HERE IS THE SHOUT OUT FOR THE ISRR

There was an article in an Arizona that I found interesting. If you are searching and have not signed up on the ISRR, here is the link. Get on it quickly.

Here is the link. Here is the story.

How birth mothers are finding adopted ones
By Rhonda Bodfield
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Adoption by the numbers:
14,000: parents who place their babies for adoption in the United States each year.
1.6 million: adopted children under age 18 in American households.
90: number of adopted boys for every 100 adopted girls under 18.
17 percent: adopted children under 18 who are of a different race from the primary householder.
13 percent: adopted children who are foreign-born; nearly half of all such children come from Asia, and Korea is the largest single-country source.
1.7 million: number of households that contain adopted children, making up 4 percent of households with children.
43: average age of adoptive parents
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Helpful tips for searching for an adopted child:
The registry: The International Soundex Reunion Registry, the largest mutual consent registry, has provided free matching services for next-of-kin since 1975. For more information, call 1-888-886-ISRR (4777) or log onto http://www.isrr.net. You can download a registration form from the Web site, but it must be mailed back. Staffers will notify you only when a “match” is made. Keep in mind, it may take years.
Internet searches: There are dozens of adoption bulletin boards of varying quality. Some sites are easy to search, and some just hold massive amounts of data in less-convenient formats. The process is time-consuming. Tucsonan Bonnie Lohman said it took her anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to register on each site.
The Confidential Intermediary Program: With oversight by the Arizona Supreme Court, certified intermediaries help to facilitate contact between parties of an adoption or siblings separated as a result of dependency actions. For information, call 602-452-3957 or log onto http://www.supreme.state.az.us/CIP. Intermediaries may charge up to $100 for an initial consultation, $100 an hour for research time and $50 for bookkeeping and travel, although many charge substantially less. The Web site also has a list of certified intermediaries who serve the Pima County area. For example, Andrea McCulley, the intermediary through Christian Family Care Agency who helped Susan Dayton, can be reached at 296-8255.

