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

Adoptees- What’s in a Name?

We adopted two pets last year — a dog named Georgia and a cat named Gretel. They were named when we got them, and these youthful balls of energy responded to their names.

Gretel’s brother in the animal shelter was Hansel. We considered calling her Marble. Georgia has eyes that look like they are lined with heavy makeup. We thought about calling her Cleopatra.  We did not change their names. It seemed silly to change names that were understood by our animals. Hello-my-name-is2-720x505

The adoption of our furry friends made me consider the re-naming process in human adoption. Are most adoptees renamed? Do they like their new names?

My foster parents called me Janet for the first 7 months of my life. It was the name my birth mother gave me. Once adopted, my name was changed to Vicki-lynn. I love my adoptive name.  I don’t feel like a Janet. Imagining the four sets of foster parents who called me Janet is impossible since their identities are unavailable to me.

I asked my loyal Facebook community Adoptees who have found their birth parents to help me explore the adoption name game by answering this question;

Was your first name changed when you were adopted?
If yes, which name do you prefer?

Their replies-

  •  “I didn’t know it growing up, but my biological family kept me for 9 days before the paperwork as finalized. They called me Bright Eyes, – the Bonnie Tyler song Total Eclipse of the Heart (turn around bright eyes…) Was the #1 hit two months before my birth. They referred to me to my siblings as Bright Eyes – said I had died- probably to avoid a sad truth- I’ve never liked the name Elizabeth- I go by Liz.”
  • “I was originally Mandi(after the song) then changed to Alicia. I prefer Alicia. Throughout childhood I really disliked the name Mandi, I had no reason for it, every Mandi I knew was nice.
    I didn’t know it was my original name until I was 18, I have always wondered if my dislike of the name was just an odd coincidence. I met my bio mom when I was 18, I love her dearly but will never love the name Mandi.
  • “My birth mother named me Princess and she was actually shocked that my name was changed to Amy . When the agency first located her and asked if she wanted to know my name, bmom was quite surprised it had changed. I’ll keep Amy although Princess isn’t that bad.”
  • “My name was changed to Susan when I was adopted. I just found out last year that my birth name was Diane. They’re both okay. I feel like I am Susan-Diane. It’s a very strange thing to discover about yourself. Not too many people understand what it feels like.”
  • “I found out at age 24, my name was Karen before adopted. At 13 days old the adoption agency had taken first letter of my bio Mom’s last name & created a first name for me. but my other name growing up is actually Janet Michelle, but from day I was adopted, my adoptive mother called me Chelle (shell) & it stuck; and I embrace all the names.”
  • “I have yet to find my b. family but have a strong notion that I had a different name. The name my a. parents gave me (Erika) is not a bad name whatsoever but I have never liked it for me or felt like an Erika.”
  • My birth name is Hope, but my adopted name is Rosemary. My birth family calls me Hope, everybody else calls me Rosemary. I answer to both. Doesn’t matter to me…
  • “CRAZY STORY…..both my birthmother and my adoptive parents named me Jennifer Lynn. When my adoptive parents went to pick me up from the Children’s Home, my adoptive mother changed it (because she was freaked out that it was the same).
  • “Mine was changed. Took 18 months for me to accept my new name.”
  • “My real name was Marjorie and it was changed to Lorene. I kept Lorene because I thought it was prettier and more original but I did change my adopted surname back to my real surname when I was 16.”
  • “Mine was always Lisa and I liked it. B mom was happy I my first name was kept.”
  • “Well, since my name was Baby Girl C I guess anything is better than that!”
  • “My bio mom named me Samantha. The adoption agency told my parents I was un-named. I would have preferred being Samantha.”
  • It was originally ‘Julie’, which as a kid from my era, I would have preferred. You can’t tease / poke fun at ‘Julie’. I had so much teasing and dumb statements made about my name as ‘Paige’. Now it’s trendy, but not so much in 1962.

So what’s in a name? What do you think of the renaming process?
Is it OK to rename a baby that knows his/her name after adoption?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Blessings that all adoptees might know their names,

V.L.

———————————————–
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 A BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU JULY 2015

 

 

 

 

Adult Adoptee’s Messages to Adoptive Parents

Earlier this week, I shared things that adoptees would like to say to their birth mothers.  As moderator of the Facebook page –Adoptees who have found their biological relatives, I ask members to comment on reunion-related questions. Community members share their feelings with insight and honesty.

