Wednesday, May 20, 2020

My First Experience as a Search Angel

Since my genealogical research is at a brick walls that don't appear to have any cracks, I've become frustrated at not having any success at finding anything. I thought that if I took a look at someone else's problem, I might be able to relieve that frustration. I thought that if I tried my hand at tracking down the birth parents of an adoptee, it would be an amazing feeling. What I discovered is that the biggest challenge at becoming someone's Search Angel is being able to start the research. Typically when I encounter someone posting a request on any genealogical or DNA testing groups on Facebook, someone has already responded to them. One time when I was the first to respond, they didn't trust the process that I'd need to see their DNA test results. I understand this suspicion and appreciate it. You should always have suspicion when someone is requesting access to your private information. The problem is that they won't be able to help you without that information. Finally, on Thursday, May 14, I reached out to someone looking for a Search Angel and began the search.

She had several close relatives and we quickly narrowed down the likely surnames of both her parents to three or four potential surnames. This quickly came down to the two surnames that were likely her parents' last names. We were down to one family of siblings on one side and a group of 5 or 6 cousins on the other side. The adoptee's contact attempts with her DNA matches gave some context to what I was discovering in DNA matches and genealogical information. Finally, a match that appeared to be her aunt replied and said that her sister had given up a little girl for adoption at the time the adoptee was born. She put them in touch.

Last night, I received a message from the adoptee. She said she spoke with her mother and said she was very kind. She learned a bit about what her mother was going through at the time of her birth and it sounds like she did the right thing in giving up her daughter for adoption. She gave what she remembered of the father's name, given it was a short-term relationship, really not much more than a one night stand. This first name told us exactly who the father was in my research. This told us that her father had passed away in 1992. She also learned that her mother had recently lost a son. I can only imagine what her mother's thoughts are at the moment. I received this message right after dropping my stepson off at his home after he was released from the hospital. He was in ICU on oxygen due to COVID-19 for five days and in the hospital for another day and had just been released. What was my reaction to her message? I lost it. Tears of joy and sorrow and stress and relief all at the same time. There are absolutely no words to describe my feelings.

The last time we exchanged messages, the adoptee's plans are to continue speaking with her mother and figure out the best relationship for the two of them. Then, eventually, once her emotions settle down after that, to reach out to one of the individuals who appears to be a sibling of her father, to see if someone would be willing to take a DNA test to confirm who we believe is her father.

My final thoughts? I want to keep doing this. I want to help adoptees find their biological families. The feeling is even better than I expected it to be.


1 comment:

  1. It sounds like your first experience was very rewarding. Good for you that you've decided to keep being an angel. :)Sorry to hear that your stepson was so ill with COVID-19, but excellent to know that he is back at home. Hope you have no more issues with the virus.