touching story about Korean adoptee returning to find his birth family.

Admin Ron; Jim Harrison returns to South Korea as an adult and through memory is able to locate his childhood home.  He re connects with birth family. His memory from being adopted at age 9 helps in his search.

Camp Cook

Published:September 4, 2015 3:45PM


From left to right: Pam Jones-Harrison, Lee Jae-yul, Sydelle Harrison, Jim Harrison and Lee Jae-yul’s wife. Jim Harrison traveled to South Korea in 1985 to find his lost relatives.

A country to call home


By Jonathan Bach

East Oregonian

Jim Harrison was nine when a Milton-Freewater couple adopted him from Korea. The year was 1960, and his name then was Lee Chang-kun, according to his adoption papers.

Harrison’s retelling of his experience as an adoptee paints a poignant picture: A young boy traveling overseas to a new family. A mother dying of a deadly disease. A blind uncle who later thinks his nephew dead. And then, years later, a reunion.

In the United States, Harrison landed in a world completely different than the war-torn country from where he hailed. No longer did he guide men blinded by the North Korean army into town to find cigarettes they could sell on the black market, a responsibility he said he once had. His name changed, and he adopted the surname of his new parents, John and Pauline.

Harrison volunteers at the Round-Up, and many know him as a camp cook for pickup men and event attendees. In 1985, though, he crossed the Pacific in search of his lost Korean family.

Harrison, a self-proclaimed “war-baby,” often tears up when he talks about the two-week expedition and his brief childhood in Korea. He said his father, whom he hardly knew, was an American soldier stationed in the Asian country. But the bond between the man who sired him and his Korean mother was a forbidden one. “In those days, there were no interracial marriages,” Harrison said.

He said he remembers his Korean grandmother physically beating her daughter because she had given birth to a “half-blood.” He said his mother would nonetheless hide food for him so he would not starve. To be a witness to that violence “tore me apart,” he said.

He said his father transferred away from them when he was either one or two years old.

“I totally lost contact with him,” said Harrison.

He said his mother thought it would be better if they did not contact his father. But he said his father continued to send money and clothing. “We were so poor, we were lucky if we had two meals a day,” he said.

Harrison recalled his mother telling him, before she died of tuberculosis and he left the country, “We’re sending you to America, where money grows on trees.”

Decades later, as a grown, married man, he flew to South Korea’s capital Seoul. At that time, it was a city with underground malls that doubled as bunkers in case of air raids from the North. He traveled with his wife Pam and three-year-old daughter Sydelle.

He found his old orphanage and workers there helped track down his uncle, Lee Jae-yul. This was the same uncle he said he used to lead into town with a group of handicapped veterans to get cigarettes from the Americans to sell for a meager income. He said Jae-yul presumed his nephew was dead, but he made his way to the orphanage where the two embraced. Harrison said he could not see much of Jae-yul’s face because of his sunglasses, and his uncle’s wife had to hold the older man once they were out of their car, because she did not want him to fall. He could see tears streaming down his uncle’s cheek.

His uncle insisted Harrison remain one more night in his hotel before meeting with the rest of his lost family, feeling the whole affair might be a dream.

Harrison said that once he finally arrived at his uncle’s home, he reunited with the other 13 men he once guided into town. They asked him if he drank alcohol, to which he said yes.

The group partied hard that night.

Now, every year Harrison puts on a party of his own on the Round-Up Grounds.

The sun has set. Two brothers, the famed Severe saddlemakers, lean against horse trailers with their daughters. People gather around a fire in the middle of camp. Guitar and fiddle harmonize. “Everyone’s just sitting around, visiting and enjoying the music,” said Harrison, describing a typical night at his camp on the Round-Up Grounds.

Harrison cooks hearty meals for pickup men and Round-Up goers seven days and nights during the event.

The cooking gig, as so many things do, came to life over beers. It was 1989. Harrison said he saw a group of rodeo pickup men camped on the Round-Up Grounds behind the livestock. He brought over refreshments and, as they got to drinking, asked them, “So, what do you guys eat when you’re on the road?” Dairy Queen was among the contenders. Hearing that, Harrison offered to cook them fresh salmon on Saturday night come next year’s Round-Up.

The weekend meal evolved over 25 years into a full breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The owner of Jim Harrison Construction said curious people will now poke their heads into his camp and ask to come in. He welcomes them. As for money, he has a jar and asks people to donate however much they see fit for the food. While he said he doesn’t make a ton of cash from the cooking, he said the food he buys gets paid for. “I’ve never walked away from camp with an empty pocket,” he said.

A fan favorite is his chorizo casserole. He said it doesn’t last very long after it comes out of the barbecue. Onions, bell peppers, scrambled eggs and biscuits with the spicy meat make people come back for seconds and thirds.

On Wednesday nights during Round-Up season, Harrison and the pickup men even have a tradition of taking one whiskey shot for each of their friends who’ve passed away. “It’s just a tribute to everybody and everything that we stand for,” he said.

He calls what they stand for simply “the cowboy way.”

Preston Jones is an inspiration for anyone searching for their birth mother.

Preston Jones spent decades searching for his birth family and repeatedly petitioned courts again and again when denied information.  This article also shows how the restrictions have relaxed over the decades. Also how the search procedures have evolved with online search information. Follow the article link for a video and additional pictures…

Virginia Beach man spent years looking for his biological mother


Where Are You Mommy? | Preston Jones found out he was adopted and started a search that would span four decades and draw on methods that evolved with the times.

(Preston Jones)

Preston Jones, who was adopted, spent years and thousands of dollars to track down his biological mother, Corzie Hughes. <span class='credit'>(Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot)</span>


Preston Jones, who was adopted, spent years and thousands of dollars to track down his biological mother, Corzie Hughes. (Steve Earley | The Virginian-Pilot)

View all 6 photos


By Elizabeth Simpson
The Virginian-Pilot
© August 18, 2015


Preston Jones was 5 when he stumbled upon his birth certificate in a lockbox in the family basement. A second certificate, tucked in the same spot, had the same birthplace, Westchester County, N.Y., and the same birth date, Oct. 10, 1962, 5:36 a.m.

