Reunions Really Do Happen
(yes, even in Pennsylvania)
There's no other way to say it.  I got lucky.

I was born in 1960 in New Jersey, and my adoption was finalized in Pennsylvania.  Neither state was really helpful, but then, looking back, I may have been knocking on the wrong doors.  Still, no one knew the right ones.

Since about 1983 I had wanted to get serious about my search but had no idea how.  In early 1999, I ran across someone's adoption page and followed one link, to another, to another, and before you knew it, I realized that I was just one of many people lacking the basics of life, like knowing who I was, where I was born, how I got here, my ethnic background, a scrap of family history.  It was a whole 'nother world out there and I wasn't alone.

One thing led to another and I discovered the world of adoption mailing lists.  Warning to anyone looking:  Don't join every one you can find and think you'll get a better shot at a reunion that way.  All you'll get is frustrated and a stuffed mailbox! Find a few long-established ones that focus on search and support, and find a state mailing list for your state.  (See link on upper left.)  Since adoption laws vary by state, getting the lowdown on your search turf really helps.)

I joined the state list for PA called PAFind.  Two months later my one birthsister applied to join the same list.  As dumb luck would have it, the owner actually remembered that I had a birthmark in the same place my sis had mentioned.  Voila!  A match was made!

I have gotten a terrific new family, two parents and 3 siblings, all great additions to my life.  My parents are fabulous people (teen affair that got a bit out of hand LOL), and my sibs are quietly rowdy like me!  It is thrilling for the first time to look at others and see how I fit into the whole human scheme now. It makes me feel tranquil and charged up at the same time. And, my heavens, I found a few people with my heavy eyebrows and deep cheekbones. In this family I look NORMAL. And like my birthmom, I am doing accounting work, so that was funny to learn too. My birthfather and I share the same taste in foods (junk) and both of us claim chilli cheese dogs as a favorite.  Isn't this all mundane?  Yes, but it's so nice to know your interests and quirks are not yours alone, that you come by them honestly. If this is all too goofy for you, then realize I also got a complete health history which is darned useful, and makes me feel less stupid at the doctor's when I'm asked the inevitable "Does this run in your family?" And, now I see myself as part of a continuum and not as an isolated being. It's a natural and good feeling everyone should have.

I am not great at search, but from time to time I will add links to this page that may be of help.  Mostly I just wanted to get the word out there more: 

•What you want is not abnormal. Everyone else has it, so don't apologize for what you need.

•Most birthparents DO want to be found and know you are ok.

•Laws in NJ and PA stink, but there are resources to help you get what you can legally, on the Internet and through the states.

•Take time away from search when you have to, so you can keep going later.

•Don't give up!  Ever!    

Happily and gratefully reunited,

Joanna V.

My Favorite Links:
Pennsylvania Search Info
State Mailing Lists
THE BIGGEST ONE THERE IS! And it's FREE! International Soundex Reunion Registry
My friend June, a PA reunited bmom speaks out about her reunion
Adoption Search and Reunion
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