NBC News tells the story of Damon Davis and his birth mother, Ann Sullivan, who were recently reunited 38 years after Sullivan made an adoption plan.
The story said that Davis grew up as a “happy and well adjusted child” but as he grew older and began to raise a family of his own, he felt the need to know his birth mother.
“Anytime you try to find someone, you have no idea what they’ve been up to or what they’re expecting from you,” Davis said in the article.
It turns out that both Davis and Sullivan work for the federal government, just blocks apart from each other, and went to the same graduate school.
There are many ways and reasons to perform an adoption search and lately there have been many stories about social media aiding adoption searches. This article made a point to say that Davis used an adoption caseworker, who gathered information on Sullivan, and than Davis wrote a letter to his birth mother.
While social media can be a great tool for adoption searches, at Adoption STAR we feel it is best to message somebody directly, either by email or personnel letter.
For those living in New York city, or who will be visiting New York, Brian Stanton’s one-man play about his adoption journey, “Blank”, will be playing from August 12-27 at the Manhattan Theater Source. The show is playing as part of the 15th annual New York International Fringe Festival.
The play deals with many difficult times in Stanton’s life, such as learning he was adopted as a child, and finding his birth mother, only to find out he was born due to a gang rape. The article in playbill describes “Blank” as a “darkly comic story of adoption and identity.”
Stanton still has a relationship with his birth mother and the Kansas City Star did a great feature on Stanton’s adoption journey and his play.
If you are interested in seeing “Blank” in New York City, the Manhattan Theater Source is located at 177 MacDougal Street between Eighth Street and Waverly Place. The article says to call (866) 468-7619 for reservations.
If you or your child is interested in beginning an adoption search, it is important to speak to your loved ones as well as an adoption counselor. Adoption STAR provides support for birth parents as well as adult adoptees.
By Zack Fried, Adoption STAR Intake Specialist
“I remember going to McDonalds with my birth mother when I was a baby.” Although this never actually happened to my sister in her earliest years, she fantasizes about situations just like this quite often. Unlike me, Susie has a closed adoption, so the memories she thinks she has are very unreal compared to the very real ones I have.
Having an open adoption is something I feel extremely fortunate about, especially given the fact that this was such a rarity when I was born. I have many real, cherished moments from throughout my childhood with my birth family. While I can smile at these very memories, or can pick up the phone and call a birth family member, I also have siblings with closed adoptions who do not have this luxury.
Sure, I can openly talk about my adoption experiences, and refer to members of my birth family, but at the same time, I remain sensitive to the fact that I have siblings who cannot do the same. With this, Susie and I can still share the wonderful fact that we were adopted, and have had wonderful experiences surrounding this thing we have in common.
Not everyone has a fully open adoption like I have had, but that does not make anyone’s adoption story any less beautiful. Those of my siblings with closed adoptions have developed unique characteristics due to their experiences, the same way mine have with an open adoption, albeit different. It doesn’t have to be about “handling” the situation, but rather sharing our different stories, experiences, and memories to see the magnificence in them all.
Good Morning Everyone, hope you all had a great weekend. First off, we’d like to apologize for issues we have been having recently with the Adoption STAR website. We are working to have all of these issues fixed as fast as possible.
This morning on NBC’s Today Show there was a segment about a 20-year-old girl, Jessica, who with the help of her mother searched for and found her birth mother through Facebook. As it turns out, her birth mother was looking for her through Facebook as well. Eventually Jessica met her birth mother, along with her birth father and 3 siblings, and they plan on staying in touch.
After the segment, which you can watch below, Adam Pertman, the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and Lisa Dawkin of the New York Times, were interviewed about social media and child adoption. Both had the same message as Adoption STAR, that the internet and social media has changed the adoption journey, making it easier for birth families and adoptive families to stay connected, and also, as in this story, making it easier to search and find each other.
Jessica searched for her birth mother with the help of her mother, and that shows the importance of having open communication with your loved ones before beginning any kind of search.
