Research Etc., Inc. was contacted by Leslie Jacobs*, a young woman who had been referred to us by another adopted client of ours whose birthparents we had found several months ago.
Leslie’s adopted mother, June*, had received Leslie’s original birth certificate in error shortly after Leslie was born. Although she sent it back in exchange for Leslie’s amended birth certificate, she had mentally carried Leslie’s birthmother’s name, age and city of residence around for 29 years — Minnie Silver*, 24 years old, Memphis, Tennessee.
Leslie also had some non-identifying information, which gave us some great clues about Minnie. After several agonizing weeks of waiting for additional records, we had the information that should have led us right to Minnie — Minnie’s mother’s name and address, but no phone number. When we contacted a neighbor, Mrs. Faber, she confirmed that Minnie’s mother had died some years ago, and sadly, that Minnie had also died about 15 years ago. Mrs. Faber, however, gave us the name of Minnie’s brother and what city he lived in, but not before telling us all about Leslie’s half-brother and half-sister!
Making the call to Leslie was difficult. We dreaded having to break the news that her birthmother was deceased. Although hurt, Leslie said, “Well, I guess I knew that could happen.” We told Leslie that there may be a silver lining to all of this — that we could try to put her in touch with m her birthmother’s surviving family members. She immediately agreed and that evening we located Minnie’s brother, Ted.
During her conversation with Ted, a staffmember realized early on that Ted had no idea about his birthniece. Finally, he said, “Wait a minute, are you telling me I have a niece?” When we said we were indeed telling him that, he said, “Well, it must be true, because my wife is standing here looking at me nodding her head and saying, ‘Yes, yes!’” It seems that although Ted didn’t know that his sister had had a baby, his wife, Linda, did know! Ted and Linda were both surprised, and happily surprised at that! We called Leslie and set about making arrangements for her to call Ted and Linda the next evening. Leslie was so nervous about calling, but her nerves were calmed by the open arms of Ted and Linda. They had already called Leslie’s sister and brother, Donna and Joe, who both cried tears of joy at knowing they had a sister. Letters, phone calls and photos started flying across the U.S. and we at Research Etc., Inc. were thrilled to get a photo of Minnie via e-mail, and found Leslie and her birthmother to look very much alike! The last time we spoke with Leslie, she was making plans for the near future to have a birth-family reunion!
*All names, dates and locations have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients and their families.