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Denise's Story, Con't.....

Day of Discovery and Jubilation...

Two weeks later, on 6 September 1996, I came home for my lunch hour, glanced in the mailbox and discovered the packet had arrived from Glo. That day was to become a *day of discovery*. I immediately secluded myself on the backyard deck and went through the 50+ papers, holding each one up to the bright sunlight to see if I could *read* anything through the blackened-out areas... nothing... not one thing. I shuffled through each page, one at a time, hoping a small clue would be revealed. I only had a few papers remaining. please, dear God, let me find something... anything…three papers to go... two... wait! What's this? There's one sentence here that I can make out a few of the letters. It looks like it could be a name... D-v-d. oh my God, that must be part of davy's name because glo said his middle name is david. What's the name next to it? S----dt. I went and got a magnifying glass. That helped a little. I turned it around to the light again and continued to work out the letters in the name area. I inserted another two letters that appeared to fit, *ch*. Now I had Schm--t. What name could it possibly represent? Of course..., Schmidt! i say that with such a sense of authority, when in actuality, i was only hoping it would be as simple a solution as that... I then realized I could make out a year. Well, it HAD to be 1972, that was a given. Oh, there's more... February 9th, 1972, now we're getting somewhere! What was in front of the name? M--... Mac? Max? I gave up on that area because it became too frustrating. Besides, it was almost 1:00 pm and I really needed to get back to work.

I reluctantly walked out to the driveway, got in my car and drove the three and one half blocks back to the newspaper where I worked. Upon entering the building, I walked quickly through the composition department to get to my desk in the Advertising department, and as I was walking by, I observed the light tables and wondered if placing the adoption paper on the light table would give me a better view of the letters I was attempting to decipher. Hmmmmmmm, I thought, I'll have to try that out.

I sat down at my desk and felt my heart beating wildly, thinking, how can I just sit here and not 'attempt' another try at sorting out the letters? I walked over to the desk of my co-worker, Jill, and sat down in her visitor chair. Jill is always up for a good mystery, so I knew she be intrigued with my question. jill, take a look at this paper and tell me if you can make out any of those letters… ok?" She tackled it immediately, and after I briefly explained the paper and what my discoveries were she nodded her head in agreement about the name looking like it was *Schmidt* Another co-worker, Debbie, walked by and noticed the puzzled expressions on our faces, so we filled her in a bit, and she asked, "Well, I agree about the name of *Schmidt*, but what about the first part of the sentence? Have you figured out any of those words? well, no, not yet...

Debbie responded, "Well, let's go back and put the paper on the light table and see what we can figure out." Debbie and I proceeded to the composition department and placed the paper on the glass surface of the light table. Debbie bent over to get a closer look and examined the letters one by one. 'T-- --b- w-- ad---ed by M-- a-- M--- David Schmidt -- February 9th, 1972'. The more we worked on it, the more the letters began to fall into a logical sequence. We finally ended up with a full sentence. 'The baby was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. David Schmidt on February 9th, 1972' oh my God, i've got the adoptive father's name to work with now. dearest debbie... there are no words that correctly describe my appreciation of your interest and ingenuity in deciphering these words... a simple *thank you* doesn't represent my feelings of deep appreciation and gratitude.... you, though, will always have a special place in my heart...

By the time I left the Composition Department, it was only 1:15 pm and the end of the work day couldn't come soon enough. I wanted to take my discovery, go home and give my total concentration to the next step... finding the correct phone number for David Schmidt who, hopefully, still lived in southern Michigan.

