Wednesday, December 29, 2021

SIDEROAD: Discovering My Son's Other Father

 I am a proud adoptive mother. My ex-husband and I adopted three amazing kids. My oldest boy, now 31, asked me after last Christmas to help him find his birthfather. It was an open adoption, and we know where his birthmother is, but contact from her has been limited. The birthfather was only a name, and my memory of him as he and she handed their little baby to my ex and I on that life-changing day at the Western mobile home office of the Nebraska Children's Home Society in Bayard, Nebraska on that October day in 1990. I also had a handful of photos the birthmother had provided for my son's photo album.  

The birthfather had a relatively common Hispanic name so I knew I had my work cut out for me.  We had my son's DNA in 23andMe, so I had some helpful hints, but absolutely no context into which to put the information. My search skills are advanced and I also had one other piece of information I remembered from the day we all met - he was moving on to Texas to join the rest of his family who had relocated.  Thirty years though.  Still, what are the chances?

Birthfather with his father and brothers
It took me about a month of sifting and message-sending to various DNA-related people until I got a response from the son of one of the people I'd messaged.  We had a good long talk and he filled me in on the greater family history.  The family was originally located in Neuvo Leon in Mexico. Over time, some folks moved north of the current border of Texas and some did not.  They were all descended from Spanish settlers who settled the area and typically intermarried with other Spaniards and tended to have lighter complexions.  I got a lot more history, but I still was stalled out on the hunt. This cousin providing the information knew of the line I was looking for, but did not know much else. Four months passed with no progress.

Sometimes, I count on what I call my "spidey senses" to figure out a problem. That little signal that shoots through me when I'm sure I'm onto something. One day, while searching the same search terms for the twentieth time, my spidey sense started to tingle.

I ran across an article about a man with the name I was looking for. Then I saw his photo and I saw my son in his face.  That was totally weird.  Let me tell you.

I hunted down an email for his business and sent a short note along with some photos of when the birthfather was a young man. I heard back from his niece, who works for him.  She played go-between for the next few emails. He took a DNA test and all was confirmed. I never spoke to him myself, but was able to connect he and my son and a fledgling relationship began. 

They texted for months. Then birthfather visited. Then a half-brother visited. Then my son and his family went to his half-sister's quinceniera where he met his biological grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and his birthfather's wife. They felt welcomed and loved. Their relationship continues. I am thrilled for him.

My son is very close to his father, the man who raised him. But, it's got to be kind of weird for him. I hope my ex realizes my son doesn't want to replace him, but needs this relationship. My son is a little weirded out that his birthfather never asks any questions about his childhood or if he was happy. I found that comical since my son is never one to ask any extra questions or share his feelings without something quite compelling driving him to do so. 

They walk the same. They both pass out when they see a needle or blood. Their bodies are shaped the same and they share the same nose and dimples and the cleft in his chin. It's fascinating to watch. Somehow, my son is finding space in his life and his heart to fit in a passle of new siblings, another set of parents, and keep those of us who've known him his whole life close.  I'm pretty proud of him.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Smith Family: Madge Smith Scoles

 Jacob Smith > William Custer Smith > Edwin Smith > Madge Smith Scoles

Madge Smith was the fourth living child and second daughter of Edwin Smith & Kate Smull Smith. She was born 17 Jun 1897 in Bremer County, Iowa. When just about 23, she married Glenn Wesley Scoles, son of James Francis "Frank" Scoles and Ada Mae "Eda" Tracy on 19 Apr 1920 in Waverly, Iowa. We have another Scoles connection through Edwin's brother Walter. Walter's daughter Minnie married Charles Alfred Scoles, brother of Frank Scoles listed above.

Madge and Glenn farmed outside of Nashua, just down the road from the family "home town" of
Plainfield. They had nine children, all now deceased.

Beverly Bethel Scoles: b 24 Nov 20 and d. 30 Nov 1920 in Butler County.

Jeanette Scoles (Twin):  b. 07 Nov 1921in Butler County d. 28 Aug 2004 in New Hampton, Chickasaw County. She married (1) Harry Bradshaw, whose amazing story is here, 04 May 1941 in Toledo, Tama County; and (2) John Zobeck in 1948.

Annette Scoles (Twin): b. 07 Nov 1921 in Butler County d. 03 Mar 2002, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky. She married (1) Clifford Valentine Querry about early Jan 1946 but was divorced in Seattle in 1948. Cliff was a Navy man and was on the ill-fated USS Lexington in 1942, but survived; and (2) Melvin Jennings was also a Navy man. He remarried after Annette's death.

Conrad Wesley Scoles: b. 02 Jan 1924 d. 07 Jan 1924 Chickasaw County.

Audrey Gail Scoles

Richard Henry "Dickey" Scoles: b. 28 Apr 1925 d. 13 Dec 2006 Nashua, Chickasaw County. Married Frances D Nehls, 05 Jan 1949, Nashua, Chickasaw County. Early on, he worked for Oliver Co. and then he worked for the railroad for nine years as a section crew worker until the railroad started reducing crews. He then worked as a lathe operator at Hydrotile in Nashua and later for H & H Tool & Die in Cedar Falls until he retired.

Audrey Gail Scoles: b. 03 Jul 1926 d. 27 Jul 1987 DuBois, Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Married Harry Ellsworth Shaffer, Sr. Harry was a career Navy man and they settled in his hometown. I recently connected with two of Audrey's sons. We've also discovered a son born prior to the marriage to Harry Shaffer who was adopted in Iowa. That's a tale for another day.  

Wendell Edwin Scoles: b. 24 Jan 1928 d. 01 Aug 1987 Nashua, Chickasaw County. Married Sharon Juel Reazak, 05 Feb 1949, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Chickasaw County. At the time of his marriage, he worked at the Capitol Tobacco Co in Charles City.  He went to linotype school and worked for the Nashua Reporter as a typesetter. Wendell served in the Navy, enlisting 10 Apr 1945 and discharged 25 Jun 1946.

Burrdette "Bucky" Howard Scoles: b. 26 Mar 1929, Bradford, Chickasaw County d. 17 Sep 1977
Harry E Shaffer

Des Moines, Polk, Iowa. Married Mitsue Miyashiro. Buck was a career Navy man who died while still in service at the Des Moines Veteran's Hospital.

Service Dates:
Enlistment: 01 Jun 1946 Discharge: 04 Mar 1948
Enlistment: 17 Feb 1950 Discharge: 09 Feb 1953
Enlistment: 18 May 1955 Discharge: 17 Sep 1977

Ronald Glenn Scoles: b. 15 Aug 1930 d. 28 Sep 2007 Charles City, Floyd County. Ron lived with his mom until her death and never married. He is buried without a monument at Willow Lawn Cemetery in Plainfield.