But there was one big difference: the name. Rodney Snell.

That’s how Jones found out he was adopted, marking the start of a search that would span four decades and draw on methods that evolved with the times.

Phone books. Yearbooks. Calls to health departments. Pleas to adoption agencies. Petitions to the court. A YouTube video he called “Where are you Mommy?” Facebook postings. Queries on Internet agencies that took his money but came up empty.

His search came to an end July 23, when a 70-year-old woman in Greensboro, N.C., opened a letter from an attorney in White Plains, N.Y. It made her heart pound even before she reached the end.

“I know it’s him,” she thought. “Gotta be.”

You see them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media: people standing with posters that say they’re looking for biological mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters. Videos with heartfelt pitches.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, more people are tracking down family using social media and the Internet – a trend that prompted the organization to develop a set of tips and precautions.

While the online approach can be faster and less expensive than going through legal channels, people on one side or the other might not be emotionally prepared, and some might feel that their privacy has been violated. The searches don’t all end well.

Jones, who is 52 and lives in Virginia Beach, used a combination of old-fashioned shoe leather and newfangled social media. He’s the first to admit to a lack of computer savvy – he wrote court petitions by hand on notebook paper – but he was willing to try all avenues to find his birth mother.

After he was born, Jones was taken in by foster parents, Theodore and Mildred Jones, who adopted him when he was 1. When he brought the two certificates to his mother for an explanation, her eyes filled with tears. She told him that he was adopted but that she would go to the ends of the earth before she’d give him up.

Even at that age, Jones knew to leave the issue alone because he loved his parents and didn’t want to make them sad or disrespect them.

But he never forgot. When he was in his late teens, he began pulling at the threads of the mystery. He looked up the name Snell in phone books. Once, he tried to follow someone with the last name Snell who picked up clothes at a dry cleaner, but he lost the person outside the store.

It wasn’t until both his adoptive parents died, his mother in 2011, that he truly felt free to dig into his past. By then, he was living in Virginia Beach. He contacted the Department of Health in New York and was able to get what’s called “non-identifying information.”

The bare-bones facts on the form stoked his interest.

His mother was 17 when she had him. She was 5-foot-3, 100 pounds. She lived with her parents and already had a son, and the family didn’t feel they could provide for another child. There was little information about his father.

His mother’s young age told him there was a chance she was still alive.

Afterward, whenever he’d meet someone who fit the description, he’d think, “Could that be my mother?”

Learning that he had a brother also deepened his desire to track down his biological family: “I became obsessed with finding them.”

He contacted the hospital where he was born and looked up Snells in Westchester County high school yearbooks, hoping he’d find a clue to his brother. He also contacted Internet-based groups that help people find biological families. He said he spent thousands of dollars but got nothing in return.

When he contacted the courthouse to look up adoption records, he was told he needed to file a petition because they were sealed to protect the privacy of the biological parents. His petitions were denied.

By this time, he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so he had another reason to track down his family: to explore his medical history.

Told that he needed a doctor to support his claim, Jones got his neurologist to send medical records. The claim was denied again on the grounds that he needed to have a doctor in New York provide the information. He found a physician in New Rochelle to examine him and provide medical documentation.

Again, the petition was denied, this time because he didn’t adequately explain why contacting his birth mother would help in his treatment. He found another doctor and submitted another petition with more details.

The fifth petition did the trick. His request was accepted in 2013, and he was assigned a guardian ad litem, a legal representative to view the documents and send his mother a letter to see whether she would agree to connect with him.

Several weeks later, the guardian ad litem sent Jones a letter saying that her search was unsuccessful and that his parents were Mexican nationals. She was unable to contact them.

Jones is black, so he found the lawyer’s response confounding. It also conflicted with his other documents that said his parents were U.S. citizens.

He took to the Internet, posting requests on and adoption search registries. He set up a Facebook account with the sole purpose of finding his mother:

“I am getting gray hair and getting older but I am still searching for my family the Snells in New York like I said before I was born in MT.Vernon Hospitial October 10th 1962. I am on a mission to find my roots… FAILURE IS NOT A OPTION,!!!!!! Callin all soilders I need immediate backup!!! I know your out there… in the MT. Vernon N.Y. area Help me out thanks Remember My Birth Name is Rodney Snell. Where are you Family???”

In January, he posted a YouTube video called “Where are you Mommy?”

“I want to know who my mother is,” he says in the video, in which he’s wearing a ballcap and standing against a white wall. “There’s a good possibility you could be watching this, and I want you to know I love you.”

He also sent another letter to the courthouse, asking for a new guardian ad litem. In May, he was assigned one to review his birth information. This time, the lawyer’s work resulted in a letter to Corzie Hughes in Greensboro.

Hughes was at home when one of her five daughters brought her a letter from an attorney in White Plains. She knew she wasn’t in trouble; she hadn’t lived in New York for years.

But she knew instinctively what it was about.

The place and date of birth lined up with the baby she had named Rodney: “I knew it was from my child. It was a piece of a puzzle that finally fell in place.”

The letter took her back to the day in the hospital when she had him. Her mother didn’t think the family could support another child, so an adoption was arranged. Hughes wasn’t even supposed to get a glimpse of the newborn, but when she noticed a different nurse come in at shift change, she matter-of-factly asked to see her baby.

She held him for an hour.

“I guess she could have lost her job over that,” Hughes said in an interview last week. “After that, I did not see him again.”

Hughes never stopped thinking about him, though. Every Oct. 10, she would pray he was alive and doing well and hope he had a great day: “It wasn’t my choice. I have had a heavy heart wondering was he OK, getting enough to eat. It was indescribable how I felt.”

She called the attorney the next day, left a message and heard back July 27.

Now she knew the petitioner’s name: Preston Jones.

One of Hughes’ daughters, Nicole Burkes, said that’s when the rest of the family took to the Internet. A niece sent Jones a Facebook request through his email account. Not being fluent in Facebook, Jones almost deleted it before his wife, Lisa, urged him to accept the friend request.

He did, and soon more people in Greensboro were welcoming him. He discovered he has five sisters and a brother in his biological family. Burkes said they knew “through the grapevine” about another sibling, but their mother never discussed him, worried they’d think less of her.

