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     I was born to an unwed teenage mother that I never knew. For those of you who have read A Life of Dates, you know that I thought that she was a sixteen-year-old high school girl from Haddonfield, New Jersey. I was wrong, but not too far off.

     In February 2022, I decided to actually see if I could find out who she and/or my father were. I wasn't sure what I would do if I did find out, but I tried anyway. By this time, the book was finished, so whatever I found out wasn't going to make it in. The State of New Jersey has liberalized its laws around adoptions and now grants adoptees access to their original birth certificates. Many are redacted so that the parents can't be identified, but I took a chance. I completed the form provided by New Jersey, sent my $25 check, and waited. I didn't have to wait long.

     On St. Patrick's Day, I got an envelope from New Jersey in the mail. I hesitated for a moment, then opened it. There is was - a copy of my original birth certificate. It turns out that I was born at 4:30 a.m. in Camden, New Jersey, weighing in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces. There is no name listed for the father, and I am officially "Illegitimate" according to the State. There is a name for my birth mother, though, but I'm not going to write it. She was an unwed eighteen-year-old high school senior from Camden, New Jersey. I don't know whether I was the product of rape, incest, or just a night of passion between a couple of kids.

     I don't think that I would have tried to contact her even if I could find her. I did a little searching on Google and Ancestry and found out very little, except that she passed away at age 51, apparently with no other children. I only found one picture of her. She was beautiful.

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