Adoption.. #general

Michael Sklaroff

Dear Jewish Genners,

Earlier this year, I posted questions about a friend who was searching
for his biological family. He had met his birthmother and knew the
year she was born, but we were wondering how he could get a copy of
her birth certificate in order to see her parents' names. Without a
corresponding death certificate, the New York City Department of Health
won't provide birth certificates to anyone other than the person so
named or their parent. I also posted questions regarding genetic testing.

I wish to report that this friend did find his biological family: he's
my cousin. I didn't include this possibility in my queries because of
our concern for the privacy of his birthmother. I am an adoptive parent,
and I know the issues and concerns involved. He is now comfortable with
this story being public.

He and I met on facebook, where he posted a profile using the name his
birthmother had given him. It was my first and last names. I wrote to
him out of curiosity, and he explained his story. I'd always been
interested in my family history and this -- along with our adoption
connection -- really prompted me to try to find out if we were related.

Using the Google, facebook,, and the telephone, I was able to
find cousins I had never heard about. Growing up, I knew little about my
paternal grandfather's family, other than a number of names and this salient
feature: three brothers had married three sisters. Because of this fact,
there were lots of duplicate names in the family: two Meyers, two or
three Harrys, two Irvings. And that's why I thought I'd be able to establish
a connection with this man if we found his birthmother's birth certificate
with her father's name on it.

I finally narrowed my search to one of my grandfather's brothers, and a
first cousin of my fathers identified this friend's birthmother. No one
in the family knew of my friend's existence; I was the first one >from
the extended family to make contact with him. We've exchanged many e-mails
and spoken on the phone, and we plan to meet this summer.

A number of Jewish Genners responded, privately, to my questions, and I wish
to thank them all. I had additional exchanges with a couple of these people,
discussing the issue of adoption. We shared two of the three parts to the
adoption triad: either having been adopted or having adopted a child. None
of us had experience with the third component, having placed a child for

My research has been tremendously exciting for me, and I enjoy receiving the
many queries >from this forum that fill my e-mail in-box every day.

Michael Sklaroff.

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