2953403454_7dd3a9740c_zToday, we look at the opposite end of the adoption coin, with answers to this question-

If you could say one thing about adoption to your adoptive parents (without guilt or censorship) what would it be?

  • “I love you. I’m thankful for the life you afforded me. I wish you’d been able to know me rather than trying to make me the child you’d wished for- who was more like you.”
  • “I wish you’d known how to act like parents. But we loved each other and in the long run you probably did me a solid. You weren’t a good mother. Dinner on the table every night, house so clean it shined, every game/toy that came out and I wanted, check check check. Love, kindness, understanding, acceptance, affection- not so much.”
  • “The one thing I would say to them again, and to ALL adoptive parents (and I am an adoptive mom myself) is ALWAYS be honest with a child about their adoption.”
  • “Thank you for being my mom and dad.”
  • “Thank you for always being open about it and giving me the option to search for my biological parents, and have a relationship with my mom.”
  • “Very simply, Thank you for being there with me every step of the way! Miss them oh so much!”
  • “I am thankful. I hope nowadays adoption is taken more seriously and they do home checks for years. Make sure the child is in a loving environment and not abused! Yes, that means you Catholic Charities!”
  • “You gave me a loving home & opportunities in life I would never have had with my biological mother. I will always love & respect you as my parents! Even more so after having met my biological mother! I now know what a lucky baby I was 45 years ago to be put in your arms!”
  • “Why did you go along with the farce, when there were far more willing and acceptable contestants available? I love you and I wish you could have loved and accepted me. All you left me was a sense of uselessness, hopelessness, lovelessness and death. I feel so sad for you. You don’t even REALIZE what you have missed. Thank you though for all you managed to do. I truly wish you all the very best. Love & Prayers.”
  • “To prospective adoptive parents: When you have a child for a reason, you better make sure that reason never ceases to exist, or it will be hell for that child.”
  • “Why the need for secrecy? You should have felt secure enough to share and be open.”
  • “You should never have adopted, but should have learned to live with your infertility. Saying you “love” an imaginary child who you pretend is your own, while lying to your adoptee about information you have about their real name, and referring to their mother as “that whore” is NOT love.”
  • “I love you both until the end of time. You taught me how to never give up or give in and thank you most for loving me when I was most unlovable or feeling unworthy of love.”
  • “I wish you would have filled in all of the gaps regarding the things I don’t know.
  • “Thanks Mom and Dad for being so forthright and open about my beginnings. You always allowed me the positive memory of my biological mother, Emma. Everything that I am or will ever become is because of your love for me. Now it is my great privilege to “pay it forward.” With love and gratitude, your daughter.”
  • “I love you and I miss you. I wish we had more time together.”
What would you like to say to your adoptive parents?
Leave a reply below.
Blessings for honest adoption conversations & healing,
V.L.
———————————————–
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 A BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU AUGUST 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.

Heartwarming Story of Twins Reunited on Facebook

If you are searching for your family on Facebook, you will love this reunion story. I share this beautiful reunion to give adoptees who are still in search, a glimmer of hope.

sun dazed/Flickr.com

sun dazed/Flickr.com

Nothing less than miraculous, this reunion will warm your heart.


(CNN) — Anais Bordier and Samantha Futerman have the same laugh and the same freckled cheeks. They wear their hair the same way and have since they were babies. They share a hatred of cooked carrots, a love of the same color nail polish and the need to sleep 10 hours a day.

The pair tease, poke and prod each other like they’ve grown up together, but they didn’t. Neither woman knew she had an identical twin sister until less than two years ago.”

Read the rest and see the video here.

Blessings for the miracle of finding,

Vicki-lynn

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

Reunion Video Captures Bone-Chilling Anguish of Korean Birthmother

One look at this footage of Kira Donnell’s reunion with her Korean birth mother, and you are privy to the torment many birth mothers carry in their hearts after relinquishing a child.

This brilliant, video journal by Kira Donnell also represents the essence of our need to know.  Get the tissues ready.

Recovering What Was Left Behind
by Kira Donnell

Blessings for a reunion that heals,

Vicki-lynn