Phone calls followed, and before long, Jones was dialing Hughes’ phone number. When she answered, he said, “Mom, this is your son.”

“Hello, sweetie,” she responded. “I knew you would find me.”

She told Jones about her memory of holding him as a baby, and how she never wanted to give him up.

They have planned an family reunion Thursday in Greensboro, and Jones promises to post a video of it on his Facebook page.

“I feel relieved, but until I can hold my mother, it won’t be real,” Jones said. “I want to hold her. I need to feel my heart against my mother’s heart.”

Elizabeth Simpson, 757-222-5003,

Posted to: Health News Virginia Beach

Finding birth mother and sisters due to health reasons.

AdminRon; MS was the critical call to search for related family.  The search revealed that other genetic family members also had a history of MS so the search effort was validated based on medical needs to know and also aleart other siblings.

Dothan woman meets two sisters for first time



Darlene Hallford, center, met her two sisters for the first time this week. Carol Utecht, left, of New Mexico, and Barbara Colandrea, of New York, pose for a picture at Hallford’s Dothan home Saturday.

Posted: Saturday, July 25, 2015 7:14 pm | Updated: 7:52 pm, Sat Jul 25, 2015.

Matt Elofson
Crime and courts reporter

A sea of smiling faces made Barbara Colandrea and Carol Utecht feel more than welcome as they greeted their older sister and her family for the first time at the Dothan airport this week.

Colandrea and Utecht each traveled over 1,000 miles to meet their sister Darlene Hallford and her family, who live in Dothan.

Colandrea, of Newburgh, New York, and Utecht, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, flew into the Atlanta airport where they met and flew to Dothan together for the meeting with their sister. The near weeklong visit to Dothan was their first time in Alabama.

“It’s just a once in a lifetime thing, that’s why we decided we had to come down to meet our sister for the first time. When are we ever going to be able to meet our sister for the first time?” Utecht said. “Everything has just fallen into place. It’s kind of neat we live in a day and age with the Internet and Facebook because otherwise we may never have found them.”

Darlene’s husband, Lamar Hallford, and their son, Ryan, spent several months getting their Dothan home ready for the union of the sisters.

But Lamar Hallford said it took a family effort to make the gathering possible, which included help from his daughter, Shannah Loper, and his son-in-law, Jonathan Loper.

Loper called each discovery leading up to the meeting of her aunts with her mother God’s timing.

“I definitely feel like its all part of God’s timing,” Shannah Loper said. “He has a reason and plan for everything.”

The journey

Lamar Hallford, who said they already knew his wife was adopted, said the search started after his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and they needed to find out more about her family’s medical history.

Darlene Hallford was born in Boston in 1953, and adopted by a couple who later moved to the Dothan area. Her adopted father was in the Navy and a native of Ozark.

“We started with a phone call to Boston, to some type of agency, which led to lots of phone tag,” Lamar Hallford said.

Hallford said they found a researcher who helped them with some of the legwork in the Boston area.

The Hallford family found Darlene’s birth mother around 12 years ago in New York. They received a return letter from her within a week confirming she was Darlene’s mother, but she hesitated about communicating with the family further.

“We weren’t going to push it,” Hallford said. “We honored her wishes for 11 years.”

Around three years ago during their research they discovered Darlene had three younger sisters.

Shannah Loper said she and her husband only had the last name of Utecht to start out with because her mother’s last name was Utecht. They later discovered her sister’s first names, including Carol Utecht. They found lots of Carol Utechts online.

One day in October 2014 in a search through Facebook they found a Carol Utecht who lived in New Mexico and had two sisters. They thought she must be the one.

Loper scanned a copy of a letter written by Darlene’s mother, and sent it to Carol Utecht in a Facebook message.

“The letter clinched it for me because I know my mother’s handwriting, and I knew it wasn’t just someone online,” Utecht said.

Hallford said his wife wouldn’t have found her sisters without their looking into her family’s medical history.

“Then she (Darlene’s mother) said she had a daughter with MS, and then it really made it important for us,” Hallford said.

Both Darlene and her sister, Carol, were diagnosed with MS in the mid 1990s.

Hallford said the positive and loving reaction from Utecht and Colandrea upon finding out they had another sister left his family pleasantly surprised.

“It meant everything,” Hallford said. “It meant a lot to Darlene because it makes her feel loved.”

Darlene met her third sister, Judy Husted, who couldn’t make the trip to Dothan, through a Skype conversation with her two other sisters.

Utecht said she’s been blown away by learning how much she has in common with her sister.

“This is so different,” Utecht said. “This kind of thing only happens on TV and in reality shows, not in real life.”

The three sisters got to know each other during a visit to the Tipsy Easel, a local art studio in Dothan. The sisters along with Shannah Loper all painted pictures of a flower together.

“Now we all have the same picture and every time we see it we’ll think of them,” Colandrea said.

Utecht said even though she and her sister were returning home Sunday the families will stay in touch.

“It doesn’t end here,” Utecht said. “There’s going to be correspondence and more visits.”

Follow Matt on Twitter @ElofsonMatt.

Birth mother search in Paraguay and then Argentina

Amanda Doerr used her birth mothers ID card and hired an attorney in Paraguay who used his resources to track her biological family members…Amanda was a secret birth of her then 15 year old birth mother…

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Wallingford resident Amanda Doerr poses with her three sisters Belen, Raquel, Isa and birth mother Maria in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Doerr is adopted and found her biological family after three years of searching. | (Courtesy of Amanda Doerr)

Wallingford woman finds birth mother in Argentina


Published: June 28, 2015 | Last Modified: June 28, 2015 11:10PM

By Leigh Tauss Record-Journal staff

WALLINGFORD — After a three-year search, Amanda Doerr met her biological mother in Argentina last month. Doerr is now working on a book about her experiences and wants to help others find their biological parents.

The 26-year-old was adopted from Paraguay in 1989. She was always interested in learning about her biological family, especially as she thought about starting a family.

“I felt like I needed to know for medical reasons,” Doerr said. “I want to know before I have kids what I’m passing on.”