Other women have walked former Tucsonan Sharon Powers’ path, trying to find children they gave up for adoption, often with little more to go on than she has.
From Internet searches to hooking up with a non-profit matching agency to contracting with an intermediary, here’s how they got the reunions they long longed for:
Sleuthing it alone
Bonnie Lohman was 21 when she got pregnant in 1970. Determined to keep it a secret, she moved to Tucson from Wisconsin to stay with an aunt.
“For 34 years, this was my big secret,” she said. “In those days, it was something you kept hidden and something you were very ashamed of. You were going to go to your grave with that information.”
That secrecy came at a price. Her heart would break when she saw little boys about the age hers would have been. Mother’s Day was bittersweet. She was overprotective with the three girls that came later. She stopped drinking 26 years ago, but had struggled with it in the early years after the adoption.
The 59-year-old retired nurse started helping a friend search for her long-lost son about 10 years ago. Lohman’s husband asked why she wasn’t searching for herself, too.
The seed planted, she jumped on every free Internet bulletin board she could find. She began doing research, finding that boys often don’t search for their birth mothers until they are older or until they have some life-threatening experience.
After seven years, she started getting discouraged.
And then one day in 2003 — she cries as she recounts this part — she got an e-mail from a woman who thought she had a match on one site based in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Ultimately, Lohman and her birth son decided to meet at a local book store.
She brought all the family pictures she had, to show him his lineage. It was overwhelming for a man who had never seen anyone related to him.
But now, her son, who lives in Las Vegas, has a good relationship with her and his sisters and is coming to visit her next month.
The search didn’t cost Loh-man anything, although she did send a thank-you note and $50 to the operator of the Web site that helped her.
“I’m very happy that I found him,” she said. “My life has come full circle.”
Getting a middleman
Susan Dayton turned 18 a week before she had her son in November 1963. She followed her parents’ directive to put him up for adoption, but she never forgot about him. Every Christmas, she put a present under the tree for him.
Two years ago, Dayton, now in real estate, sold a house and had some extra money. “The one thing I want in life is to find my son,” she thought.
Exhausted from eight years of waiting for Internet searches to pan out, she signed on with the Confidential Intermediary Program through the Arizona Supreme Court.
The Legislature set up the program in 1992, allowing a certified intermediary to search closed adoption files and, if both parties agree, to release that information to the interested parties. The program expanded in January to allow for sibling searches as well.
Andrea McCulley, a certified searcher through Christian Family Care Agency, agreed to take Dayton’s case, one of the dozen she’s successfully completed for local families. Having a middleman is helpful, McCulley said.
Sometimes, when she calls birth mothers to see if they would like to reconnect, it’s a shock. “This is a secretive thing for birth mothers,” she said.
“Sometimes, they were so full of shame, maybe they didn’t tell anyone in their lives, and now the thought of telling people means they need some time to adjust to going forward.”
Her cases, on average, end up costing between $250 and $500, she said, and any case that goes over $650 requires special authorization.
The agency doesn’t require the entire payment up front and will work with families on payment options.
A former Child Protective Services investigator and an adoptive mother herself, McCulley said she welcomed the chance to reunite families.
“I love putting the puzzle pieces together,” she said. “I’m intrigued by how I can solve this question for this person who has come to me.”
Dayton, for her part, said she just turned her quest over to God. “I just prayed about it and then three weeks later, (McCulley) called and said she had some information.”
Dayton’s 43-year-old son agreed first to meet his sister, who lives in Phoenix. Later, when Dayton’s daughter called her about the meeting, she said he looked just like Dayton, but with a mustache. Dayton remembers feeling some pain.
It took another six weeks for him to agree to meet her.
Later, he told her he thought he might be a disappointment.
He was also angry, telling her he thought she’d come find him at his 18th birthday.
“I had to take it really easy and gentle with him, because he had such a hard time being ready to accept me, and it was very important not to get in such a hurry,” Dayton said.
The two have steadily built a strong relationship. He comes to stay on weekends. They talk once a week and e-mail each other jokes.
The search cost Dayton $500, and she offers everyone who will listen a glowing review of the program. “It was such a blessing for me. It just opened up my whole life,” she said.
The registry
Back in 1975, Emma May Vilardi started a free, nonprofit registry so that those who wanted to reconnect with families would not be punished if they lacked financial resources.
Roughly a quarter-million people now are registered on the International Soundex Registry Reunion site, split between birth parents and adoptees looking for biological matches.
“What I hear the most is frustration,” said registrar Marri Rillera. “Whether it’s the adoptees or the birth parents, they’re frustrated that there is not one place they can go to without having doors closed on them.”
The five staffers who run the Nevada-based nonprofit are doing roughly a match a day on average, Rillera said.
It’s getting easier since they finally finished computerizing 48 filing cabinets full of records.
The Soundex Registry helped Sherry Smith connect with her son in Denver in 1992.
She had only seen him for 15 minutes on the day he was born in 1964.
She agonized over her loss for years, and then one day, read in a “Dear Abby” column about the Soundex Registry.
Her son had contacted the registry three years earlier, so within days the match was made.
The highlight of the reunion occurred when she spent a week with him and his family.
“When I looked at him, I saw my eyes looking back at me,” she recalled, adding he also has connected with her son and daughter.
Smith saw the Tucson newspaper ad in March, in which Sharon Powers was looking to find her child, and it brought the whole flood of emotions back.
“You always wonder every day of your life whether they had a good home, if they’re still alive, if they’re looking for you, if you’d know them if you passed on the street. It’s a torment on your soul,” Smith said. “I want her to find her child and know the fulfillment that I have felt.”
Adoption by the numbers:
14,000: parents who place their babies for adoption in the United States each year.
1.6 million: adopted children under age 18 in American households.
90: number of adopted boys for every 100 adopted girls under 18.
17 percent: adopted children under 18 who are of a different race from the primary householder.
13 percent: adopted children who are foreign-born; nearly half of all such children come from Asia, and Korea is the largest single-country source.
1.7 million: number of households that contain adopted children, making up 4 percent of households with children.
43: average age of adoptive parents
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Helpful tips for searching for an adopted child:
The registry: The International Soundex Reunion Registry, the largest mutual consent registry, has provided free matching services for next-of-kin since 1975. For more information, call 1-888-886-ISRR (4777) or log onto http://www.isrr.net. You can download a registration form from the Web site, but it must be mailed back. Staffers will notify you only when a “match” is made. Keep in mind, it may take years.
Internet searches: There are dozens of adoption bulletin boards of varying quality. Some sites are easy to search, and some just hold massive amounts of data in less-convenient formats. The process is time-consuming. Tucsonan Bonnie Lohman said it took her anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to register on each site.
The Confidential Intermediary Program: With oversight by the Arizona Supreme Court, certified intermediaries help to facilitate contact between parties of an adoption or siblings separated as a result of dependency actions. For information, call 602-452-3957 or log onto http://www.supreme.state.az.us/CIP. Intermediaries may charge up to $100 for an initial consultation, $100 an hour for research time and $50 for bookkeeping and travel, although many charge substantially less. The Web site also has a list of certified intermediaries who serve the Pima County area. For example, Andrea McCulley, the intermediary through Christian Family Care Agency who helped Susan Dayton, can be reached at 296-8255.
● Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at 573-4118 or at rbodfield@azstarnet.com.

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