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An International Adoption Reunion Story

Hear how one Cradle adoptee’s search for their birth mother ended in a trip to reunite with a birth sibling across the Atlantic. 

The following was written just prior to November 1, 2005, as I was planning to fly across the Atlantic to England to meet my birth sister for the very first time.

At the age of 55, I had decided to keep a promise I made to myself years before: to look for my birth mother. I felt there might be a chance that she was still alive. There was also a chance that even if she was alive, she may not want to meet me — but I was willing to take that risk. 

Whatever the outcome, I needed to move forward on this journey with an open heart and an open mind, but with no expectations. So I drew a deep breath and called The Cradle to begin the reunification process.

Starting the Search for My Birth Mother

When I contacted The Cradle, I was assigned to the agency’s director of post adoption support, Nina Friedman, who would be conducting my birth parent search. Nina spent time explaining the process, reviewing the information I would need to provide and helping me set expectations about what we may (and may not) find along the way.

Several weeks later, I received a call from Nina, who said she had good news and bad news. She told me she had discovered that my birth mother died in 1978. My heart sank — but just for a moment. Next, she told me I had a birth sister living in England. 

While my hope of reuniting with my birth mother had ended in disappointment, I was so excited there was still a living connection to my birth family.

Reaching Out to Make a Connection With My Birth Sister

I would hear from Nina periodically over the next several months, updating me on the obstacles she was encountering or the progress she was making trying to contact my birth sister. Then, one very special day, Nina emailed me: “Good news. I have an address for your birth sister and a letter will be sent out to England today.”

“Heart be still. I can’t believe this,” I said to myself. My dream of finding my birth family was really coming true. It was so hard to believe after all this time.

Finding a New Connection to My Heritage and Looking to the Future

Not many days later, Nina called with news that she had spoken to my birth sister, whose reaction had been, “Extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary!” She was willing to learn more about me and expressed that she was open to communication through The Cradle, including passing along my personal contact information.

As Nina relayed some of the information she was able to provide about my birth sister, one detail struck me stronger than the rest: My birth sister was an antiques dealer, and my birth mother had been one as well. I also buy and sell antiques, so this connection was especially meaningful —it was so nice to learn where my love of old things came from.

Nina agreed to forward a note to my birth sister, whose name I still did not know at this point. Several days later the phone rang and a voice with a very British accent said, “Hello, this is Olivia.” 

I could not believe my ears. I was so excited I was nearly speechless. We talked for an hour and discovered that in addition to antiques, we had many other common interests.

Since that memorable day, we have exchanged a number of letters and phone calls, and we are slowly developing a relationship. It will not be long before I will meet my birth sister in person and make a connection with my heritage. That day will be the most important day of my life.

The Cradle has blessed me twice in my life. What can I say but, thank you, thank you, thank you!

For 100 years and counting, The Cradle has built nurturing families and provided lifelong support to people whose lives have been touched by adoption. Faces of The Cradle is a celebration of their stories. Meet more of the people who make what we do possible and all the more meaningful.

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