Tag Archives: Facebook

Touched By An Angel

Remember I told you about my search for biological family on Facebook? Well, it fizzled.  But I have good news. Working with an excellent search angel, who found me here, I have connected with five family members on my mother’s side.

Talking to these people over the phone, I’ve learned quite a bit about my late mother’s life. (I will tell you more about it later.  It made me cry.)  My family members promised to send photos of my mother. I can’t wait to see them.

Thank you, Marilyn Waugh, for digging up the official records for me.  Waugh, past president of the American Adoption Congress, conducts adoption searches for the Kansas state government. She also directs Adoption Concerns Triangle of Topeka, a search and support group.

bigger photo of marilyn waugh
Search angel Marilyn Waugh

“I became a search angel after searching and connecting with my birth son, Michael,  24 years ago,” Marilyn says. “People helped me on my journey and, as a ‘thank you,’ I help others.”

(You can reach Marilyn Waugh at her website.)

I never would have been able to find the records without Marilyn. Believe me I tried. I got lost in the weeds trying to navigate the online directories. For amateur searchers like me, piecing together family history gets tricky when you’re trying to track down your mother. My mother was married twice so she had three names during her life.

Marilyn uncovered a census record from 1940 and that pushed our search in the right direction.  I wanted to make sure the woman we found on public records was my birth mother. Marilyn dug up an address for her on Ancestry.com and it matched her address as it appears on my birth certificate. That plus the conversations with relatives connected the dots for me.

I don’t have all the answers to my questions. I would like to find out who my father was and would love more details about my mother’s life. My ethnic background is still unclear. I also want to know how my adoptive parents got connected with my birth mother in the 1960s.

If you want to track down your family, find a search angel. These search experts do not charge for their services or, if there is a small fee, it covers the cost of database access. You can find a search angel by visiting G’s Adoption Registry or by contacting a representative from your state at the American Adoption Congress. Word-of-mouth recommendations are another good source.

I would love to hear about your search for family. What was it like?


The Search for Family

I started my search for biological relatives. I sent 25 messages to strangers on Facebook who share my birth mother’s maiden name – Arvin.

I am hoping one of these strangers will offer clues about my birth mother, a woman I’ve never met. I wrote a nice, polite letter of introduction with the few facts I have about this woman – her name, place of birth, age when she had me.  So far, I’ve only heard back from one Arvin. She said birth mom is not related to anyone in her family and hinted at a possible family tie in Kentucky.  I am pursuing people in that state along with Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Courtesy of Flickr/psycho_pixie
(Probably) not my family members

So this is how searches go. You wait and wonder who will respond to your message. You check email and Facebook frequently. You try not to think about it too much.

Some adoptees post their photos with a “help-me-find-my-family” message on Facebook and other social media sites. That could be a quicker way to get results, especially when the photos go viral, but I’m not ready to put myself out there just yet.

I’m sure there are more efficient ways to track down biological relatives but I chose Facebook because it’s free and relatively painless. I may spend money on DNA tests or travel to the Midwest to continue the hunt but for now I’ll stick with social media. What strategies have you used to find blood relatives?

Finding Biological Family on Facebook

In the Huffington Post, Courtney Hardy recalled accidentally finding out she was adopted as a teenager. As a young adult, she used official sources and Facebook to track down her birth parents and other biological relatives.

Hardy’s journey to find family took her to San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, Ireland and England. Luckily, she got a warm welcome from everyone she met along the way. It’s an interesting story that apparently had a happy ending for the adoptive and biological families and especially for Hardy.

Photo courtesy of Keoni Cabral

“Meeting my relatives has given me perspective on how profoundly lucky I am to have such wonderful and supportive parents, as well as an extended birth family in my life,” Hardy wrote in the Huffington Post. “In a way, through getting to know them, I feel like I’ve finally gotten to know myself.”

A growing number of adults who were adopted are using Facebook to find family members who share their DNA, according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, which conducted a comprehensive study on the Internet’s profound impact on adoption. The Adoption Institute believes the laws that make it difficult for people to access important information about adoption, including statutes that prevent adopted people from obtaining their original birth certificates, should be repealed.

According to the Adoption Institute, the Internet obviates the rationale for the laws, which was to keep the affected parties from learning about and finding each other. Makes sense to me.