Progress was made with another adoptee this afternoon. I know that we are within reach of discovering a birth relative. We may even be within a family of about forty names that could comprise of the individual. One in particular has our attention, but she would have to have been very young to be the birth mother. So for now there will be an attempt to reach out to a sister; as the possible birth mother has already passed away.
Once a decision is made to reach out, I make every attempt to flesh out the living relatives. Online databases for searching people usually will get you within two years of present day. Those can further lead into social media. Unless you are a hermit, there is a trail and it can be found with persistence. My estimate would be around four hours to get about two-dozen people discovered.
If we were stalking you, then I guess that would be a scary thought. However, that is certainly not the goal. If you ever are on the other end of a phone call from an adoptee or birth relative looking for family, you will likely never be greeted with such an attempt to express empathy and friendliness like it before. Knowing what is at stake, people put a great deal of attention into these kinds of calls.
I cannot be a hundred percent sure the call will be made this evening. When I was in the same position, there was plenty of anticipation and anxiety as I paced the room trying to allow my mind to calm down and put myself in the shoes of the individual I was about to break through with. No matter how much I thought I might have to deceive the person on the other end of the call, I always ended up spilling my guts and being as straight forward as I could. Any signs that the individual on the other side showed any sympathy was graciously thanked for their patience.
Oddly enough, my first contact with my birth mother was not over a phone call, but a Facebook chat message. I found her page, with a great deal of help, and paid one dollar to Facebook to contact her directly, as if we were already “friended”. That feature can be disabled, but take a bit of tinkering to shut-off; and also happens to be the default setting. My first message was a bombshell. It described what my name at birth was, where I was born, and who I thought she was; as well as the names of a few more people no one but her birth son could have found out about.
She was floored and very happy. We planned a face-to-face meeting a few days later. Miraculously she lived only forty-minutes from my home. Consider the astronomical odds of that happening, but it did. Forty-seven years after we were separated, we met again. Replaying the story in my mind is still surreal.
The most significant thing that happened along my own journey, was that I felt that I could not, and would not, keep such a skill or gift all to myself. There were dozens of people who’s participation in my story were essential to my success. Whatever endorphins fired off in my brain, I have become a search addict. There has always been a knack to be able to solve puzzles or approach the abstract and see patterns in the chaos. So I decided that while I explored my reunion and learned to understand the motives of my search and discovery, I would also help others. Call it noble, or call it insane, but I am here to stay until I find every last one. Even if the walls come tumbling down that keep adoptees from their original birth certificates that does not always spell out an easy victory to find one’s birth relatives.
With enough persistence and dedication anyone can get to a point where they too can develop the skills in genetic genealogy to find birth relatives. However, there are a myriad of scenarios that can over complicate the search.
As for the call that will likely take place this evening, I hope that the experience is constructive and the people gracious. If there is one thing I learned about search, it would be that there are a lot more good people out there, than bad. In fact, it renewed my faith in humanity where before I felt that everyone was out to help themselves in this world. Perhaps that is why I feel I need to pay forward, because so many gave their time to me and expected nothing in return but my appreciation.