NormaGould_Genetic Identity
NORMA GOULD

GUARDED. EMPATHETIC. LOVING.

How to do you put your life story into a page? You leave out a lot of the darkest parts of the journey and pray it makes sense to the reader.

I grew up in a cloud of mystery. My “parents” did not look like the normal picture of what they should, they were in their late 60’s. I had zero contact in the outside world. I attended school but was never seen. I was the kid who had holes in her shoes, none of my clothes matched or fit at any given time, I never ate lunch ever. … So, I would hide behind the school buildings so I wouldn’t be made fun of.  I lived in a home of horror, from bleach washed to being caged in a dog pen weeks on end. My form of food was a can of wet dog food. I never had a holiday where I was given gifts as my supposed cousins were. They lived in a happy home. Mine was dark and brutal—I never slept in a bed. I was watched all the time. I was beaten daily for what I still will never know. As many of you know, our mind protects the heart; this I have now learned later in my life.

When my “father” passed away, he said KID (that was what they called me) remember this woman’s name. Promise to not forget it. I promised and he said her name. He made me repeat it all while I watched him clasp his chest and die from a heart attack. I was 9 years old. This enraged my “mother.” Two years later, I was calm when she passed away. I felt free, even though I had no idea what free meant in my world. I was shuffled from home to home to only be put out onto the streets of California. I lived the best I could. I stayed out of site. I ate from trash bins. And, I was not excluded from the tortures of the streets for a young girl.

At 15, a girl from school saw me and their family allowed me to stay in what would have been the maid quarters. They were kind. I didn’t know what kindness was. So I rebelled and ran away often. 

In April of my 15th year of hell on earth, I was taken to the LA airport. There I see this tiny 4′ 9″ blonde woman with a white fur coat and dripping in diamonds. It was as if I was in a fantasy movie. It was my birth mother. WAIT!!! WHAT??? How can this be? I asked her name and her answer took me back to the day I had first heard that name. How? Why? Confused and scared, I was a ball of fears. 

The next day, I was on a private plane to another country. She taught me what alcohol was. She taught me mental abuse from an alcoholic. The pain and inconvenience I had now caused her was unlike anything I had endured up to this point. On Christmas of that same year, she bought me a one-way ticket back to California and told me she wished she’d had that abortion instead of later selling me for $500.00.

I tried to love a mother who was motherless, whose demons were bigger than my love. The last day I saw her was in a hospice center in her home town and found out I had a half sister. A sister who said I was scum, gutter trash, that I would never amount to anything in life. What she didn’t know was I was a mother of two girls, with a wonderful husband who was serving his country, and that I worked 2 to 3 jobs to give my girls a better life.

Fast forward to 2016, when my oldest gave me a DNA kit and said we are going to find answers one way or another. She told me that I should never have had to live a lie and that none of it was my fault.

I waited and waited. And then the results were in! A lot of first cousins came up. NO one responded to my cry for answers. I did not push, I left it alone. In 2018, I was listening to the TV and dicovered I was not alone. You mean there are others like me??? How is that possible. So I dug deeper to find answers. Brick walls was all I had for two more years. Then a DNA angel took on my plea, they collectively helped me in finding my answers. 

I wasn’t sure I believed in miracles. Then one by one cousins started responding. Oh they cried for me, they were broken over the life I had lived, endured. I allowed them to come and mmet me and I was open to any and all questions. I had to prove to them I was being forthright. Thank God I kept all letters—even the receipt of me being sold. Proof of my life was hard to relive. I thought, “Am I the only one who has had to always be on guard?” And then really wondered, “Why must I have to show proof?” 

In 2022, my daughter gave me the trip of a life time. She took me to my homeland. I was even able to sit with my father who I had never met as he’d passed in 1986. Funny how life is. I missed knowing him by one year and two months as my letters were intercepted and no one had wnated to hear from the child no one wanted.

Here I am, at 58 years old working on my book and not really knowing the effects mental health can play with your soul. I spent three weeks in Neuro ICU in December 2023. I have been diagnosed with severe PTSD and PNES. My one word for others: find help—do not keep your feelings inside to please others who do not care of your emotions. I have a fantastic support system within my home and family and friends who have been careful and patient with me during my journey.

No one journey is harder than another. We all have trauma. My trauma is not your trauma and yours is not mine. Trauma is TRAUMA. We all have a Right To Know! And if I have to scream it from the roof tops, I want the world to know WE ALL MATTER! No matter if you were sold on the black market like me behind the hospital I was born in, officaly adopted, donor conceived, or had an NPE. I have a lot of learning on how to break the cycle of shame, hurt, and internal battles I fight every night when I close my eyes. I thought everyone had nightmares their whole life. I thought everyone was beaten as a child. I am 58 and learning it’s ok to be broken. I wish I had arms wide enough to hug us all. I have many private calls at all hours for those who need a friend who truly listens. I am that friend. I will always want to be a safe space where your words matter and your tears are felt. And your confidence in me will always be held with deep guarded respect. 

I am a black market baby. I am a half sister to two woman who want nothing to do with me. And I am okay with that now. It does not come without pain and tears. I leave the door open. We all have to find our balance of life. I hope to one day heal and help others who feel lost, alone, and underserving of love. We all deserve love.

Since 2016, I have learned how to grieve the little girl I was, not knowing love was okay, that I desere and have the right to be loved. I have since had a family reunion in Newfoundland with my father’s side and found both resting places for both of my parents. One was cathartic and one was brutally painful. Both helped me see I made it out on the other side of this nightmare. 

We do survive! I am living proof. I am a military wife of 39 years, a military mother mother in law, grandmother, a candy maker, and author. I am finding my purpose. If you read this far, I am here for anyone who needs an ear of hope, kindness, and patience. I am just 1 in 1000s of stories. There will be more and we all need to remember how our journey started to support others who come after us and will need us.