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Updated: October 15, 2018 

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Updated: October 15, 2018 

Reunion Stories

Everyone's here...no, not everyone

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Posted: 6/27/2009
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

I have been searching for my birth mother for a number of years now. Until recently, I kept hitting brick walls. My siblings and I were dropped off at McLaren Juvenile Hall in California by our mother shortly after our father passed away. I was only two years old. We entered the foster system from there. My sister and I were lucky enough stay together, but our other two brothers and sister were put into separate homes. Eventually, our siblings came to live with us, and we all grew up together.

We need to know the real story of why we were thrown into the foster system. We have no ill feelings toward our mother; we feel that she was going through a very hard time in her life and possibly also suffered from medical problems. My sister, her daughter and I all suffer from migraines and we understand how debilitating they can be. It stands to reason that we probably inherited them from our mother. We just want to meet her and let her know we all turned out okay. I really believe that she felt she was doing the best thing for us.

All I knew about her when I contacted Search Quest America was her name--Nancy Lee. I also knew that she would have been about 23 when I was born in 1961. My case was assigned to Julie, who turned out to be much more than my researcher, but a dear friend. She held my hand through the whole process. She might not have known exactly where I was coming from, but I knew she was on my side every step of the way. I can't say enough about how she went above and beyond to solve my case--she even called me from the hospital one day while she was waiting to have surgery. There she was enduring trials of her own, and she called ME to let me know she would be out of touch for a few days and that she didn't want me to worry. From the very first phone call I received from your company, I knew that you must all really love your job. Each one of you is professional, but so caring and kind at the same time. I can tell you really love solving puzzles for people.

The first piece of my puzzle was a cousin, who told Julie the whole sordid story from my paternal family's side. My father's death was supposedly caused by a heroin overdose. Nancy Lee had a boyfriend who supplied the drugs, and when my dad was killed she ditched the kids and ran off with him, never to be seen again. The family has wondered what happened to us for all of these years, and at every holiday when someone would say, "Ok, everyone's here, we can eat!" my grandmother would quietly remind them with tears in her eyes, "No, not everyone."

I was first put in contact with my paternal family about a month ago, and the reunion has been amazing! They used to live on the same block as my mother, and when she abandoned us, she simply disappeared. They never knew we grew up in foster care and were never given the opportunity to adopt us. They are kind, caring people and have welcomed us into their family with open arms. My siblings and I were invited to a family reunion in Reno where we met tons and tons of cousins, aunts and uncles, and people came from far and wide to meet us. Unfortunately my grandmother died four years ago, but we all know she would have been so happy to know that finally, were all together again.

Julie also found my birth mother alive and well in Louisiana. Not all the news I have received has been positive. Learning that my mother had a heroin problem was shocking, but also made me grateful that I was spared that life. I have spoken with her over the phone a few times, and in a few weeks we will be driving through her town and getting together for coffee to talk. I honestly don't know how much of the story I've heard is true. She swears that she has never had a drug problem and that my father's death was not caused by drug overdose. I am looking forward to setting the story straight once and for all. I never knew a person could be so full of hope, yet wary at the same time. I hate the word closure, but that's exactly what it is. You know the saying, "you can't have peace until you have all the pieces?" Thats where I'm at right now. It doesn't matter how it turns out from here, it just matters that I have the answers I was looking for. I know who I am and where I'm going in my life, but at the same time it brings great peace to know where I come from.

Linda, Julie, Search Quest America, I can't thank you all enough for the service you have provided. I am telling everyone I know what a great experience I had. I know you probably have hundreds of cases, but I always felt like mine was the only one. Thank you for giving me my family back.

(Written by Mica Burton on Johnel's behalf.)

Client ID#237646
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