Posts Tagged ‘adoption reunion’

Memoir about adoption reunion

Monday, January 11th, 2016

This weekend my friend Marie asked me if I only read books about adoption. (We’re in the same Guatemalan adoptive families group and book club.) The answer, I realized, is yes. (Or mostly yes– I’m a dedicated fan of Gretchen Rubin’s organizing and de-cluttering books, an ongoing project.) For whatever reason, I’m obsessed with the subject of adoption, and try to learn about it from every perspective and angle. Which leads me to another book recommendation, a memoir: Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twins Separated and United, written by Anais Bordier and Samantha Futerman.

Anais and Samantha are twins born in Korea, separated for unknown reasons and adopted to one family in France, the other in the US. The subject is particularly timely because the twins found each other through social media, which, as you know, is a growing phenomenon. Reading the book, I gained a real sense of how it felt for Anais and Samantha to meet a blood relative for the very first time. Powerful stuff. Samantha is an actress in LA, and Anais a fashion designer educated in England and living in Paris. Their families must be proud.


A quarterback and his birth mother

Friday, December 7th, 2012

I’ve written many times about searching for and finding our children’s birth mothers, and how, for our family, that connection remains vital. But not everyone feels the way I do, as evidenced by this article about the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaerpernick, who was relinquished at six weeks, and his birth mother, who would like to establish a relationship with him as a grown man.

There are many 49ers fans who would love a moment of contact with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

But the one with the deepest, yet most tortured connection is Heidi Russo, his biological mother who gave him up for adoption.

When she watches him from the stands, she hopes that one day, they can again meet.

“Then the other half of me calms me down and I just sit there and cheer like the rest of the people,” Russo told Yahoo’s Jason Cole. “I kept looking at him, thinking our eyes might meet. He might finally see me. I kept thinking it happened, but he never came to see me after the game.”

For his part, Kaepernick hasn’t sought out contact, and Russo said she respected his decision.

But she has also met with Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, the couple she turned her baby over to six weeks after he was born.

“I knew they were the right people immediately,” said Russo. “The first thing Teresa did when she met me was give me a hug. They were such giving, wonderful people from the moment I met them.”

They also set the stage for Kaepernick to grow up in a comfortable, two-parent home which the then-19-year-old Russo could not.

“I know I couldn’t have given Colin everything he needed growing up,” Russo said. “But I ask myself a lot of the time, ‘Would loving him have been enough?’ . . .

Be sure to read the comments following the article; they demonstrate the range and depth of emotion surrounding adoption, for people who are adopted and for the mothers who relinquished them. Once again I’m reminded that nothing about adoption is simple, or easy.


Astrid Dabbeni, adopted from Colombia, searches for and finds her birth mother

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Adoption Mosaic founder Astrid Dabbeni, 41, of Portland, Oregon, recently searched for and found her long-lost birth mother, Carmenza Castro, in Bucaramanga, Colombia, reports Katy Muldoon in The Oregonian.

Standing atop a hotel patio last December, Astrid Dabbeni scanned Bucaramanga, Colombia’s, urban panorama. Glossy high rises, red-roofed suburbs and gritty slums spread for miles across the city where she and her sister last saw their birth mother 36 years earlier.

Astrid, 41, co-founder and executive director of the Portland-based nonprofit Adoption Mosaic, had long thought of trying to find her. Yet, shortly before Christmas, as she was poised to begin, the logistical and emotional heft of that search sank in.

She had little to go on. Adoption records from the 1970s were sketchy. Even if she found her files, corruption was rampant in Colombia’s adoption pipeline then; birth certificates and other documents were sometimes fabricated and unreliable. Plus, she didn’t speak Spanish.

How could she possibly find one person, she remembers wondering, in a city of more than 1.2 million?

What if her birth mother was dead, as Astrid’s sister suspected?

If she was alive, what if she didn’t want to be found?

Astrid’s daughter, Maya, 9, wrapped her in a tight hug. Her husband, Paolo, did, too.

Tears welled in her eyes.

The story Astrid discovers is heart-rending:

Carmenza Castro hid her two infant girls inside a duffle bag, hoisted it, ran from her home and hopped a bus leaving Bogotá, Colombia. She’d later tell her daughters, Astrid Dabbeni and Maria DelValle, that she fled fearing for her safety and escaping a desperately troubled marriage.

That day in the early 1970s, the bus rumbled north to Bucaramanga, on a plateau in the Colombian Andes, where Carmenza didn’t know a soul. She and her babies disembarked into a new life that would deliver fear, loss, anguish, hope, happiness and – one day – healing.

Bucaramanga’s nickname is La Ciudad de Los Parques, city of parks, and that’s where the three lived for perhaps as long as a month.

A kind stranger witnessed their routine and took mercy. He gave Carmenza enough money to rent a room, so she and her daughters would have a roof over their heads.

They were warm, dry and safe for a time – and that’s where, as Astrid tells it, the story grows fuzzy.

After months or perhaps a couple of years, Carmenza found a better job in another city. She arranged for her landlady to temporarily watch Astrid and Maria, and she sent money home each week or month to cover their care.

Yet, when Carmenza returned, all her belongings had been thrown away, she was banished from the house and the only things right in her world had vanished.

Her girls were gone.


I urge you to read the entire fascinating article, which includes a video link. Part 2 begins here.

Like many other people connected to adoption, I know Astrid through her compelling, popular, and thought-provoking presentations at Latin American Heritage Camp, where she leads workshops and has shared details of her journey. Sending best wishes to Astrid and her family! ~




100-year-old California woman and 57-year-old Nebraska man reunite with birth families

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Today I read two amazing articles that remind me again of how powerful the bonds of biological roots are to people involved in adoption–both as a person who is adopted, and as a parent who relinquished a child. The first recounts the story of a 100-year-old California woman who gave up a daughter 77 years ago. The second is about a 57-year-old man in Nebraska who searched for and found his birth siblings and other relatives.  Happy 2012!

Mom reunites with biological child 77 years later

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) — For most of her 100 years, Minka Disbrow tried to find out what became of the precious baby girl she gave up for adoption after being raped as a teen.

She hoped, but never imagined, she’d see her Betty Jane again.

The cruel act of violence bore in Disbrow an enduring love for the child. She kept a black and white photograph of the baby bundled in blankets and tucked inside a basket.

It was the last she saw of the girl — until the phone rang in her California apartment in 2006 with the voice of an Alabama man and a story she could have only dreamed.

 57 years after adoption, Nebraska man finds family that had only existed in his imagination

A few days before Christmas, Orion Knee got a telephone call from his uncle, Don Frazer, in Omaha. “I think you’ve got a brother,” his uncle said. “I was blown away,” Orion said. He had no idea that his mother had given up a child for adoption 57 years ago, before he was born. Recently, in north Lincoln, the two brothers met for the first time.

Rick Nolze, 57, of Clearwater in northeast Nebraska, was welcomed into a family that a few weeks ago only existed in his imagination. “I’ve got aunts and uncles I didn’t know existed. I’ve gotten hugs… And that guy over there looks like me,” Rick said, pointing to his uncle, Frazer, a few feet.

Rick is grateful for the love and care of his adoptive parents, Fred and Shirley Nolze. He doesn’t want his search to take away from the wonderful life they gave him.”I felt like the prodigal son. They put a robe on my back and a ring on my finger and said, ‘This is my son.’”

But he’s always been curious about his birth family. He has his original birth certificate (Larry Dean Knee) and was aware from adoption records that he had an older sibling.