Face to Face By Valentine's Day

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Face to Face By Valentine's Day

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Posted: 2/1/2012
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

I have 3 sons (Alex, Josh, and Tyler) who were put up for adoption in 1989. Their birth father had custody but was unable to provide for them; he contacted a social worker to put them up for adoption. I had no idea this was going on until the social worker contacted me. I was so young at the time. I didn't know what to do but the social worker counseled me not to stand in the way of the adoption. However I was able to make an important stipulation. I would only relinquish my rights if all three of our boys were adopted together. It was important to me that they stay together no matter what.

Months later I was told the boys were adopted by a minister and his wife somewhere in Northern California. After a few years I had another daughter, and when she was five years old I remarried and had 3 additional children. I always remembered Alex, Josh, and Tyler. Once they were old enough to understand it, I told my children about their 3 brothers. I yearned to meet them one day. I hoped they were happy and healthy. When my other four children were grown and out of the house, I dedicated myself to finding them. I have been especially focused on finding them for the past three years.

I did a lot of work on my own but wasn't getting anywhere. I saw the Locator, wrote into the website, and sent an email. That was about a year and a half ago. It wasn't until September of 2011 that I was contacted by SQA. The call came out of the blue, but I was excited to learn that SQA could help me locate my sons. Linda and Susan took their time talking to me and I knew I could trust them.

After I first spoke with Susan, it wasn't very long before I spoke with the boys. Susan found them within a matter of weeks. She called and asked permission to contact them, and to give them my contact information. This was the end of September. She talked with my youngest, Tyler. Unfortunately Tyler wasn't ready to be reunited with me, but he called Alex, who called me the next day.

Our first conversation was so emotional. There was a lot of "oh my God I can't believe this." Tyler had been searching for me for about 40 years. It was emotional and exciting and it was fun. We talked for hours that first weekend. I told him stories from my life and he loved learning about me and how Irish he is. Those were unforgettable, wonderful days.

It hasn't all been perfect. One heartbreaking thing I learned is when I insisted the boys be adopted together, I actually caused them to remain in foster care longer than they might have otherwise. I hadn't considered it would be hard to find someone to adopt three boys together. He told me stories about his life in foster care, and my heart ached to know what they went through. I thought I was doing the best thing for them to keep them together, but then I found out it actually hurt them. I agonized about whether I had done the right thing or not.

Unfortunately Josh and Tyler aren't ready to meet me. My main contact has been with Alex. I understand that because Josh and Tyler were a lot younger, so they wouldn't remember me and their dad. But Alex does. So they know that Alex and I are in contact and talk all the time. But I've also told Alex to make sure they know there's no pressure. It's absolutely up to them. I am willing to give them time to adjust to the idea of meeting me, and I can even accept they might not want to at all. But in my heart I know it will happen one day.

My advice to those searching for their own loved ones is to be patient. I know when you are looking for someone you've lost, you're anything but patient. You run into so many roadblocks and it makes it even harder. But persevere! Don't be afraid to ask for help, but don't be too pushy. You have to respect their wishes and trust that someday, when they're ready, they'll come to you.

Also, learn to appreciate the little gestures. Last month, Alex sent me a Christmas card. It was the most touching card I've ever received, number one because I got to see his handwriting for the first time. And number two I was able to touch something he touched. I know it seems like such a small thing, but to me it meant more than I can put into words. I wrote him a letter and sent it off the other day, just so he can have the same experience of seeing my handwriting and touching something I touched. Every day we email back and forth, and we always talk Friday or Saturday. Our goal is to meet face to face by Valentine's day, and I am so looking forward to hugging my baby boy again. I'm so grateful to SQA for making our reunion possible, and I'm grateful to Alex for having such an open heart and letting me be a part of his life. I only hope that in time, I'll be able to have the same relationship with Tyler and Josh.

(Written by Mica Burton on behalf of Debbie, a SQA client.)
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