I believe it is so important to hear from all sides of the adoption triad so below is a story shared with me by a birth father who was faced with the decision to give up his son to a family who was better equipped to support the child. Here is his story:
I would like to share a little about our search for the child we gave up in 1980.
In 1980 we were just about to finish up our senior year and graduate from YSU. We found out at that time that she was pregnant and we needed to make a decision. With all that we had gone through in college, this was by far the most difficult thing we had faced. After talking through it and realizing that the most important thing to either of us was the baby’s well-being, we decided that giving the child up to someone more stable and able to provide for him would be the best thing we could do.
The birth mother and I remained friends throughout the years following that decision, we were not together as a couple, but friends none the less. Each year in October, the 29Th to be exact, we both had our son on our mind. We knew we had left the adoption open on our end, meaning that he could find us if he so choose to do that once he turned 18. But we did not have the same opportunity unless we wanted to go through a complicated process..
As years past we always wondered how he was and what type of life he had. The birth mother did get an anonymous letter from his adoptive Mother when he was 15. It said how wonderful he was doing and that he had been a great blessing in their life. That was great to know and what we both held onto for the following years. As each year past and he was of age we kept hoping that he would reach out to us, but that didn’t happen. We both kept in mind that we gave him up and didn’t really have any right to expect anything from him. But that still didn’t keep us from hoping! As more and more years past I became more impatient and talked to the birth mother more often about possibly looking for him ourselves. She kept saying, and I agreed, that we didn’t want to upset his life. In no way did we want to harm him or his family, so we kept waiting.
Fast forward to Dec 2017, I called the birth mother and told her I was going to start a search for our son! I wanted her blessing but regardless I was starting a search. I was about to turn 60 in January and something just pushed me to do this. I needed to find him and know that he was still ok and hope that he might want to get to know us and our families. She was onboard with me and I went forward to begin the search. My wife had known about my son from before we had gotten married and she was so very supportive and help full when I decided to search.
After making sure I had all the information we had on the birth hospital etc. I started looking online for search companies that helped with this kind of search. I found a few and contacted one, this company had some good results posted on their website and I was ready to send them that flat fee of $1195.00 to get this started. They gave no guarantee or time table of when to see results, said each case and state are different and so they don’t really know how long it may take. That brought some red flags to my friend and she dug a little deeper and found some bad reviews of the company so I didn’t move forward. The birth Mother had lived with her sister in Grand Rapids MI during her pregnancy and had the baby there and the adoption took place there as well. So through her sister we contacted a PI that was willing to help us if he could. He stated that since all adoption records in MI are sealed we would need to find a way to get them released.
So at this point I am not real optimistic and looking for more guidance so on Feb 15 2018 I have a meeting with the pastor of our church and he set up a meeting that would start the ball rolling! He introduced me to a lady connected in the adoption field, she then gave me contact info for a person at the Adoption Network of Cleveland since I live in Ohio. She also told me about the ISRR International Soundex Reunion Registry and suggested we get our information on it. It is a registry that both Adoptees and Birth parents can be on to try to find each other. We did that immediately, and also the lady at Cleveland gave us the link to the Michigan Adoption Network Registry and we put our info on that as well! Next she gave us contact info for the Catholic Charities of West MI which is where the adoption records of our son were. At this point I was not sure if my name was on the birth certificate so they also suggested I do a DNA test, which I did through Ancestry.com, so that if he was looking there he would find a match. Finally I get a contact number and name from CC of WM, Stephanie Bush becomes the MVP of our search! I call her and she tells me she will guide us through the whole process! Again there are no guarantees because the court has to agree to release the information and the adoptee has to agree to release it as well, but we now had the right direction and we are so excited!
The first thing she had us do was complete forms requesting non-identifying information and consenting to give out our info as well. On March 9 I get an email from Stephanie containing the non-identifying info on our Son’s adoptive parents. It was very heartwarming to read the positive comments about them and to hear how well he was doing under their care. She also placed our info on the Michigan Central Adoption Registry to see if he might be looking there. That was the last thing we could do before trying to get the court to appoint a Confidential Intermediary.
On April 4 we decide to go ahead with the CI petition and see if we can get the court to appoint a CI to our case. On April 10 Stephanie files the CI petition with the Kent county court, tells us it could take up to a month before we hear anything about it. So in the mean time we have gotten a yearbook from one of the schools in Grand Rapids that we had information he may have attended. We look through and try to pick him out, I research many guys but don’t find anyone.
On May 7 we get an email that nothing has been done on our request yet due to personnel changes to the court. She suggests that we both write a letter to our son telling him about ourselves and our desire to know about him. It felt like I was trying to sell myself to him but I wanted him to know where he came from! On June 12 we heard that the court should hear our petition within the next week! On June 18 the court approved our petition! Stephanie was also appointed as the CI! She started the search on June 18th and called me on June 21st and told me she had found our son!!!!! She said he was open to communicating and took our letters as well as exchanging emails. His name is Christian and he sent us a short email about his life and that he expected to be in contact more moving forward! We were over joyed!
On July 25th I had my first direct email contact with Christian it was awesome! We continued to email back and forth till we set up a face to face meeting on Nov 16th. Not knowing that it was National Adoption day! How wild is that?
The day couldn’t come fast enough! Finally on the 16th we were waiting at the restaurant meeting place and I am staring at the door waiting to see him walk in! We had both look up Facebook and knew what each other looked like so I knew I would recognize him. When he and his wife walked up to our booth we hugged and it immediately felt like I had known him my whole life! It was amazing! We talked and talked just learning all we could about each other. Our interests are so similar and our life paths similar in many ways it was and is just amazing.
Since that first meeting my Wife, who has been a rock of support throughout this process, and I have been to his house in Grand Rapids 3 times, meeting his adoptive parents and his little baby boy, as well as many of his wife’s family. One thing I have to say is that his parents are the most accepting, kind and unselfish people I have ever met! They have welcomed us with open arms and I am so grateful! His parents and his wife and son have been to our house as well and met my 3 wonderful daughters and their families, as well as my mother. All get along so well! It has been a blessing that I have no doubt God orchestrated completely!
So I just want to say to anyone that is thinking about searching for their child or parents, DO IT! I know everything doesn’t always work out like ours did but it is worth the effort and time! It can be done!