This month we are running a fund raiser to help searchangels.org lower some of their overhead costs associated with providing adoptee searches for birth families. This campaign gives folks a chance to buy a tee-shirt in order to help defray part of the fees normally shouldered entirely by our volunteers. We ask our readers to share this link on their social media networks (https://www.bonfire.com/search-angels/).
In my own search, I turned to every medium that could shed light on my goal. In fact, it was a webcast that first introduced me to a start-up company’s plan to change the medical landscape using DNA testing. Up until that point, I never even considered the idea of science playing a role in helping me find evidence pointing to my roots.
Once I took my first DNA test, my perception surrounding search fundamentally changed. Science gave me a basic understanding of where my ancestors came from, but this revelation alone did not answer all my questions. While it was a place to start, I quickly realized that communication with people online became an important effort to maintain and expand upon. Message-board based forums, provided ample room to ask individuals for assistance answering numerous questions. Some of these people came from specific web sites based on everything from adoptee support to genetic genealogy, while other people were spread across the social media networks like Twitter and Facebook.
Whether the individuals I encountered were genetically related cousins, advocates for adoptee rights, genealogists, or searchers themselves, each shared their own specific suggestions and advice on how to proceed. Initially this all felt a bit overwhelming, like a steep learning curve, but, with time, the fundamental skills began to sink in. Building a community of supporters and cheerleaders to help keep my spirits up, as well as, a place to voice my frustrations became just as important as the skills necessary for me to expand upon my search.
It never occurred to me that I was naturally building my own support network and feedback loop that gave me the opportunity to advance my knowledge and ability to further my goals. It just evolved that way.
Reading online articles about others and their searches, sensitized me to expectations I would likely encounter and need to be prepared for. The whole experience was centered around my online encounters. This seems to be the way I would encourage everyone to embrace their own search for their birth family.
Finding ways to capitalize on the experiences of others will always make for a better experience taking on this challenge. The Internet is a medium that can be made to work in your favor, should you find yourself falling short of expectation, tomorrow is another day that can rekindle your hopes and make way for different paths to take.