Albuquerque Journal, Monday, October 4,
Heart Found the Way to
Long-Lost Familys Reunion
Pat Reidy knew that someday her past
would catch up with her.
She hoped it would, anyway.
She was a teenage girl in college when she
gave up her baby, a girl she named Linda Adele.
My parents gave me no choice, the
normally salty, smiling 84-year-old says as the smile fades and the tears
come. I had to sign a paper saying I would never look for her.
She looked anyway, into the nameless faces
of passing girls and women she imagined might be her daughters age.
She hoped her daughter might one day come looking for her.
I waited, she says. I
The years passed. Reidy married a good man,
raised two more daughters and four sons and never told a soul about the child
she gave away 66 years before.
History, alas, repeated itself when Reidys
next-born daughter got pregnant in her early 20s and gave up her baby girl
Reidy had not forced her daughter to do so.
She was gone, doing her own thing. She
didnt tell anybody, she says. She gave me nothing.
Somewhere out there, then, were two women from
two generations, untethered from their roots, disconnected, for better or
Although it took many years, much effort and
a lot of luck, they managed the improbable and found one another. Because
in this big needle-in-a-haystack world, sometimes only the heart knows the
For the first time since they discovered each
others whereabouts, Reidy, daughter Sally File and granddaughter Sara
Confer came together at last to see each other face to face and to put the
pieces of their lifes puzzles together again.
As I sat with them last Thursday in the backyard
of Files Albuquerque home, its as if they had never been apart.
They laugh with the same hearty guffaw. They move their heads, their hands
as they talk, which is almost nonstop and jovial. There is an infectious
joy about them that comes from feeling comfortable, connected.
She is my very best new friend,
File, 66, says of Reidy, who flew in late last week from her home in Brandon,
Fla. And Sara, well, she fit right in.
Confer, 43, is the last to be connected. She
was 13 when she found the adoption papers for Baby Girl Rosalier tucked away
in an old dresser stored in the family garage. She had always known she was
adopted, and that was fine. Her life had been a happy one.
It was years before she began her search, knowing
only the Rosalier name and some sort of connection to Texas.
The Internet was not in existence yet, so she
called directory assistance for Texas cities she chose at random looking
for people named Rosalier.
Eventually, and quite remarkably, she found
two aunts (including File) and Reidy. But the discovery of her mother did
not go as planned.
She didnt remember the day I was
born, says Confer, a divorced mother of two daughters from Rocklin,
Calif. I just shut her down. But I had found my aunts and my grandmother,
and that was plenty for me.
File had always wanted to know her birth family,
but not because she was unhappy.
I wanted to know who I looked like,
she says. I was so different in size, in color, in the way I learned
and the way I acted than my family. I felt like a square peg trying to fit
into a round hole.
She didnt begin her search until she
was an adult and had the blessing of her adoptive mother just before she
died. File petitioned the courts to open her adoption record.
Her quest led her to create Operation Identity
Search and Support, and she has helped more than 8,000 others find their
In October 1994, File found Reidy.
I called her and said, I dont
mean to cause you any problems or pain, File says, but
does the name Linda Adele Jones and the date April 14, 1944, mean anything
to you? And Pat starts screaming, Oh my God, oh my God! What
took you so long?
File says she was stunned to learn that Reidy
had known the search had lasted two years.
She asked me how I knew, and I told her,
I felt it in my heart, Reidy says. Best day of my life.
The three women marvel at how much alike they
are. All three have been or have aspired to be retail store buyers. All three
wear Paloma Picasso perfume. They love to decorate. Each professes to possess
an eerie psychic sense.
File says she was stunned to find out that
the bright floral print she had selected for her draperies was the exact
print hanging on the windows of Reidys home in Florida.
Genetics is genetics, File says
with a laugh. You cant escape that.
But theres a bittersweet ending to their
remarkable story. Because sooner rather than later there could be an ending
none of them wants.
File is battling fourth-stage lung cancer.
Doctors gave her six to nine months to live, she says.
That was two years ago.
Im still here, she says with
a smile. Im not in pain, just some trouble breathing. Im
just going with the flow, and I know that God has a plan for me.
For now, that plan is for the women to stay
in touch, to marvel at the past but hold tight to as much of the present
as time will allow, together.
UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion
column. You can reach Joline at 823-3603,
email@example.com or follow
her on Twitter @jolinegkg.
From left to right: Sally
File, Sara Confer, and Pat Reidy, at Files Albuquerque home, where
the three gathered for a visit. File is Reidys daughter who was put
up fro adoption as a baby. Confer, who was also put up for adoption, is
Reidys granddaughter and Files neice. (Photo: Morgan
© 2010 Albuquerque