Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: A Daughter's Journey
By Beth B
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My father didn’t talk much about being adopted. All the players in this story were deceased, including my father. I didn’t even have a name to search. Where does one begin? With a silent prayer for wisdom - I began. I searched through adoption related sites on the Internet and learned some basic first steps. One was to contact the court where the adoption was finalized, requesting non-identifying information. Another was to contact the adoption agency. After numerous emails with the adoption division of the court, an official court letter came in the mail stating, “no records were found”. They suggested the adoption might have been finalized in another county. Being confident I had the correct county – if Plan A doesn’t work – try Plan B.
I sent away for my father’s amended birth certificate. A discovery! The surname on the certificate had been shortened. Alas, the reason his records couldn’t be found. I contacted the court again, requesting a search using the new surname. After weeks, the court called, stating the file had been found. The clerk was holding his file in her hands as we spoke! Unfortunately little information was provided by the court and adoption agency. But did that deter me? No! It called for patience and persistence.
Feeling like a lone ranger, I reached out for support. Through the Internet I learned about RegDay, a day set aside nationwide for the adoption triad to register with ISRR (International Soundex Reunion Registry), based in Nevada. Attending RegDay, I learned about PACER (Post Adoption Center for Education and Research), a support group based in Northern California. Making contact with the facilitator of the local group, I attended my first meeting accompanied by a friend. Each person shared stories, journeys to reunion or hope for reunion. Ahh…it was great to be with those who understood the search and the need to know! With encouragement from a PACER member, I joined Michigan Searching, an online search and reunion group. Both groups were invaluable in my search and support.
It had now been four years since I began the search. A list of possible names sat in my file cabinet. Would I send a letter? If so – to whom? Would I intrude in their lives? If I found the right family – how would they respond? After months of struggle, I stood by the mailbox with the letters in hand. It seemed like an eternity, but was only seconds, as I gently, like they were precious jewels, placed the letters in the mailbox and lifted the red flag. I stayed busy but my thoughts remained focused on the letters. Each day with anticipation I checked my email box, answering machine and mail. No response – even though it was too early to expect one. On day four (I’m still counting) the phone rang. My heart skipped a beat. I knew it was the phone call I had been waiting for.
Contact had been made with an aunt through marriage and her daughter, my first cousin. I’ve learned about my father’s family. I am Italian! I embraced my Italian heritage. In 2006 my sister and I had the joy of meeting our new family. We exchanged pictures, family history and stories…just the beginning. I believe my father is smiling down from heaven.
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