Adoption Search Resources (Facebook & More)

Pleuntje/Flickr.com

Pleuntje/Flickr.com

I realized this morning that I have an abundance of helpful adoption search links bookmarked on my laptop.  Sharing is caring. So here are some of my favorite resources for finding your family.

 

 

Search & Support Sites

People Locator Sites (perfect for surname searches by state/location)

Facebook Resources and Groups

If you are unsure where to start your search- I also recommend these adoptionfind posts-

Letter to use when requesting non-identifying information

How non-identifying information identifies

Organize your adoption search

Step by Step search advice

Please email me if have a resource you would like added or questions about searching.- vbrunskill*at*gmail.com

Blessings for a productive search day,
V.L. Brunskill

——————————————————————
Waving Backwards, a Savannah novel (SYP Publishing)
Imagine not knowing who you are,
until you find yourself in a statue 800-miles from home.
COMING TO Amazon/Kindle/Nook and a BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU JULY 2015

March 20, 2015- Independence Day for Ohio Adoptees

Spring arrives in celebratory style for Ohio adoptees adopted between 1964 and 1996. On March 20, 2015 these adoptees can request a copy of their original birth certificates. Adoptees born before 1964, and after 1996 already had access under state law. The new law extends access to ALL adoptees in Ohio.

Much of the credit for this long awaited, equal access triumph goes to Adoption Network’s Betsie Norris, who worked 24 years on a series of proposed adoption access bills, before the Ohio Senate finally passed Bill 23 on December 19, 2013. To learn more about the lady and her superstar efforts to restore rights to adoptees, check out this Cool Cleveland interview.

For Ohio adoptees wondering how the process works, there is a short explanatory film on YouTube (embedded below) by superstar adoptee rights advocate, author and filmmaker Jean Strauss. For more information on the process and forms for requesting your original birth certificate, visit the Ohio Department of Health site.

Blessings and thanks to the adoptee advocates who worked so hard to make this dream a reality!

Hugs and congrats Ohio,
V.L.

Big Win for New Jersey Adoptees- OBC Access Coming in 2017

There are few things that make an adoptee rights advocate happier than when a state grants equal access to Original Birth Certificates (OBCs).  So I am hop, skip, and jumping in joyous reaction to the news out of New Jersey this week. A legislative agreement has been reached that will allow adoptees to begin accessing their original birth certificates on January 1, 2017.  Sweet! celebrate

While the nearly three year wait is ridiculous (and will make reunion impossible for some who will find to late) the law has lingered in legislative limbo for years. If it did not pass this time, who knows how long it would have been stalled.

The insane waiting period is meant to give birth parents time to  have their names removed from their biological child’s birth records. I wholeheartedly disagree with this option as it casts adoptees’ civil rights as less important than the civil and privacy rights of the parents who relinquished them. However, every state that grants equal access is a step in the right direction.

Read the details of this celebration worthy event below-

As soon information is released on the process for requesting NJ OBCs, I will post the details.

Blessings for equal access in every US state,

Vicki-lynn

 

 

 

Nominate Your Fav Adoption Search Angel by February 17

A Spokeo Search Angels Award representative contacted me in hopes that Adoption Find blog readers will help them find the best search angel in the land.

According to a Spokeo, this wonderful program, “recognizes, honors and supports volunteers who donate their time to help adult adoptees and others, search for and reunite with their birth families.”spokeo

Nominations for Search Angels are being accepted at www.SpokeoAngels.com through February 17. Winners will receive a cash grant, a Spokeo membership, and a reunion sponsorship opportunity.

Nominations can be made for a Search Angel or by a Search Angel. So if you happen to be one of the blessed individuals in our adoption world who works tirelessly to reunite adoptees and birth families, go ahead and nominate yourself!

Blessings for all search angels,

Vickilynn

Washington State Adoptees- Original Birth Records to Open July 1, 2014

State by state and crumb by crumb, adoptees continue to gain access to their God-given rights.  Today’s good news comes from top left side of our fabulous country. Washington State adoptees will be able to obtain their original birth records starting on July 1, 2014.washington

According to a News Tribune article published in May 2013 when the legislation was approved, “House Bill 1525 — allows those adopted before October 1993 to obtain copies of their original birth certificates identifying their birth mothers and possibly fathers, provided those parents have not filed papers to prevent the release.

Under the state’s old law, those adopted after Oct. 1, 1993, can access original birth records without court orders. Records can be requested once the adoptee turns 18.”

For more on how to request an original birth certificate, visit the Washington State Department of Health Site. There is a full  description of the law and who is allowed access here.

As usual, the new open records legislation comes with an ugly  ‘opt-out’ option for birth parents who do not wish  to be contacted.  If only adoptees could opt-out of having their heritage stolen and their lives mired in secrecy. Open records should apply to everyone!

Blessings for a country where freedom-for-all finally includes adoptees,
Vicki-lynn

Sibling Day 2013: Adoptees should Recast Reunion Fantasy to include Extras

On July 1, 1991, I wore a new path in the already threadbare carpet of my third-story apartment. I was pacing and waiting for a return call from my birth mother. What will I say? What will she say? How will I breath? These were the questions that raced through my mind.  I was readying myself for the first shared words with the woman who bore me.

courosa/Flickr.com

courosa/Flickr.com

After she confirmed my identity (by having me tell her my birth name) there were no words for at least five minutes. Instead of talking, we cried together. We cried for the loss of so many years, with the relief of finally knowing and for the future we might share.  I was ready to move forward with her — alone. I was not mentally prepared for the cast of extras that are part of every reunion package.  Especially the ‘kept’ siblings.

