -- a good listener and an indefatigable cheerleader for whatever I was trying in my 19-year search for my birth family. I am glad that she was able to rejoice with me over recent events in my own search.

She was a wonderful person, a good mother, a good daughter and a good friend. I will miss her terribly.

Linda searched for twins and she found (Ronald) Sean and a grave; now she's with the other twin. That's got to count for something. Somehow I can't believe that the reunion with her other son was anything less than perfect.

Linda's last known website was here.

Return to Pennsylvania Adoption Search Menu here.

City Paper of Philadelphia did 3 stories on Linda-

Her search, week of April 22, 1999
Her reunion, week of April 29, 1999
Follow-up, week of December 23, 1999

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