My adoptive father and mother died in 1979 and late 1993, respectively. Being with my mother through her passing was such a strong, and ultimately healing experience for us both that in late 1994 I decided to find my biological mother to thank her for my life, and to offer whatever presence of mine she might wish in her life. The search began with the government channels available to adoptees seeking information about their biological parents at that time, from the Registrar of Vital Statistics which issued my birth certificate, through social services records, and the State Judiciary system which ordered release into my possession of all non-identifying information from my birth State. This was achieved via correspondence, as I lived in a foreign country, and there was a lot of lag time while mails went back and forth. Time to assimilate information and acknowledge that it was important to me in ways i'd not suspected. Two years later, I had reached the end of that process, and still hadn't found my family.
I learned of Adoptee's Identity Discovery (A.I.D.) from a friend who had seen them on Oprah! and copied out their contact information for me. The first time I wrote, there was no response for a couple of months, but I persisted, and the second time, they responded that they could help, and told me how to proceed. I joined the organization, and within a month had my birth mother's present name and location in hand. A.I.D. also required that I call them before trying to make contact, which I did. Their advice was excellent, timely, and non-invasive, honoring my need to know AND my birth mother's right to privacy, while yet giving us a gentle opening into whatever we might make of the relationship. An undeniably awkward situation on both sides, I had no particular expectation of what that might be. My bottom line was to thank her for the gift of my life, and to ask for any pertinent medical information about what is carried in my blood, and through me passed into my own children.
The A.I.D. counseling and introductory phrases were absolutely vital; impeccable. As a result, the preliminary call went well (a $40 long-distance phone call) and was followed up by mutual correspondence for several months before we finally met face-to-face. It's uncanny to meet one's biological mother for the first time after nearly 50 years of life! But beautiful, too, and interesting to note that not only do we share some physical characteristics, but also some attitudes and feelings. The whole nature vs. nurture debate took on real meaning for me then. I had never known my nature before.
Now, nearly twenty years later, I am still in awe of how well A.I.D. served me in my search, and especially am grateful for the wisdom of their mentoring through the last few months of that process, which included a quick check-in with them before contacting my birth father as well, and eventually meeting his family. A heartfelt THANK YOU, Neil! from Meredith in Ecuador.
Review from Guidestar