Equipped with only a copy of her mother’s identification card, Doerr connected with Paraguayan lawyer Daniel Varela three years ago. Varela was able to track her birth mother’s movements until 2007 through old records, but the trail went cold at that point.

Varela was eventually able to locate Doerr’s biological aunt and grandfather. In August 2014, Doerr and Varela traveled to Paraguay to meet them for the first time with the hopes they would provide clues to her mother’s whereabouts. Her aunt was the first biological relative she had met.

“We looked at each other and we teared up because I just knew in my heart I was related to her,” Doerr said.

She was soon introduced to her grandfather. Doerr learned from her aunt that her birth mother had never told anyone about her existence and that she had five younger siblings, none of whom were put up for adoption.

She learned her biological mother had emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and was able to connect with her on Facebook. Eight months later she traveled to Argentina to meet her.

“I figured my journey wasn’t done,” Doerr said. “I don’t think you can live your life if you don’t accept and know your past.”

On May 12, she met her mother.

“It was really emotional, we obviously cried,” she said. “It was hard to understand her because there was definitely a language barrier.”

She also met her three biological sisters, Isa, Raquel and Belen, and her brother Christopher. All of her siblings were by different fathers. She was unable to meet the man believed to be her father because when Varela located him he denied any relation.

Maria Edelmira Ocampo Ayala, had Doerr at the age of 15. Ayala told her that she became pregnant after being kicked out her parents house and going to work. Ayala said she was told by doctor’s Doerr had died in childbirth and only later found out she might have been alive.

“I don’t care what the circumstances were,” Doerr said. “I am just happy they are apart of my life.”

She said the trips made her grateful for her life in America, as many in Argentina and Paraguay live in poverty. Although her biological family had very little, Doerr said she was touched by their hospitality.

“They took care of us, they gave us food, they wanted us to stay in their home, even though there wasn’t much room,” Doerr said.

Now that Doerr has fulfilled her mission, she is trying to help others do the same. She has connected with two fellow Paraguayan adoptees and has been helping them take the necessary steps to meet their biological families. She is also working on compiling a book of her experiences entitled “The People You Meet Along The Journey,” which she hopes will inspire others.

Doerr’s adopted mother Pat Doerr, of Milford, said she has always been very supportive of her daughter’s quest to find her birth mother and was glad she was able to finally make it happen.

“It was a nice adventure for her and it was closure, I think,” Pat Doerr said. “She just seems to be more at peace now, it was a missing piece to a puzzle and now it’s there.”

Pat Doerr said she connected with her daughter’s birth mother on Facebook Sunday.

“I told her, “I think we can share Amanda,” and she just sent me a smiley face back.” (203) 317-2231 Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ

Birth family search is still an ongoing problem.

Admin Ron; Records are slowly being released and revised as this travesty becomes exposed due to articles like this.  Laws rewritten and changes made to the regulations. Arguments on both side of privacy. Best bet here is to get your DNA into websites such as, sign into your states adoption registry and to Facebook plea the information that you have.Chris Bonilla, 29, who went into foster care

Chris Bonilla, 29, who went into foster care the day before he turned 11, was separated from his brother and sister when they were adopted by a foster mom and he left foster care. The South Bronx resident has been looking for them and hoping for a reunion ever since. (Credit: Chris Bonilla)

Former NYC foster care children face barriers trying to reconnect with missing siblings


Christopher Bonilla has not seen his brother and sister for more than 14 years.

Bonilla, a 30-year-old from the Castle Hill section of the Bronx was separated from his sister Vanessa, who would now be 22, and his brother Alex, who would now be 17, when he left foster care as a teenager to return to his mother. His younger brother and sister, meanwhile, were adopted by their foster parent.

The last time Bonilla saw them he was about 15 years old. “My mother was getting her (parental) rights terminated and I was in court with her,” Bonilla recalled. Chris had a sympathetic social worker who allowed him to return to his mother after he aged out of a group placement and threatened to run away if not returned to her. But Alex and Vanessa were much younger, under the supervision of a separate social worker, and family reunification and supportive services were not then as much of a priority for ACS.

If he could find his sister and brother he would hug them and tell them “I miss you! I love you! I’ve never stopped thinking about you!,” he said.

Bonilla is typical of New Yorkers who were separated from siblings while in foster care and who lost contact with them after adoptions from the foster care system – which came with financial incentives – took place.

No one knows how many there are. While Administration of Children’s Services data from fiscal year 2014 shows that the “sibling placement rate” was 88.2% — quite a feat considering the housing challenges of New York City — placing and keeping sibling groups together was a less common phenomenon in the past.

A Casey Family Programs analysis of data from ACS in fiscal year 1999 showed that while almost 67% of the 11,215 kids who entered care that fiscal year also had siblings in the system, 47% of those were separated from one or more brothers and sisters.

While some stayed in touch or were reunited, others were adopted by new families, given new names, and lost forever to siblings who cared for them then and search for them now. ACS now encourages “adoptive families to consider and support open adoption so that families may maintain contact after an adoption is finalized,” said a spokesman for the agency in an emailed statement.

Because the records of legally adopted children are sealed, “we encourage adoptees to register with the adoption information registry if they are interested in locating biological family,” he said.

But registering is often an exercise in futility.

Since the New York State Adoption Information Registry was established in 1983, 41,000 people have signed up, but only 2,405 matches have been made.

While a spokesman for the state’s health department, which runs the registry, said the department is committed to making matches, “the number of birthparents (9,691) and biological siblings (1,248) registered lessens the odds of matches being made,” he said.

“I don’t know anyone who has ever located a sibling through a state registry,” said Lynn Price, a former foster child who was separated from her own sister and founded “Camp to Belong,” to allow foster children to spend time together and cement sibling bonds. The separations are tragic, said Price, because “sibling relationships are often your longest relationships in life, surpassing relationships with your parents,” and connections to romantic partners. “Facebook has been the most successful,” matching up former foster children searching for blood relations, said Price.

A poll taken on the FosterClub website in 2010 showed that 74% had used the Internet to search for a family member, raccording to child welfare publication CW360.