Adoption STAR recently published official recommendation on how to have a healthy relationship via social media as an adoptee, adoptive parent or birth parent. If you have any more questions or would like more information on this topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie agreed that going forward, all adoptions in New Jersey should have open records. However, according to this story, Christie proposed changes to the bill that would have allowed adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates and medical records.
According to the story, the conditional veto would allow adult adoptees to seek a “confidential intermediary” from an adoption agency to perform a search for their birth parents. If after one year, the birth parents were not found, the adoptee could receive the original birth certificate. If the birth parents are found but do not want to be reunited, they will be asked to provide complete medical history for the adopted person, however this will not be mandatory.
“I believe that additional safeguards are needed to best balance the needs of adoptees seeking the identity of their biological parents with the expectations of birth parents who may wish for their identities to remain private,” Christie said in the article.
The New Jersey Democratic lawmakers, who initiated the bill said, “they were unsure whether they would accept Christies changes and make them laws.” According to the story the democrats cannot override Christies revisions because they do not have enough votes. If they do not approve the bill the current law would remain in effect.
Is this newly revised proposed bill a good compromise or should adult adoptees be allowed to receive their original birth certificates, despite the anonymity promises to birth parents in the past?
This article was recently published in the Baltimore Sun, and is one of the more interesting search and reunion stories I have read since starting at Adoption STAR in April.
The story tells the adoption journey of Ron Ryba, who made an adoption plan in high school when his then-girlfriend became pregnant. For years Ryba said that he lived with guilt, and worried his son would be angry with him for this decision.
In 2004 Ryba thought he had reunited with his son, Philip Bloete, and the two began to forge a close relationship. However, according to the article, when Ryba began to prepare a will and wanted to include Bloete, his lawyer suggested the two have a DNA test. It turns out Bloete was not Ryba’s birth son.
Ryba spent the next 7 years going through the courts to have the adoption records opened so that he could find his birth son, until one day he was given an anonymous tip from someone that worked in the agency. The article said that this person gave him two names to contact, either of which could be his birth son. The first person Ryba contacted also agreed to a DNA test, and it was not a match.
Finally Ryba contacted Kevin Callaghan in Philadelphia, PA, but Kevin told him that he wasn’t adopted. Amazingly, according to the article, Callaghan knew of another Kevin Callaghan in the Philadelphia area that may have been adopted.
When Ryba finally contacted the correct Kevin Callaghan, they agreed to have a DNA test, which proved that they were father and son. The two finally met recently according to the article.
While his story managed to have a happy ending Ryba is still fighting for open adoption records for other adult adoptees and birth parents.
Adoption STAR offers search and reunion suggestions to adult adoptees through its ACE Support Group. Please contact email@example.com if you would like more information.
Larry Dell is an artist in New Jersey, he is also an adoptee, but he was not aware of this until turning 59.
This article in the South Orange Patch website is about Dell using this discovery as inspiration for his latest art work.
In the article Dell said that his mother went as far as to re-create his birth story saying that his mother told him “the summer I was born, 1948, was one of the hottest on record, and August the hottest month. August 18, the day I was born, was worst of the worst, a real scorcher, the temperature approaching 100 degrees.”
Dell said he always felt a strong connection with his mother about this story and how uncomfortably hot it was the day he was born, but at age 59, he found out the story wasn’t true, and that in fact he was adopted according to the article.
While Dell wishes he had been told of his adoption earlier in life, and is still searching for his birth relatives, he added in the story that he still looks at his adoptive family as his family.
“My parents – we were so close it’s hard for me to call them adoptive parents – were so wonderful, loving, supportive and kind. I never felt anything from them but unqualified love. But in the end my mother (my father died when I was 18) at some point after I was an adult, should have told me I was adopted,” Dell said in the article.
Dell only has non-identifying information on his birth parents, but he knows that they were both 39 years old when he was born, and that he has at least four brothers or sisters that he has never met. He is now advocating for the opening of adoption records in New York and New Jersey according to the article.
