I have been debating writing this for a few days now. I am sure this topic will take more than one post, and I do not want to get too deep into my personal life so early into my blogging experience, but I think it is important for people out there to hear. The realities of foster care and adoption through the eyes of Mr. Lazy Lad. Now, Mr. supports me in my endeavors, but he is a very private man. I am going to try to find a happy medium between the blogging world and his personal privacy. For one, no names will be used, and some information will be withheld.
As this posting is about the journey of finding his family, I will not be discussing his life prior to meeting me, other than the fact that he was in foster care for many years, later adopted as an older teenager to a family he really did not like. He has forever had a longing to have a family since he did not feel that with his adopted parents. He has adopted brothers that he (and I) get along with, but it was not the same. He knew that he had biological siblings out there, and was even fostered with one for some time during his older childhood and pre-teen years.
There were many steps we had to take in order to find his biological family, and if you are looking for your family you can contact me via the Contact page and I will try to help you further
The first step we took was trying to find any organization that would have any information on his life pre-adoption. Had I done research I would have known that the state holds these records, however, I had tried contacting the city and county clerks as well as foster care organizations in the city he was born, the city in which he resided while in foster care, and the city he was adopted. It took over a month I am guessing before one of them said: “Hey, you know there is an adoption program office through the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS in my state, other states may have differing terms).” He got in contact with the head of the closed adoption records, and within 2 months they had sent us around 1,000 pages of his records (so many because he was in foster care for so long, and it was in the late 1990s and the 2000s so they had kept records of everything). If you are an older adult, if you are in a different state, or were not in foster care as long they may not have as many records. I have seen some as short as 1 page simply stating parent’s height, hair and eye color, age at birth, and occupation. I believe these are more for the children that were adopted at birth rather than foster-to-adopt.
Months into the process, we obtained his court documents. What I believed would be “non-identifying information” like stated above, was in fact everything. Which, when he had contacted the head of closed adoptions he told her he wanted everything she could find. This may be painful for some of you if you were in a bad situation at birth, so I want to warn you, they leave nothing out. If you do not wish to find out that information make sure to tell your state’s closed adoption worker to withhold information about your life in your birth home, that you are only seeking sibling information.
The first page listed his birth parents full names, dates of birth, and last known location. Wow! Blunt. But he was not searching for his parents, so I ignored this information (I did later use this info, but I will get to that). On the same page, it listed his siblings full (birth) names and dates of birth. Below that would have been their last known address as well, but for their protection, those had been blacked out either on a computer or with permanent marker, I could not tell.
Right in front of us was all the information we needed to find his siblings. Granted, their last names have changed since they were all adopted, but we have their birth dates so it shouldn’t be too hard, right? That’s what I thought anyway. At this time they had ranged in age from 22 to 15 so I took right to social media to try to find anything with their first name and date of birth. I knew where they went to elementary school and assumed where they went to high school but found nothing.
Step 3 (some of these will be out of order because I was doing multiple steps at the same time).
I read. I know I skimmed through his documents from the state at least 10 times looking for anything. I wrote down all dates and names that they missed on blacking out. It took me about 3 times of reading the full documents in order to catch everything because as I thought I was reading word for word I guess I would get so exhausted that I would occasionally miss something.
I know I had read it before. I even distinctly remember writing it down, but thinking “there is no way”. The last name of the couple that had fostered both Mr. Lad and his brother. I had it wrote on the paper, but I guess I thought it was the name of a case worker or something. I didn’t write down what all the names and dates were for, just that I knew one of them may be important. I go to Facebook and type in the last name thinking maybe if they were a younger couple when they fostered they might have Facebook. I could contact them and see if they know what happened to the brother. Clear as day, I find a picture of a man that bears a shocking resemblance to my boyfriend with the same first name as his brother and the same last name as this couple that fostered them 10 years ago.
Step 4 (concurrent with step 3)
While I was struggling to find information on his siblings, I asked him if he would be interested in finding cousins or any other relatives. His response was solely that he did not want to contact his parents. I did not contact his parents, but since I knew their names I did find them on Facebook, go to their friends list, and find anyone with the same last name. [side note: I knew it was his parents because they were friends with one another. Had they not been, I do not know if I would have contacted family members not knowing it was the right family or not]. It took quite a few months for any of them to respond, but his cousin messaged me (actually called me about 5 times on Facebook while I was in class, sent me about 10 messages, and told me to contact her immediately). Turns out they had been looking for the cousins (Mr. and his siblings) since the time they knew about them. She had no contact with either of his biological parents and only wanted to find the siblings.
Now, this was a complete left-field step, that is one-in-a-million and likely will not work for anybody reading this post, but I have to add it because that is how crazy this whole thing is. Now that I have found his cousin E (and I was close to finding his brother), she and I are posting all over social media any information we have about the rest of his siblings in hopes that someone will share and help us find them. A distant cousin contacts E and lets her know something that will forever change our lives. Distant Cousin had a biological sibling that was adopted. When she got older, she reached out and found her biological family (Distant Cousin). The sister (of distant cousin) had been adopted by the same couple that adopted Mr’s siblings. (So both Mr. Siblings, and their distant cousin were adopted by the same family). I now have their dates of birth and the family name that adopted them.
Bringing it all together, it was a mix of 2 years of research, fate, and dedication that led us to the days we found them. Within one month of each other, we had found his older brother, 4 younger siblings, and found out he had 3 more half-siblings he knew nothing about. The journey to finding them was long and exhausting, but the path of creating a family has been even harder (for a future posting, I cannot emotionally type right now).
So although his journey was nothing like what yours will be, the tips I have for you are: Contact your state to get non-identifying information (and identifying if you can handle it). Read and re-read. Write down any names, dates, or locations they may have missed when blacking out. If you have connections with your adopted parents, talk to them. They may be more open than you think to letting you have closure. BE PATIENT, it will not come overnight, in a month, or maybe even in a year.
Join support groups. Search Squad on Facebook was an amazing group of angels that helped me get my brain in order to search my information. They have helped many, many people who did not have all the information I did, but for me, I had the information to do it myself, I just lost the brain some days to keep going. To keep reading what I was and to seek the information.
I am not an authorized Search Angel (from Search Squad) but if you would like me to help you process your information and be a supporter for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It was a long and terrifying journey for Mr and I and we are still going through the journey. I wish I had more support when I was doing it, so I will be here for any of you.
If any of you are foster/adopted parents, I would love to hear your views on your children seeking their biological once they are older. If you are an adopted parent, how would you feel if you received an email/letter from your birth child? If you are an adopted child I do not want you to feel pressured to contact your birth parents, but I would love to hear if you have any thoughts on this.
IF you are looking to find someone who was adopted or if you were adopted looking to find biological, please correspond with me via the Contact page so I can help you further. It is okay to comment on here to get your information out to other adoptees/parents, but the in-depth portion will have to be done via personal communication. I can give further details on any one of these steps if anyone would like, or if you have any questions for me or Mr. I will be sure to answer.
The Lazy Lassie.