But even Internet searches for those missing critical information, such as the current names of adopted siblings, are often fruitless.

Sibling rights are supposed to survive adoptions, but kids aren’t always kept in contact, explained Betsy Kramer, director of the public policy project at Lawyers For Children. An adoptive parent may move away, not want children to know they are adopted, not want the children they adopt to have contact with their birth family, or simply not make the maintenance of their children’s earlier relationships a priority, she explained. “Issues come up after the adoption, when the agency is no longer involved: There’s no oversight,” to guarantee that siblings who want to stay in touch do so, she explained. While LFC often goes to court to enforce sibling rights, it can be of little assistance to adults who do not know their siblings’ names and lack information on how to obtain them.

Mary Brown, 28, of Harlem, who was taken away from her mother at birth and adopted at the age of six months, remained in touch with a biological sister and brother who were adopted by another couple thanks to the collective efforts made by all the adoptive parents. She said she was told she has at least four other siblings, but no one knew where they were. “I want to pursue it, but I feel it’s just impossible. It feels like a fairy tale. It’s so hard: You don’t have their names. You don’t know their dates of birth,” explained the Bronx Community College paralegal student. “It’s unfair that kids don’t get this information. It’s just crazy for NYC to have these closed adoptions,” Brown said.

A “Bill of Adoptee Rights,”is now pending in the state legislature that would permit any adoptee 18 and older to get a copy of their original birth certificate and allow birth parents to protect their privacy, should they want it, by completing a “contact preference form” indicating whether and how they are receptive to being contacted by a biological child.

Passage would help some seekers, but do little for people such as Bonilla, who was not adopted. Complicating his situation, he noted, was that “the lady had changed my sister’s name from Vanessa to Victoria,” even before the adoption’s completion, and he has no idea what her name might be now.

Some veterans of the system have no idea how many biological siblings might be out in the world wondering, too, about their roots. “My adoptive mom told me we had more brothers and sisters, but we all got split up,” recounted Roszella Turner, 23, a teacher’s assistant who lives in Canarsie, Brooklyn. She and her sister, Ottavia Turner, 21, a restaurant worker from Harlem, were adopted together by a foster mother. They said they returned to their foster care agency seeking information about their biological mother (the two have different fathers) and siblings, but were told their case was closed. “I’m mad at the system: They should keep records!” said Roszella. She would love to know more about her roots but feels powerless.. At least, Roszella said, she and Ottavia were adopted together: “It means everything to have my sister. We’ve been through so much together.” DNA helped resolve this birth mother search

Admin Ron; Lifetime of searching is aided by Search Angels, records,DNA and now Facebook to help others succeed in their searches…

Plattsburgh Adoptee Dawn Lewis finds family after 42 years

Dawn Lewis

Dawn Lewis

By Teah Dowling

First Posted: Monday, June 1, 2015 -2:18 p.m.

PLATTSBURGH — Phone calls and emails filled adoptee Dawn Lewis’ days trying to locate any detail about her birth family, who she finally made contact with 42 years later on May 30.

#After receiving back a DNA test from, along with more non-identifying information from the Clinton County Department of Social Services, she was able to link to her birth mother, who, along with the rest of her birth family, wish to remain unnamed.

#Dawn initially made contact with her sister through a private Facebook message after the Clinton County DSS revealed her birth mother’s name and middle initial and search angels located her sister’s name. From there, they exchanged numbers and talked on the phone, which eventually led to contact with her brother and lastly her birth mother.

#They all expressed that they wish to remain in contact with each other and pursue a relationship.

#“I have a whole new family, and I finally feel complete knowing who I am and where I came from,” Dawn said with joy. “It has been a very long journey filled with many disappointments and, now, a lot of happiness.”


#Case worker Joan Tyler told Dawn’s adoptive parents, Larry and Nancy Lewis, that she was born on or around Aug. 6, 1972, possibly at CVPH in Plattsburgh — weighing approximately six pounds and 14 ounces and possibly 19 7/8 inches long.

#According to non-ID information gathered by the Clinton County DSS, her birth mother was 24, or 20 or 22 according to her adoptive parents, at the time of her birth, who had two other kids, who were not gender specified at the time.

#When she was born, Dawn was given the name Lynette Mary or Lynette Marie, which she either obtained through her birth mother or the Clinton County DSS.

#Supposedly, a “grandmotherly” type woman took care of her until 3 months old when Larry and Nancy adopted her.

#Though she’s starting to discover what really is true, most of her non-ID information didn’t match the information her adoptive parents were given at the time of her adoption.


#After Dr. Pulrang delivered her and her birth mother signed the adoption papers Aug. 18, 1972, a Clinton County Social Services case worker handled and Judge Irving Goldman finalized the adoption with the military family.

#Larry was active in the air force. Dawn, her adoptive parents and their biological son and daughter traveled overseas and eventually ended up in Idaho where she still resides today.

#Dawn’s parents revealed her adoption at 7 years old.

#“There were ups and downs and there were some issues surrounded with being adopted,” she reminisced. “I never felt like I quite fit in.”

#Dawn began her search when she turned 18, stopped in 2003 and restarted again just a month ago because of her aunt Patti Roberts, who created a poster and generated it online to over 80 groups on Facebook throughout the Clinton County area.


#At the beginning of the search, Dawn had sought out a search angel to check her birth records at CVPH. The search angel said she had checked the CVPH birth records and there was no record of female birth on her birthday in that hospital.

#The same search angel contacted her once again when she restarted her search and said she didn’t actually check those records…she had checked the newspaper archives instead.

#Lewis had also contacted a unnamed female caseworker at Clinton County DSS for more or updated non-identifying information. The caseworker sent a letter back stating she didn’t respond to her request because she had already provided her the non identifying information.

“I wanted my children to know where they come from; I wanted my grandkids to know where they come from,” she said. “I needed to know.”

#After starting and restarting her search, being part of many registry and online search and reunion sites and days of emails, phone calls and internet searching, Dawn has finally made contact with her family.

#“I would like to thank my many supporters for sharing my story, giving words of encouragement and just being there when I need an ear, and I would like to give a very special thank you to my aunt,” she said. “Without her, along with my many supporters, this wouldn’t of been a possible search.”

“This whole process is very emotional, and you hit every emotion you can hit with it,” she said. “At one point, it absolutely consumed me to find my family, so I had to step away…I quit.”

#After her aunt approached her and offered to help find her birth family, Dawn had several people reach out to her through private messages and emails, most offering tips and advice from their own similar stories.

#She had one lady messaged her through Facebook saying she was looking for a half sister but did little responding since.


#When she restarted her search, she went straight to the commissioner with an email asking to provide her with all the non-identifying information.

#He responded to her a few weeks ago stating that a meeting needs to occur with legal representatives to see what information could be given. She heard back May 29.

#At that time, she found out the first name and middle initial of her birth mother and that her blood type is A- and Rh+. Non-identifying information in the past gave information stating that her birth mother’s mother had high blood pressure and diabetes and that her birth mother’s mother and grandmother were obese.

#After her aunt bought her a DNA kit from, she received the results recently, which she processed May 11, and made contact with her birth family.

#“First contact was a bit surreal and it was a bit nerve wracking…I feared rejection,” Dawn said. “But overall it was great and I’m hopeful and now looking forward to long relationships with my biological family.”


#Dawn’s drive for this search partially came from her having some serious medical conditions and concerns, making her unable to work.

#The driving force, however, was for the family she raised consisting of four sons and one daughter and two grandsons and one granddaughter.


#Dawn hopes to be able to get funds together so she can return to New York for a reunion with her birth family.

#Since she’s unable to work due to her medical conditions, it leaves another closed door to finding her family, but she’s optimistic that another door will open.

#“To just have names and pictures of my family is amazing,” Dawn expressed. “But now I’m hoping for one more miracle.”

#To learn more about Dawn’s journey, visit the Facebook page she created for her search called “Plattsburgh, New York Adoptee Searching for Birth Family.”

Facebook birth mother search; little public information to proceed with.

Admin Ron; It will be interesting to follow this scant information; yet another example of Facebook being the best possible solution to find his birth mother.

Following birth of son, Whitehall man launches search for birth mother

Lynn Olanoff | For lehighvalleylive.comBy Lynn Olanoff | For
Follow on Twitter
on May 29, 2015 at 6:30 AM, updated May 29, 2015 at 3:17 PM

Whitehall Township resident Andy Christman has always been curious about his birth parents, but the birth of his first child four weeks ago made him especially so.

Growing up in North Whitehall Township, Christman said his parents had always been upfront with him about the fact he was adopted. He’s tried on-and-off over his 29 years to find them, but never had much success.

But three weeks after his son, Greyson, was born, his girlfriend, Lauren Wood, was on Facebook and saw a photo of a Bethlehem woman looking for her birth mother. Christman decided to launch a Facebook search, as well.

“Ever since the birth of my son, it’s just been on my mind ever since,” Christman said. “(Facebook is) not a bad idea, especially with how connected everyone is these days – I figured I could give it a shot.”

Christman, who works in property management, said he’s been amazed with the response he’s had, with more than 6,000 people sharing his photo in two days.

Andy Christman looks for birth mother on FacebookWhitehall Township resident Andy Christman has posted this photo on Facebook to try to find his birth mother. (Courtesy photo | Andy Christman)Courtesy photo

“I never thought it would take off like this,” he said. “I’m really appreciative.”

Christman doesn’t have too many leads to go on. He knows his birthday – Dec. 15, 1985 – and that he was adopted through the former Catholic Social Agency in Allentown.

A family friend once collected for him a newspaper listing of births from his birthday and they were intrigued by the one listing of a boy born to an unnamed mother. Christman’s mother was 16 when she had him, so he surmises her name wouldn’t have been listed in the newspaper since she was a minor.

Christman recalls the hospital as being Muhlenberg Hospital, but the Bethlehem hospital never had maternity.

“All I know is it was a hospital in Allentown,” he said. “It could have been any local hospital.”

Christman’s adoption records include a few other tidbits about his birth parents. He knows his father was a bit over 6 feet tall and his mother was a bit over 5 feet tall, and they both had blond hair and blue eyes. They both liked swimming and his mom also liked horseback riding.

“I really feel like a Pound Puppy with the paperwork provided,” Christman said, referring to the children’s stuffed animal that comes with an adoption certificate.

Christman also knows his original first name was James. From what he’s been told, his mother tried keeping him for a month or two but had a hard time because she was so young so she gave him up for adoption. He was at the adoption agency for about four months before he was adopted at age 6 months, he said.

The Catholic Social Agency now operates as Catholic Charities. Christman once inquired into finding his birth mother through the agency, but was told it would be several hundred dollars and he’d have to write a letter not knowing if he’d get one in return.

“There’s a chance you might not get anything back,” he said. “I couldn’t see paying that much money.”

Catholic Charities charges $500 for a search because they use an online service that costs $175 a month and some searches can take thousands of staff hours, said Matt Kerr, spokesman for the Diocese of Allentown, Catholic Charities’ parent organization.

The diocese gets between 10 and 12 search requests annually and currently only handles one or two adoptions a year, Kerr said. At its height in the 1970s and ’80s, the agency handled about a dozen adoptions annually, he said.

Many adopted adults are turning to social media to find their birth parents, said Megan Lestino, a spokeswoman with the National Council for Adoption. And many of the online searches turn out successful, she said.

“Often times they’ve been able to find them – the dates and the hospital are often more than enough information,” she said. “I know someone personally who had a successful reunion.”

The Bethlehem woman who launched her search Sunday already had a possible lead to her birth sister within 24 hours. Christman hasn’t had immediate luck like that, but he said he’s received helpful information from people who directed him how he could find his original birth certificate.

“I just want to meet her and ask why I was given up,” Christman said. “I wouldn’t even know what to say, I would just be in awe in the first place.”

“Especially the day my son was born, I thought ‘Wow, I would love to know her now and especially meet her grandson,'” he said. 

Lynn Olanoff can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LynnOlanoff.

Birth mother search; facebook and now DNA continues.

Admin Ron; This search appears to be yielding result that will be determined in the next step by Ancestry DNA.

