by Kathleen Anderson

A dear friend in her mid-80s told me, while I was sharing the
trials of my genealogy research, that she was adopted and had
promised her mother she would not search for her birth mother as
long as her mother lived. Her mother lived to age 95, so my
friend Helen thought it was much too late to find anything at
that time. I asked her if she would like to know something now
and she said yes. I was given a few papers with the birth
mother's name and where Helen was born. I began searching and
over a year and a half gathered information about everyone I
could find in the late 1800s to the present time with her birth
mother's surname in South and North Dakota, putting everything
in a binder not knowing who was connected.

I found a willing person involved with a historical society and
must have piqued her appetite for mystery solving as she began
to hunt along with me. We filed for the court to unseal Helen's
adoption records and we waited many months for a result. Six
weeks ago the records were unsealed and we found the birth place
of Helen's mother. With that it confirmed who her mother was --
the only person with that name in the small North Dakota town
and exactly the perfect age. I found a distant relative of the
birth mom who referred me to an aunt who had lost contact with
this branch of the family, and who gave me the married name,
death date, and place last lived for Helen's birth mom. I called
the office of vital statistics in that state and had a death
certificate sent overnight. On the death certificate was the
the name of a daughter with an address. Although 20 years had
passed, the address was good. I found the phone number and
nervously explained my reason for calling.

>From that contact my friend Helen, who was raised by a loving
pastor and his wife, but as an only child, now has met a
wonderful brother, Earl, living two hours from her. She has two
other brothers and a sister, 15 nephews and five nieces, one of
whom is a U.S. senator. Through a great-grandmother, Helen is
also a descendant of William PENN. My friend just celebrated her
85th birthday two days ago and received a large bouquet of
flowers from her brother Earl and his wife and lots of beautiful
birthday cards from all over the United States from new-found
family who are welcoming her. This Saturday [11 March 2000],
Helen and her two grown children along with my husband and I
will be going to Earl's for lunch and a surprise party for
Helen. As many family members as possible will be there to meet
my friend.

I write this to encourage others. Who would have guessed that
such a wonderful outcome was possible? And Helen thought it was
too late.

unless specifically stated otherwise, PROVIDED: (1) the reprint
is used for non-commercial, educational purposes; and (2) the
following notice appears at the end of the article:

Written by Kathleen Anderson. Previously published by Julia M. Case
and Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, Missing Links, Vol. 5,
No. 11, 15 March 2000. RootsWeb: