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PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at mdplunk@hotmail.com

Monday, February 22, 2010

Birth Mom Found


About two years ago I started searching for my (adopted) son’s birth mother. I wrote about it on the blog last year. http://plunkchronicles.blogspot.com/2009/11/looking-for-birth-mom.html About a week ago, I announced on facebook that I’d found b’mom and had talked with her on the telephone. I received many congratulatory notes and the question “how?” was posed more than once. I probably also received more credit than I deserve for the ultimate “find.”

As promised, here are some of the steps I took that might be helpful to other searchers.

The starting point would be at the beginning. The “ex” and I adopted Alex at birth. We were fortunate in being able to bring him straight home from the hospital eliminating any time in foster care which is frequently the case. As adoptions were done at that time, we knew nothing about the b’mom except her age. For that reason, I presumed for years that we’d never be able to locate her.

When I finally began the search, I had to turn around that thinking and look at what I did know. I knew the date and time of his birth. I knew the names of the city, hospital and the doctor who delivered Alex. The easiest solution would have been a list of births on that date at the small hospital or admission/discharge records. I knew I couldn’t get admission records due to privacy issues, but last summer when Mike and I were in that North Georgia area, we went to the library and looked at newspaper archives around the birth date in hopes of birth announcements. It didn’t work for us, but it is a good research tool.

I applied for “non-identifying” information from the adoption proceedings. This is done through each state’s Department of Human Services or state agency that handles adoptions.

I got started through the advice of a family member who had located her birth mom. And the networking spread from there. I registered at several adoption reunification web sites using the birth date and state instead of a name:
http://www.issr.net/ - Probably the most important place to register, The International Soundex Reunion Registry also has a facebook presence titled Reunion Registry.

I also registered at http://www.bmom.net/ and http://www.adoption.com/. The most incredible and most useful site was a yahoo communities group. I got on their listserve and through the many emails I read daily, I learned a lot about searching – and about the searchers. This site offers volunteer “search angels” who seem to know just about everything and who guide and actively assist the many searchers – birth parents and adoptees as well.

Anyone searching should sign up at http://www.registry.adoption.com/. It was advice from this site that led to our b’mom. One of the angels advised me that I needed to request the identifying info for Alex and that we might need a confidential investigator because we had so little information. The fee for that service varies by state and, I’m told, ranges from $300 to $1,500. Our angel told me, however, that because the adoptee is disabled, the fee would be waived.

And that did the trick.

A lovely, professional woman from Georgia’s Families First Reunification Registry called me and wrote the birth mom regarding our inquiry. B’mom responded promptly and is thrilled to have contact with the boy she wasn’t able to keep. I’ve talked to her several times, and she’ll have her first conversation with Alex this week. This morning I put some photos of Alex in the mail to her.


As it turned out, b'mom did not own a computer and was not computer savvy. Had it not been for the search angel's tip to contact Families First, we'd have never located b'mom. That seems to prove that more than one avenue of research should always be used.

I initiated this search because I thought it would be good for my son. Now that I’ve talked with b’mom and heard her story, I believe that this reunion will fill gaps for both of them. It feels like a storybook happy ending.

2 comments:

Zehr_Family said...

I am so happy for you all!! I know this helps bring some closure to long asked questions. It did for Mom and for us, when she found her Mom. I only hope you and Alex get more time with B'mom than Mom did. Love you all!

Lacy said...

How wonderful! :) Truly a blessing!