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Answers for Allison

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Posted: 4/18/2009
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

Like most birth mothers, Kathleen gave her daughter up for adoption out of love.

"I was 16 years old when I got pregnant. I lived in an abusive, alcoholic environment and did not want to raise a child in that environment. I have been searching for her on my own for several years, but I hit a dead end. I feel like a part of me is missing and would really like to be part of her life if she will let me."

Through the years Kathleen wondered if her baby was healthy and happy with her new family. She wondered what her name was, and thought of her as "Amanda" in her mind. For years she yearned to fill the hole in her heart, yet worried that she had given up the privilege the day she signed the adoption papers.

Kathleen first spoke with SQA search consultant Matthew on April 4th. Matt explained to Kathleen that at Search Quest America, we make every effort to be forthcoming with our clients and only take cases we feel are "solveable." Kathleen decided to pursue her search, and forwarded the signed contract right away. She was shocked when a few hours later, Matt called back and said that SQA head researcher Susan had already found her daughter. "It was just mean to be," Susan recalls. "I was just getting started with the preliminary research and everything fell into place."

Kathleens first question was, "Will you tell me her name?" She wept silently when Matt replied, "Allison. Her name is Allison." A few minutes later after the emotion sank in, Kathleen opened her email account and saw a photograph of her daughter for the first time. "Shes beautiful! She has my red hair and my eyes."

Yet through the emotion, Kathleen was able to keep a clear head and proceeded with caution. Instead of picking up the phone and calling Allison right then and there, she waited until Susan called Allison as a third-party intermediary.

Susan recalls, "I called and left a message on Allisons cell phone. I said Hi, this is Susan with Search Quest America. This is the phone call you have probably been waiting 32 years to receive. Its about March 18, 1977. Call me." When Allison got the message, she happened to be in the middle of the airport. She had just arrived in New York City for a weekend getaway with her girlfriends. When she called Susan back and discovered that her birth mother was trying to contact her, she was in shock. Next, she felt excited. Finally, she felt cautious. She was unprepared for the reunion, but willing to talk to Kathleen as long as she agreed to move forward at Allisons pace through email.

Susan called Kathleen back right away and provided Allisons email address. Kathleen spent hours trying to find the right words for that first contact. She wanted to express her love and explain her reasons for giving Allison up for adoption. Yet she also wanted to communicate her respect for her privacy and her hope that they would be able to build a relationship, albeit slowly.

Kathleen and Allison have been corresponding via email for just a few weeks now. Kathleen plans to visit Allison in Washington this summer, but in the mean time they correspond regularly through email. "Im glad it worked out this way, instead of just running out to Washington to see her. This way we get to know each other."

Most importantly, Kathleens heart is finally at ease knowing that "Allison is grateful I didnt put her through the things I went though. She had a happy life, and thats what matters. Plus, she feels that this happened at a good time in her life. We are building a great foundation through our emails. I am very lucky that she understands why I gave her up. I now feel good about the decision I made. I don't know where this is going to take us, but you changed my life. A part of me is now at peace and I am looking forward to building a relationship with my daughter and my two granddaughters. Thank you."

(Written by Mica Burton on Kathleens behalf.)
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