Four Days to Family – Search Angels (Chapter 5 and 6)
“You may want to try contacting a search angel.”
The words jumped out at me as I read the email. What exactly was a search angel? I had never heard of such a thing. I looked at the time on the email and noticed it was only sent five minutes ago.
“Maybe if I write back right away she is still online,” I thought.
I quickly typed a thank-you-for-your-response email, and included the question about search angels, hit send, and then waited.
Within a few minutes, I received another email from the first-mother. “A search angel is typically an adoptee, a birth-mother, or an adoptive mother that has already reconnected with their family and now tries to help others along their journey. These people typically have the right to use to various resources and databases either through subscriptions or their jobs, such as DMV records, that other people can’t access, and they perform their services in their free time at no charge. Good luck with your search.”
I was awestruck. A search angel. I opened another window in Internet Explorer and googled “find a search angel”. Within a few moments, a list of sites arrived on the monitor. A lot of them were no longer active when I would click on the link, but then I found a site where you could look for search angels by state. I clicked on my birth state, Ohio, and more than dozen names and emails appeared on my screen, along with the types of services that each person could offer. Some offered legwork in the state, while others listed they had access to DMV records and birth indices for specific time periods.
In my excitement, I quickly crafted an email containing the little bit of information I knew about my birth and background. I listed my birth date and location, my mother’s date of birth and her state of residence at the time, where my mother stayed during the pregnancy, and lastly the occupation of my grandfather, a college professor.
Starting at the top of the search page, I started to cut and paste the email address of every search angel listed to place in the address line of the email.
I tried to turn my attention back to studying while I waited for a response to return, but it really was no use. The emotions of the first-mothers site, and the anticipation of beginning a birth family search yet again made it impossible to think of anything else. The minutes stretched and felt more like eternity.
A response came to my inbox from a few angels, giving me suggestions on ways to start searching or how they could possibly search if they had a little more information. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything else. They all explained how and why to contact the agency that performed the adoption to request my non-identifying information. “You have the right to request the non-identifying information that is on file, even though the adoption records are still closed. Chances are, since these documents are over 30 years old, they are stored on microfilm somewhere. An individual will have to hand go through the documents and white out any information like names and places, and often because the documents are lengthy, they will miss something in their editing.”
I began busying myself with finding out more on how to make this non-identifying information request, when a search angel named AKRONOH responded and started an IM conversation.
“I may be able to help you. What is your birth name?”
I typed back. “Christine Marie Curry”
“No,” she responded. “That’s your adopted name. What was your birth name?”
Dumbfounded, I started at the screen. How much new lingo was I going to learn in one afternoon? “I have no birth name.” I hit enter and waited.
“That’s not true. At the time you were born, it was law that babies had to be given a name. You would have had a birth name.”
A bolt of lightning might just as well have just struck me and knocked me out of my chair. How could this be? AKRONOH couldn’t be right. I had a copy of all the information my parents ever had about my adoption. My mother had always been open about it, she even helped me try to search when I was younger.
Another IM came up from AKRONOH. “Call your adopted Mom and ask her what your birth name was. I am going to email you a list of baby girls born on your date of birth.”