At 5PM, I carefully, but quickly, drove out of the parking lot, got home in 1 minute flat and headed for my computer room and shut the door behind me for privacy. I stepped over to the computer, sat down and pulled out the Michigan disc from the "Pro-Phone CD" computer program. (the program contains all of the listed residential numbers in the United States) I placed the name of David Schmidt into the search field and 53 names came up on my screen. 53!!!! Good grief... I need to form a plan of attack and get myself organized here. I needed time to think... OK, let's see. I need to start with southern Michigan locations, so through a process of elimination, I deleted every name with a location north and west of Ann Arbor. Let's see, I can't imagine anybody 'choosing' to live in the Detroit area, so on a gut feeling, I'll delete everyone living east of Ann Arbor, too. That narrowed it down to about 10 names that were located between Toledo, Ohio [where this all began] and Ann Arbor, MI. I started with a town just 4 miles north of Toledo called Temperance, MI. I wrote a few sentences down on a small piece of paper, so I could practice what I was going to say. The more I practiced, the faster my heart started to pound. (I was trying to convince myself that it was a just a phone call. A phone call. A simple phone call that could only possibly change the rest of my life.) Let's face it, I was terrified but I forced myself to continue. So, with my heart pounding in my chest and my thoughts stumbling over the practiced words, I punched in the phone number... and it began to ring. A female voice answered "hello", and my voice cracked out the words in a weak, frightened voice, heh-heh-hello, my name is denise frederick and i'm searching for my son that i gave up for adoption, do you happen to have a 24-year-old adopted son?... that first phone call turned out to be the wrong family, however, the lady that answered said, "I wish you the best of everything in finding your son, dear... good luck, honey". To say I was disappointed was an understatement, but then again, I reflected about her sentiment here's a total stranger offering me encouragement... how thoughtful of her! Somehow, it made me feel stronger with her reassuring words of optimism and support, so with a renewed enthusiasm, I proceeded forward with the next call.

Interruptions. Lots of interruptions. I tried to make another call, but realized it was time to prepare dinner. A while later my plans for making another phone call were interrupted by a visit from my good friend & neighbor, Chet. Once I filled him in on what had transpired earlier in the day, Chet gave me several logical suggestions on how to proceed with my quest. I finished my conversation with Chet and a short while later, I proceeded to punch in the next number on my list and glanced at the clock. 10:30 pm. Darn! Too late to initiate another phone call, and I thought, as much as I don't want to stop, it's too late to make another phone call this evening. i'll start again in the morning and see what tomorrow brings.

On Saturday morning, 7 September 1996, I accessed the internet and pulled up the Pro Phone program that was online. The same 53 names came up on the screen. I'll try the next three locations north of Temperance, call those numbers and then proceed on to the next group of three numbers. The first phone call that morning brought the same results as the phone call from the night before. Wrong family but sincere well wishes for success in a reunion. The second call resulted in a disconnected line. Number three, coming up... I dialed a number whose location was 12 miles north of Toledo, in Petersburg, MI. One, two, three rings. Four, five, should I hang up, or continue to let it ring? Six... wait... finally, someone is answering the phone... A male voice asked, "Hello?" hello, my name is denise frederick and i'm searching for my son that i gave up for adoption, do you happen to have a 24-year-old adopted son?. Answering with a catch in his voice, David Schmidt softly replied, "Yes..." january 24th? Crying openly now, Dave choked out a quiet, "Yes..." I fired back 2 more questions very quickly. (I was afraid he would hang up if I spoke too slowly…) is he ok? is he healthy? He responded softly, again, "Yes, yes he's fine..." At that moment, the realization of what I was doing broke my resolve, and I, too, began to cry from the depths of my soul. i've found him, this is too fast, i wasn't' prepared for a 'yes' answer, oh my God... i've found him... i've found my son. In the background I heard a frightened female voice ask, "Dave, what's wrong? Is it one of the kids? Is it Kevin"? Dave replied to her, "No, it's Kevin's mom". I was told later that a quizzical expression crossed Ruth Schmidt's face and Dave rephrased his response to her, "It's Kevin's birth mom"! Ruth rushed right over, grabbed the phone from Dave and asked me, "What's your name"? In a voice filled with emotion, I replied, denise... Crying through her tears, Ruth responded, "Oh, thank you, thank you, so much for sharing your son with us, he has been such a joy. I've known all along that you wanted to find him and I've been waiting for your phone call to say 'Thank you', to you. Thank you for giving us the privilege of raising Kevin". kevin... my son's name is kevin... kevin david schmidt

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This page was created 19 Jan 1997 and update 6 Oct 2005
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