32 years later, medic and birth mom reunite
By Steve Pivnick, 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
/ Published July 11, 2006
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AETCNS) --
Almost a year after she first contacted her birth mother, Staff Sgt. Katherine Blade reunited with her.
The medical laboratory craftsman with the 81st Medical Support Squadron Clinical Laboratory Flight used e-mails, letters and documents she accumulated to locate her mother, Marsha Gibson, in Centralia, Wash., about 90 minutes south of Seattle.
After speaking regularly on the phone over the past year, Sergeant Blade flew to Washington in March to finally meet her mother. They spent almost a week together.
"It all went so wonderfully," she said. "It was a perfect meeting; it couldn't have gone any better.
"She met me with flowers at the airport. When we first saw one another, we held each other's face and cried. After 32 years, I couldn't believe it."
Together they spent the night with a friend of the mothers. The next morning, they went to her new-found grandparents' house.
"It was really nice," Sergeant Blade said. "My grandfather invited me into his house saying, ‘My house is your house.' He gave me a kiss on the cheek and a great big hug as I walked through the door."
Sergeant Blade said her grandmother has been very ill the past year as she battles pancreatic cancer. Her grandfather has health issues as well. However, right now both are doing well.
She spent most of the rest of her stay with her mother.
"We went to the beach (on the Pacific Ocean) at Westport, getting a hotel right on the beach," Sergeant Blade said. "We went out to dinner and later stayed up late talking. She asked me what my life had been like. I shared little stories about growing up.
"I asked if she felt guilty about giving me away. She said she did, a bit, and I told her not to. She had given me to a wonderful family and I had a wonderful childhood. She made the right decision."
During her nearly five-day trip, Sergeant Blade met her mother, grandparents, uncle and spoke on the phone to her aunt who lives in southern California.
Since finding her mother last year, Sergeant Blade has spoken with Ms. Gibson on the phone about every two weeks. She has also talked to her brother, Justin, 14, and sister, Melissa, 22, who live in Boise, Idaho.
Sergeant Blade said her grandmother, who crochets and knits, "gave me a huge crocheted blanket. She told me I had to bring something home from her.
"It was a great visit," she said. "My mother and I got along like high school girlfriends. We talked about everything. We even compared our toes, hands and noses. We both have birthmarks on our backs. We don't look exactly alike but we have the same smile; you can tell I'm her daughter.
"Now I know where my son, Eric, gets his great big blue eyes -- his grandmother. She has some big, blue eyes."
The sergeant said she and her mother "have a lot of silly things in common. Neither of us can stand to have water in our ears after showering -- we immediately grab a Q-tip. We both love seafood. Neither of us likes to be cold, but we always have cold hands and feet and are always bundled up -- we both wear sweats in the summer. We both love the beach and doing outdoor things."
All three of Sergeant Blade's sons -- Eric, 9; Shane, 5, and Wesley, 4 -- know who Marsha is.
Her adoptive mother, Nora Olynick, was pleased everything turned out so well, Sergeant Blade said. So was her husband, Tracii.
"Everyone in my family encouraged this, and I had a blast," the sergeant said of the experience.