Being raised with one brother, also adopted (born 3/13/68 in NYC in case you are trying to find him) I experienced a sibling closeness built upon bricks of survival. I was my brother’s protector growing up, standing often between his face and our adoptive father’s fist. We survived, grew up as the first generation of latch key kids, and are both fiercely independent with decent jobs and families of our own.  Siblings raised in abusive homes share the same bond as soldiers fighting side-by-side. Their survival depends on a near physic connection. The added psychology of adoption loss made us even closer.

When I found my birth mother and learned that I had two half siblings, I was surprised. I had never thought about the fact that she could have given birth to children after me, and kept them. My reunion fantasies were all about her. I was searching for a lone wolf, not a pack. After reunion, the reality of siblings was fraught with extra emotional baggage. To accept them was to accept that they were somehow more important, more deserving than I was. After all, they were kept.

My half-siblings never knew about me, and my birth mother chose to continue keeping me secret until after we met face-to-face. This meant that I would call to talk to her, and end up chatting with my adult siblings (who both still lived with her). They believed I was one of my birth mother’s co-workers.  It was awkward, but deep down I liked being unknown to them.  I wanted my birth mother all to myself, even if it was just for just a little while.

To introduce myself to them, I made a video, which my birth mother played for the siblings when she returned to Florida from our reunion in Massachusetts. She opened a bottle of champagne, announcing that she had some news. My half-sister said, ‘What are you pregnant Mom?” Little did she know.

After the sister secret was revealed, I learned about their lives and had a hard time adjusting to the truth. While I was given away because my birth mother wanted me “to have a better life” than she could afford, my half-siblings were raised with ample opportunity, stability and wealth in their formative years.

After my relinquishment in the early 1960’s, my birth mother became a successful banking executive.  While my adoptive parents divorced when I was 11-years old and we experienced hotel homelessness at a shelter for battered women and children, my half-sister had a fur coat, a diamond nameplate necklace and a trip to London, all before she reached age 17.  The irony of being the one who was supposed to be ‘better off’ was not lost on me. Neither was the jealousy.

Sibling jealousy is rarely discussed in terms of adoption reunion, but it was one of the toughest aspects of reunion adjustment for me. It still is.

I found my birth father five years after I was reunited with my birth mother and the sibling situation there was even worse.  My birth father’s two sons were told about me and decided that I was the unacceptable result of their father’s whorish behavior. I have not met them to this day, and do not expect them to ever be a part of my life.

I am writing this on ‘Sibling Day” (who knew there was such a thing) to remind adoptees in search, that beyond the leading lady in your reunion story, there will be extras. There will be probably be ‘kept’ siblings.  It is crucial that you recast the reunion reel that plays in your head to include them now, before the reunion. Doing so may ease the adjustment of finding more than your birth mother.

Remember- “Searching is difficult. Finding is life-altering.

Blessing for successful sibling relationships,
Vicki-lynn

Why the Unknown will Never be Enough for Adoptees

When my plane touched down in Newfoundland, Canada in 1991, I was welcomed by a hundred people from the tiny fishing village where my birth mother was raised. Hundreds of eyes stared when I reached the stairway leading to the airport exit. Hand in hand with my birth mother, I looked over their recognizable faces. So many of their features were familiar, yet we were strangers. They were fascinated, awestruck and shocked at the family resemblance.  I was a lost member of the tribe, home at last.

To finally touch the ground of your ancestors is healing. To stand before the graves of your great grandparents completes the circle of life. To learn fly fishing from your grandfather whose prominent nose you inherited, and look into the laughing brown eyes of your grandmother is a priceless joy.

My blood heritage turned a transparent, haphazardly sketched self-portrait into a bold, permanent masterpiece.

This morning, I read a piece by blogger Deanna Doss Shrodes. Adoptee Restoration: Adoptees: Why Can’t You Just Be Okay With the Unknown?.
In this heartfelt post, Deanna talks about answering yearly medical questions when you are an adoptee.  In discussing the  frustration of not knowing your medical background, Deana writes, “You don’t know what it’s like to not have something until you’ve been without it. My friend Laura Dennis says it’s like trying to explain what it’s like to starve to a person who has always had food. ”

That statement reminded me of my first visit to Newfoundland and of standing on the foundation of the first house my ancestors built on the rock. The house was taken long ago by the harsh winhomed and salt air of the bluff. I stood at the center of the rough stone foundation, built by a relative from Wales who’d braved an Atlantic crossing as cabin boy. The stones were barely visible beneath the dirt, yet it was mine to know.  I am home. I am found, I thought, sending thanks to a universe that allowed me to find the physical  foundation of my identity.

Months after that trip, I traveled to a different part of Canada to meet more family and attend a wedding. At that wedding I shared with a cousin, the experience of standing on the foundation. I believed that since he was raised by the family and spent many summers in the seaside community, he would have stood amid the blueberry bushes and experienced the overwhelming power of our shared history and belonging.  The history was his to know during all the years I’d yearned to find it. Our foundation was within a few short steps for the non-adopted cousin.

To my surprise, he did not know about the house or the man who built it.  He had been wrapped in a lifetime of knowing and took for granted the history that gave him life.

A heritage that is open and available is easy to ignore.

The non-adopted often ask why we search? Why we need to know?  As Deanna Doss Shrodes blogged, explaining is ” like trying to explain what it’s like to starve to a person who has always had food.”

Blessings for enough information,

Vicki-lynn