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Published Monday November 1st, 2010 at 3:01pm

by Jeff Hancock

Recently I was part of an event that I can only relate to you as a miracle. The purpose of this essay is to report the details of an adoptee's search and reunion that defied all odds at success.

I met my friend Kristine online through a social network application for adult adoptees three years ago. We have had a wonderful friendship from the day we first met. You can imagine what a shock it was for me when I learned that my friend had just been diagnosed with terminal Amyloidosis. Amyloidosis is a genetically inherited illness. Her outlook is grim and has been given approximately 6 months to live. My thoughts immediately went to her 2-year-old son and her husband. Knowing Kristine's desire to find her birth parents also became foremost in my mind.

I quickly decided to appeal to the several hundred adoptees, first mothers, and search angels in my online social network. Through private messages, wall posts, and group sharing, Kristine's story was read by many. By Sunday evening the list of searchers had grown by dozens; each contributing vital search information.

By Monday evening several pages of information was gathered. American and Canadian searchers from coast to coast united for this common cause. Some of our angels dug up information from as far away as Australia and Uruguay. On Tuesday evening enough information came in for me to begin compiling a complex data bank. Just as I was pairing up information, an email came in from an angel that contained duplicate information matching data from the other angels. I felt confident that we had a match.

Now what to do? While I have assisted a small number of adoptees searching for family, this was the very first time I entered a reunion as an intermediary. I labored through the night to find just the right words for first contact; a personal email:

We have never met, but we might possibly share a common acquaintance. I hope that this does not come as a shock to you, but I have received information that suggests you may be the birth mother to a very special friend of mine. Does the date July XXth, 19XX sound at all familiar to you?

I am not writing this letter for the purpose of invading your privacy or to interfere with your life. I am writing because my friend Kristine has been trying to find her birth mother for many, many years.

It's become an urgent search at this point because my friend Kristine has been diagnosed with terminal "Amyloidosis" and has up to 6 months to live. I am also an adoptee, and have called upon every volunteer searcher I know to assist in this quest. Kristine doesn't know who her mom is, although she loves her very, very much and wants' to meet her before it is too late.

If you are her mom, or happen to know someone who relinquished a baby to adoption in 1967, please contact me immediately. I am sharing my personal email and phone number with you here in private: xxxxxxxxxxxxx. Because this is a very urgent matter please call me anytime of the day or night.

I hope that this is not too overwhelming for you. I wish only to bring comfort to my dear friend as she remains hospitalized. I respect your life and privacy, however please, please, please contact me whether or not you are Kristine's mother.

Her name, Kristine, may have been given to her by someone other than her birth mother. It's common for adoptive parents to rename us children.

Thank you for taking this letter into consideration.

Jeff Hancock

Message sent around 2:30 AM on a Wednesday morning. Through the wee hours of the morning I laid in bed with much on my mind. Mostly dominating my thoughts we're the "What ifs" surrounding search and reunion.

I received the call at approximately 12:05 PM that same Wednesday. An excited, yet reserved woman spoke, "Hi, Jeff? I am Kristine's birthmom. Please tell me everything about her?" We spoke for several minutes. I shared with her the illness Kristine had been stricken with. How Kristine and I originally met. I had the privilege to inform her that she has a son-in-law and a young grandson. There were many sobs of joy coming from this caller who lives so many miles from her terminally ill daughter. Her 43 years since relinquishment were filled with heartache, remorse, and regret. In just that one short lunch break phone conversation, healing occurred. Not only did my caller experience healing; it struck me equally.

Kristine's mother told me she would prefer it if I were to let Kristine know that her mother was found. She gave me a short message to share with Kristine. In exchange, I shared with her mom Kristine's email, phone number, and online profile. Now for the ultimate in patience; Kristine was in deep sleep through the afternoon and couldn't be reached on the phone!

At first I was simply going to lave the message, "Kristine, please call me. Jeff." As I held that phone contemplating just what I would end up saying, I was hit with a wave of emotion that I have never before experienced. My voice trembled as I decided to "go for it."

"Kristine, this is Jeff. <pause> I have news that you will want to hear. Your mom has been found. She wants me to tell you that <I lose it> she has loved you each and everyday of your life. She prays for you each and every day as well. Your mom longs for the moment when she will hold you in her very own arms. <I'm sobbing out of control at this point>. Kristine, she will call you, I have sent her your email and cell number. She also cannot wait to connect with you through Facebook. I love you, feel better."

Her mother spoke each of those words verbatim. As she relayed to me what she wanted her daughter to know about her, I got choked up. I told her that as an adoptee her very words were what I have longed to her from my mom one day. We both sat with phone receivers in hand and bawled.

Following my voice mail to Kristine, I felt the strong need for a break. I went outside to garden. I returned one hour later to find Kristine and her mother had spoken, connected through Facebook, and had set forth plans for Thanksgiving.

Playing a small role in this reunion and search filled me with many strong feelings and emotions. I was elated that her reunion took only half of a week. I was stunned that more than 2 dozen strangers united their search skills and worked together better than any well oiled machine. It renewed my faith that reunions do occur, albeit more randomly that I could have expected.

As Kristine bravely continues to battle this terrible illness she now has her mom, siblings, cousins, and a network of adoptees that love and care for her very much.