With Mary

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Search Part 3: The Search Angels

Waiting one week for the microfilm to arrive felt like an eternity.  Feeling frustrated at this point, I thought, what else can I do?  What clue am I missing?  THEN, I remembered the search angel website I reached out to back in June.  I never sent them my non ID information, as I got caught up with Catholic Charities.

Late one Friday night in January, I found Gary's email address and sent him everything I had been working on.  All of my spreadsheets, my non ID info, websites I had scoured.  I wanted the Angels to see how hard I was trying on my own.  Gary took all of my research and emailed it out to all his volunteers.  When I woke up the next day, I had at least ten emails from five or more different search angels who were working together, trying to crack my case.  It was outrageously exhilarating to be a part of their communications.  All day long on Saturday, we worked the case, coming up with this name or that name. Nothing fit, but I knew these folks were on it!  

Sunday morning.  Still no answer.  At noon, right before I hit the trail for a two hour run, I decided to check my email one more time.  And there is was...

"I found the family.  MCGUIRE."

The angels were positive about the match, confirmed by two family obituaries.


I let the name roll around my tongue as I said it over and over again, savoring every vowel, every consonant.  I finally knew my name.  On a cloud, I ran those two hours, imagining this mysterious Irish family and my amazing mom.

After my run, I had more GREAT news waiting for me.  The search angels found my mom and her siblings.  They listed their names, birth dates, and place of residence.  Suddenly, my eyes caught my original name on the sibling list, which meant I had a namesake!  Next to her name was her birth date-same as mine! Dancing around the kitchen, I shouted, "My Aunt and I share a birthday!" So special. Great news kept coming with each email I opened.  Gary found Facebook links for the relatives. Seeing people who look like me for the first time was thrilling.  My smile was everywhere! My nose and cheeks too!  Scouring Facebook pages for family members, I determined family branch groups. I found most of my cousins, then my SIBLINGS!  Mind-blowing.  After confessing to my case worker the discovery my family name, our teamwork to find my birth mother doubled.  All of my friends were enlisted to help as well.

In the first week, my friends and family found loads of exciting information about my birth mom.  My runner friends found race results.  Mom was/is a runner?  She ran at least three marathons in her late forties. My brother figured out the type of work she did with the government and determined that much of her career was spent in AFRICA.  Africa in the seventies?  This woman was a trailblazer. Not surprising considering the 1960's newspaper articles found by the search angels, which illustrated her early nursing career and political work with the Democratic party.  She was so beautiful in her nurses cap and so accomplished.  Every tidbit of information found felt like a Christmas present.

All online research pointed to birth mom living in a particular east coast city, but all of my case worker's calls and letters went unanswered.  A month of silence.  The silence made me consider that mom might be living somewhere else. Interestingly, I never took the silence negatively.  I never thought that she might not be answering on purpose.  My glass was half full, my attitude postive.  But where was she?

Once again, late one Friday night when I should have been out on a date with my husband, I obsessively searched the web, typing my mom's name many different ways with many different key words, using various search engines.  I did this for HOURS.  After who knows how long, I hit an unexpected match.  A PDF brochure for a fundraising gala in Illinois came up on the Google search. Why in world would mom's name be associated with this seemingly random document?  With interest piqued, I downloaded the PDF, something I normally do not do (too impatient). Sure enough. There was my birth mom's name listed with a medical practice.  The medical practice was a sponsor for the gala.

I did it!  I found her!