Luckily for me, I was adopted at five years old. The thought of looking for my birth mother never occurred to me. My parents were financially stable, well educated and happily married. They instilled enough confidence in me that I knew who I was – I thought.

In my 30s, my husband, an airline pilot, came home and announced, “We’ve been invited to a wedding in Germany. You need to get a passport.” No problem, I thought. Although I didn’t have a birth certificate, I had a document in my file that stated I had been adopted by my parents on a certain date. I went to the local passport office with the document and asked to get a passport. The clerk handed the paper back to me and said, “You need to have a birth certificate. Contact the clerk of court.”

The New Hampshire clerk told me, “You need to contact the clerk of court in Colorado where you were adopted.” I phoned the clerk of court in Colorado and he replied, “We searched our records but it seems you don’t exist.”

My parents hired a lawyer and at the same time, I began my own search. About a month later, the phone rang and it was a secretary from Cleveland, Ohio, with information. I had always thought I was born on April 17. Well it turns out, it was April 16. I always thought I was born in Toledo, Ohio, but no, it was Cleveland. And the name? I had never heard it.

Now that I had a last name and a correct city, it seemed to make sense to get the phone numbers of everyone in Cleveland with that last name. So I phoned the Cleveland operator.

She told me that it wasn’t allowed. I had to give her a first name also. I redialed the operator and gave her the first name of John. Then, I dialed the number she gave me.


A man answered. “Hello,” I said. “I don’t want to bother you but I‘m trying to get a passport. Does the date April 16, 1940, mean anything to you?”

BINGO! John was the correct name! He burst into tears. My birth mother was his sister. “We thought you were dead. She will be so happy to find you!”

Then I gave him my phone number and said I didn’t want to upset her life but she she would be welcome to phone me if she wanted to. She called that evening.

Four days later the package of pictures arrived in the mail. I had never seen a picture of myself before the age of 4½ years old. It was then decided that a family reunion must take place! All concerned agreed we would all meet in Cleveland at “Uncle John’s home” and the “family” would be reunited there.

It was always obvious that I was adopted. My parents were blonde and blue-eyed and short. I was a tall, thin, brown-eyed brunette.

Upon arrival at the Cleveland address, I knocked on the door. A lovely woman answered, not my birth mom but an uncle’s wife. She led me to the kitchen where four men and three women were seated at the table, waiting for me. As I entered the room, simultaneously, four very handsome men stood up. They were all several inches over 6 feet tall.

There was a moment of silence. Time stood still. Then one of the men elbow poked the guy next to him.

“Yup,” he said. “She’s one of us.”

— Special to Meetinghouse

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