How did you/will you begin to speak to your children about adoption?
If you have questions about how to speak with your children about adoption, or any other questions, Adoption STAR offers many educational classes, or you can contact your Adoption STAR Family Advocate.
Recently I spoke with two birth mothers, Aubrey and Erin, about adoption profile books and what made them choose the family that they ended up choosing for their child. Whether you are a potential adoptive family beginning the process of creating your adoption profile, or you’re a birth family beginning to select a family, Aubrey and Erin had some great advice for everyone.
Aubrey and Erin both agreed that the adoption profiles that had a good balance of photos and words were better than the ones that were too wordy, or had too many photos.
“I got four profiles and one of them was mostly pictures, and one was mostly words,” Aubrey said. “The family that I picked was a nice balance of both. That stood out to me.”
When selecting the pictures, make sure that each one serves a purpose. Erin said that her favorite photos showed the families doing activities they enjoyed.
“The family that I chose had some pictures of the home that they live in. They were doing things like cooking or gardening, and I liked that (because) I could picture my daughter living with them,” Erin said. “It made it more real for me and able to feel more comfortable.”
Aubrey also said she looked for pictures that were more candid because it showed off the family’s personalities.
Both women agreed that it’s important to know a potential adoptive families interests. Aubrey said that she wanted to know what the families were all about, and what they liked to do, by the end of each profile.
“It made me feel a lot safer with picking (a family) that I knew their personality,” Aubrey said.
Erin’s advice for birth parents is to remember you are a picking a forever family for your child.
“Pick the family you can picture your child with. Make sure that they have the ideals that you want to share with your child if you kept him or her…if you never went camping traveled and you think that would be a fun childhood and would like your child to experience that part of life, then look for profiles that include that,” Erin said. “If it’s open adoption, also remember that you may have contact (with the family) for the rest of your life. Don’t pick a family that you wouldn’t want to live with.”
We recently published our official recommendations on how to handle social media as it relates to adoption as a birth parent or adoptive parent http://adoptionstar.com/child-placement/adoption-and-social-media-recommendations-for-healthy-ongoing-communication/. Here is an article on using Facebook to find family members. In this article the author writes about her experiences helping her father find his biological brother who was adopted.
His brother was adopted in Ohio, which seals all of its adoption records. Because her father had a letter with his brother’s name on it, she had a head start and by using Facebook, gsadoptionregistry.com and other people-finder websites, the author was able to track down her father’s brother’s daughter (her first cousin) on Facebook. After sending a few Facebook messages, and with the help of a mutual friend, they contacted each other and were able to set up a meeting between the brothers.
It is a very interesting story to read, and I am sure we will be hearing more and more about adult adoptees using Facebook and other social media accounts to find birth family members. What are your thoughts on using Social Media for birth family searches?
Original birth certificates have been in the news lately, first with the release of President Obama’s and now the state of New Jersey is close to passing a bill that will allow adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates, and open their sealed files.
This is a hotly debated topic in New York as well, as according to childwelfare.org New York is currently one of 26 states along with the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico to have sealed adoption records. The website says that the other 26 states have laws that allow for adoptees to obtain their original records.
According to the website, some of the states have laws to allow adoptees to obtain their original records through:
” – Through a court order when all parties have consented
– At the request of the adult adoptee
– At the request of the adoptee unless the birth parent has filed an affidavit denying release of confidential records
– When eligibility to receive identifying information has been established with a State adoption registry
– When consents from the birth parents to release identifying information are on file”
What side are you on in this debate? Do you believe adoptees should be allowed to obtain their original birth records, which would eliminate a lot of the privacy of the birth parents? Or do you believe the privacy of the birth family should be protected?
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The Odd Life of Timothy Green and Adoption
"The Odd Life of Timothy Green" was released in theaters last weekend and Jennifer Garner, who stars in the movie, recently spoke about how adoption and infertility are themes in the movie. In the movie Garner's character, Cindy, and her husband