Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Beginning

4th grade

I've been knee-deep in Family History the last few weeks, since starting a new class in Sunday School.  I've always been drawn to my ancestors and love doing the work (and it is sometimes work).  Even as a teenager I loved getting out the papers and learning the names, hearing the stories over and over.  I just wanted to know these people and know what their lives were like, what did they wear, how did they live their everyday lives?  I've kept at it over the years, here a little, there a little, until finding my birth families in 2007 kind of exploded it all~so many people who are new to me and I have a burning desire to know them and know where they came from, to know where I came from.  Let me begin at the beginning....
I don't remember an exact moment of knowing that I was adopted, I just always knew, it was a part of my story, and it was wonderful.  I grew up in the 60's in Portland Oregon, happy and loved, moved to Eastern Oregon in the 70's even happier and more loved, but always knowing there was that part of me that I didn't know about.  Who were the people that I came from and what was their story?  This was as much as I knew:
My birth mother was young, 16 and in high school, from the Weiser ID area, birth father a little older but still in high school.  When they told their parents it was decided that the baby would be adopted out.  My Mom and Dad (adopted Mom and Dad, I will refer to them as Mom and Dad, and my birth Mom as Janet, birth father as John) had previously adopted my older brother with the help of Mom's doctor-Dr.Schirmer.  Janet went to live with Dr.Schirmer in Portland, until I was born, and then she went back to the Weiser area and finished high school and resumed her life.  John joined the military.  There were other bits and pieces that I knew, but that was the main story.
I began searching sometime in the late 80's, starting with high school yearbooks in the Weiser/Payette area finding nothing.  I had Janet's birth date and full name, but could find nothing on her.  When it became legal in the state of Oregon to get my original birth certificate I did so, but there was no information on there that I didn't already know.  I just kept hitting a dead end, which was frustrating because I thought I had some really good information.  Once the internet era began I used that as much as possible and still...nothing. I thought I would have to wait till I had some extra money and hire someone to help me, so it ended up in the back of my mind.
In 2006 I was sent an angel-I met Tami through my brother, he met her through another friend.  She loves researching and finding people and she was willing to do so with no charge.  I gave her all the information I had and she began searching and kept hitting the same dead-ends I did.  She asked more and more questions and I gathered all the info I could.  In my possession was some notes written by Dr. Schirmer, as if she had been jotting things down while on the phone.  Names and addresses, not sure of how they were connected I gave them to her.  I didn't hear from her for a few months and had kind of forgotten about it, assuming she had been unsuccessful.  In April of 2007 I got the phone call-are you sitting down? " I found your birth mother."
To make this long story short, Dr. Schirmer had changed the information on my birth certificate, it was false.  The address on the note was that of Janet's grandparents.  She had lived with them and it was through that address that Tami eventually found Janet.  Janet was happy to hear from me, that was a great conversation and beginning of our great friendship.  I was then able to find and meet John's side, he had passed away a few years earlier, his 3 daughters were happy to meet me.  They had been searching as well, and had also been given false information.  This has opened up a whole new world for me, questions have been answered and new ones in their place~

This is with Janet and my half-Sisters.

I've learned many things throughout this process, one-that little things can make a big difference, don't overlook the smallest detail, it may be important.  I guess I'm sharing this today because it's time, I have felt the impression to do so many times and haven't.  Getting involved in Family History again has opened my heart to my ancestors, and there may be others out there who are searching and I hope this will help them keep going.


  1. Would Tami like another job? Who needs The Locator when you have a Tami in your life! I have SO MUCH information on my dad's side but don't even know what to do with it. Hired a PI firm once and they took my money and eventually were closed down due to some sexual case . . . just my luck. I can't even remember how I found that out. I kept calling them and then saw something in the news and thought, "hey, that's the firm I hired." Anyway, I probably have more info on my dad's birth mother than anyone else in the family. I feel like time is of the essence. NICE JOB Rebecca! (and Tami : )

  2. thanks for sharing! I am happy for your more complete story,and i was really happy to read about this journey. we should talk more sister! :)

  3. What a great story Rebecca. So glad finding your birth mom was a positive thing.

    On a personal note, I had that same haircut in fourth grade. ;)

  4. You looked so pretty and grown up in the 4th grade!:) Thank you for sharing this interesting story. I'm sure it's a very important point in your life. You've got amazing sisters!