Woman searches for birth mother via Facebook and makes surprise discovery

May 29, 20155:34 AM MST

An adopted woman's search for her biological mom leads to another surprise.

An adopted woman’s search for her biological mom leads to another surprise.

Facebook/ Kathleen McGabe

Kathleen McGlade was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1992 and she was given up for adoption, which was orchestrated through an agency that no longer exists. With little to go on the chances of locating her birth mother weren’t very good as she had no avenue to take. Then Kathleen had an idea, she would make a plea on her Facebook page and see if the social media could carry her search to find her mother further than she could on her own, according to Yahoo Parenting News on May 28.

The 22-year-old’s search for her biological mother entailed posting a picture of herself that went viral. In the photo she is holding a sign that said:

“Hi! My name is Kathleen McGlade and I’m trying to locate my birth mother. I was born at home in Easton, PA on September 21, 1992 and brought to Easton Hospital in Easton, PA. I was then put up for adoption through Catholic Social Agency Diocese of Allentown. Please share this and help me find her! Please and thank you!”

One thing for sure, any mom would be proud to call this beautiful young woman her daughter. The photo was shared over 10,000 times making McGlade an overnight social media star. Feeling like her life has become a “Lifetime” movie with all the attention she was getting, she was thrilled, but what she really wanted was to find her biological mom or anyone who may have known who she is. Through all this she had her adoptive parents’ blessing to continue her search. Then something surprising happened just 24 hours after her picture was posted online, reports People Magazine.

A woman called to say that she thought that her mother was the woman McGlade was looking for. After communicating back and forth for a while, the two believed that they are sisters. The two women had many uncanny things in common. While it sounds promising, no one can be sure without DNA testing. It is bizarre how people find their relatives in life sometimes even before they set out on that search. According to a WGN TV Newsarchived article, a woman searching for her mother finds she had been married to her brother for seven years.

Both husband and wife had been searching for their biological mother in Brazil at different times in their lives, but they never even imagined that she could be one in the same woman. Still, with all the people in the world these two meet and fall in love. People have found out that their best friend is a long lost relative or a cousin they didn’t know they had. Is it fate or something deep within the gene pool that draws people together as friends or even lovers not knowing that they are family members?

Although McGlade believes she is this woman’s sister, there is only one way to know for sure and that is through a DNA test. With DNA testing being such a pricy venture, McGlade once again took to the social media and asked folks for help with donations to her GoFundMe page. She was trying to raise $700 for her DNA testing venture. Come to find out, her wishes were once again realized when offered to do the DNA testing for free. Will McGlade find that her instincts were correct that this woman is her sister? If so, she would join the many people who have experienced that instinct when meeting someone they are unknowingly related to.

Birth family search reveals genetic inclinations.

Admin Ron; Two women independently choose creative college writing class at same college in their 30’s and discover quickly that they are sisters adopted to different states when toddlers; what does this tell you about genetics?…

Sisters Separated by Adoption Reunite by Chance at College and Now Celebrate Graduation With Birth Mother

May 19, 2015, 1:58 PM ET


PHOTO: Katy Olson and Lizzie Valverde, two sisters separated as kids, find each other in a class at Columbia University.

Storybook Ending For Sisters Separated as Babies

When Lizzie Valverde graduated from Columbia University on Monday, she had two special supporters in the crowd: her long-lost sister and their birth mother.

Valverde, 35, and Katy Olson, 34, met two and a half years ago, on the first day of a writing class at Columbia.

Both women already had a lot in common: they were returning to college in their 30s and both wanted to pursue their passion of writing. But that day, the women discovered something more —that they are sisters.

PHOTO: Sisters Lizzie and Katy met in their Columbia University writing class, years after they were separated as children.

Anna OSullivan, Associate Director of Communications at Columbia University School of General Studies

PHOTO: Sisters Lizzie and Katy met in their Columbia University writing class, years after they were separated as children.

And when Valverde graduated from the Ivy League school on Monday, Olson was there for support — one year after her own graduation.

Valverde told ABC News that having her sister at graduation “felt amazing” because they met at Columbia. “So, to see the culmination of all of my efforts at this school … to have her there and know that I’m walking away with the greatest story, it was wonderful to have her there. It just felt like everything was coming together.”

What made the moment even more special, Valverde said, was her daughter got to walk up on stage with her to accept the diploma.

PHOTO: Two sisters separated as kids find each other find each other in a class at Columbia University.

Courtesy Columbia University

PHOTO: Two sisters separated as kids find each other find each other in a class at Columbia University.

“It was great,” Olson told ABC News today. “To see her graduate one year after I did was pretty incredible.”

Olson called it a “culmination of a lot of really hard work,” adding: “She was just trying to show herself and the world what she could do.”

Valverde’s graduation also marked an important occasion for Olson — Olson met their birth mother, Leslie Parker, for the first time on Sunday.

Parker, 54, was a teenager when she gave them up for adoption. As children, the sisters were adopted by different families — Valverde grew up in New Jersey while Olson was raised in Florida and Iowa.

PHOTO: The birth mom of Katy Olson and Lizzie Valverde is seen in this image.

PHOTO: The birth mom of Katy Olson and Lizzie Valverde is seen in this image.

Olson said when they met, she ran over and gave Parker a hug.

“I thought it went really well,” Olson said. “She was very open and it was nice to get to speak with her.”

“We were all talking and laughing,” Olson said. “We talked about a wide variety of subjects … my birth and why she wasn’t able to keep me … all the way to who’s your favorite male celebrity.”

Olson and Parker then sat together at Columbia on Monday as they watched Valverde graduate.

Parker told ABC News earlier over the phone that she, too, always dreamed of being a writer, but had never been given the chance.

“I’m so proud of them,” Parker said. “They’re both amazing, beautiful women.”

And for Valverde, nothing could top having her daughter, family, sister and biological mother at Columbia on Monday.

“To see both my moms together — that’s a pretty intense moment,” Valverde said. “With my family watching … all the people in my life who’ve gotten me to that point — especially my daughter — was really humbling.”

“It felt like all the things that matter in my life were very much there,” Valverde said.

Birth mother search yields troubling answers…

Admin Ron; Non-ID information results in opportunity to finally locate birth mother.

ABORTIONWed May 20, 2015 – 11:59 am EST

I finally found my birth mother. That’s when she told me the truth: she had been raped.

Sherry Hensley

(Savethe1) – Six years ago while on a trip home to visit my parents, I had the privilege to take a four-hour drive and meet a woman who I have come to know and admire her for her selfless love, her strength, and her act of courage in the middle of adversity – my birth mother.

Growing up, I always knew I was an adopted child. My parents did not keep it a secret and they loved me no matter if I was born into the family or adopted. My parents told me growing up that when I reached the age of 18, if I wanted to search for my birth parents, they would help me do it.

For many years, I dealt with some medical issues and had a lot of questions which adoptees think about. My adoption was “closed,” but in January of 2008, I decided to get my non-ID information.

ImageMe as a baby.

The day finally came when the packet arrived in the mail. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I waited until my husband got home from work to open it. That evening in January of 2008, I opened the packet, and we read it together. I was amazed as to what I was reading. As I read about my birth mother having taught children who had cerebral palsy, I felt so proud of her! 

The packet did not give very much information about my birth father, other than on one of the pages in big letters, where it said, “Alleged Father.” That is when I got the feeling that something bad had happened.  

After my husband and I finished reading the information, he told me he wanted for us to get to know my birth mother more, inspiring me to search for her. I called my parents, and I told them that I was going to continue to search for my birth mother.

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I wrote my birth mother an outreach statement without any names and emailed it to my caseworker. Several days went by and the days felt more like years. I continued to pray that God would work the situation out because I wanted to know who she was so I could thank her for choosing life.

The day finally came when I received a phone call from my caseworker. She said she had talked with my birth mother, and that she wanted to have contact with me! The caseworker told me that before she could give me all of the information, my birth mother wanted me to know the truth: she had been raped. 

The day I heard that I was conceived in rape, I chose not to become angry or bitter about my beginnings, and I chose to love my birth father. Why did I choose to love my birth father, who is a rapist? Because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, as well as the sins of my birth father. I chose to love him through the love of Jesus Christ. That day, God also gave to me a heart filled with so much love and compassion for my birth mother for what she’d endured!

It was several weeks after my birth mother was raped that she discovered she was pregnant. When she told her mother that she was pregnant, her mother was not thrilled with the turn of events and gave my birth mother three weeks to get out of the house. Her father had passed away in 1967 and so no one else was there to protect and defend her.  


She then went to live at a home for unwed mothers, and it was there that my birth mother started her healing process. The question went through her mind: what am I to do with this baby? My birth mother had to make a decision. She had no job, no permanent place to live, was not married, and no support from family. My birth father, of course, was out of the picture. In fact, she didn’t even know my birthfather’s name. 

ImageMe with my birth mother.

Her aunt though had an idea: she could arrange for her to have an illegal abortion with a doctor in Michigan (this was before Roe v. Wade).

However, my birth mother  knew that there was life growing inside of her womb – Life – given by God and a gift from God. My birth mother said her favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” She did not want to disrupt the plans which God had for the tiny life who was growing inside of her. When she decided to place me for adoption, her one request to the social worker was that her baby be placed in a strong Christian home.

When I was born, my birth mother had some complications. We both remained in the hospital for a week before she went home and I was released to my foster parent’s house. God blessed my birth mother with one week to love, care for and hold the baby girl she’d named Rebecca Ann. My birth mother and I were released from the hospital on the same day, and she said she then placed me into the hands of God.

When I got in contact with my birthmother, she told me, “I have always loved you, and you were the beginning of my healing process.” She also said what a lot of people don’t realize – that the baby who is conceived out of rape becomes a strong healing force in the situation. Why? Because out of something horrific and traumatic comes a precious human being, and the Giver of Life brings healing to the one who suffered.

The day I received  the information from my caseworker that my birth mother wanted to meet me, a feeling of completeness came over me, as well as a great love which I have for my birth mother.

I sent my birthmother an e-mail the night of Feb. 5th. In the morning, I checked my inbox and was excited to see that I had an e-mail from her which included a picture of her and her family. I have a half-brother and a step-sister. We exchanged further emails, and I called her and we chatted for a bit. It was a relief to know we were on the same page. She said, “Okay we need to talk about when we can meet.” My parents and my husband know me well, and that is the exact way that I would have said it! So we worked it out, and we had the day set for May 21& 22, 2008, as I was going to be home to spend some time with my parents for a vacation.

After almost 35 years, the day finally came that my mom, my dad, my husband and I got to meet my birth mother and half-brother. We met them at the hotel where we were staying, sat by the pool chatting, then went to a nice dinner. My birth mother had my half-brother pray over the food. Well, he prayed and he also thanked God for the reunion between his mom and her daughter. I about cried because of the immense joy I felt at that moment.

After dinner, we went to her house, and I got to see pictures of her when she was younger, and I looked so much like her! It was surreal. Genetics are wild.

The next day was wonderful as well, spending the afternoon with her, touring her home town, looking at more photos. She gave me a picture to keep, as well as a copy of the family lineage, which is so precious to have! I felt so blessed to spend time with her like that. I told her I felt I have met an older sister. My birth mother is someone from whom I can learn, and someone who I call my Special Friend. I couldn’t feel more blessed!


Yes, my biological great aunt wanted me to be aborted, but my birth mother chose life, and I was protected by law from an illegal abortion. God was faithful to my birth mother’s prayer: I was raised in a wonderful Christian home where faith was taught, and it was real.

God has been so very good to me, and He has blessed me beyond measure with amazing parents, a brother who also is adopted, a loving husband who I adore so very much, incredible friends and a tight-knit church family.  

I was conceived in rape, but I am loved.

Sherry Hensley is pro-life speaker from Maryland – conceived in rape, saved from an illegal abortion, and a blogger for Save The 1, where this column first appeared. She’s married to a Minister and loves to share her faith and inspire others. Her website is

News articles, tips and information about how to find my birth mother, find my birth father, find my birth family.

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