Duffy's Closet Adoption Forum
This page is for all of those like me,
Who are searching for someone.
This picture of the fairy and child was done by Billi, it is a beautiful piece of artwork unto itself,
This picture above was taken at Atlantic City NJ with my oldest son
James who was 3.
It was the same year my son who I named Michael was born.
I have always looked at this picture and been torn between my love for the son I had,
and the son I was coerced into giving up for adoption.
I am a
Birth Mother searching for her son, as well as a sibling searching for her adopted
Through the process I have gathered quite a bit of information and found several links to adoption issues and support, both for the Adoptee who is searching as well as Birth Parents and the extended Birth Family.
I have through the years helped find for others as well as co-chaired a support group in Houston Texas.
I have donated my time and efforts to support adoption reform legislation for open records after the age of consent.
I believe that an Adoptee should have the CHOICE to have the records open to them upon their request. It is a RIGHT TO CHOOSE issue.
The legislators who use the confidentiality excuse are ignoring the rights for the Adoptee, as well as the rights to the Birth Mother to allow access to her information.
As we all know there is a form we MUST supply as Birth Mother's to allow any access to our information. Thus their ISSUE is truly a NON-ISSUE as far as I am concerned.
I have included several links for searching as well as a link to sign the petitions in your areas. This is extremely important for all in the Adoption Triad.
We have a voice we MUST USE IT !!!!!!!
Remember all you Birth Mom's like me to get those wavers signed and sent along with a medical history and updated contact information.
When the law is changed as we all pray it will be done soon, you will want that information available in the file.
I began my search in my heart from the day I left my son at the hospital. I began to actively search when my son James became 21 years old. The year was 1989.
That is when I told him he had a brother and the circumstances of not keeping him. I hoped and I was correct that this information was given and taken with love and understanding.
Along with the knowledge that my son was now mature enough to hear the words, without recrimination nor condemnation. Just a wonderful gift of acceptance and understanding. Part of the shame was lifted that day.
I started searching online and at that time there was not much there to find. I did find the Soundex reunion and other sites to register along with several support groups that I have been a part of since I started my search.
Njandde a support group advocate for NJ and DE searches. NYAdoption group advocates for searching in NY.
Bmom.com an advocate for Birth mom's searching, Aol at that time had a chat group for the adoption triad and it was invaluable in the beginning.
These sites led me to a books entitled; Lifeline The Action Guide to Adoption Search by Virgil L. Klunder You, Too Can Find Anybody by Joseph J. Culligan Searching in New York,
by Kate Burke Search, A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents, 2nd Addition by Jayne Askin, with Molly Davis.
I sent in the request for information along the guidelines of Lifeline and received much needed information and several denials of same from agencies.
This book is a must for anyone who needs to access information through a government department and their correct forms and paperwork demands.
At this time I also received a list of baby boys born on the same date as my son, and baby girls born on my sister's birthday.
These were pages and pages of information that I still am working on to this day. I did send out some letters but no response and put it away as other leads were bearing fruit and I needed to pursue.
I registered on all adoption registries that I could find.
I received paperwork from that adoption agency in NJ, found were the hospital records were kept from NJ in Pa.
Sent pictures and medical histories to the agency to put in my son's records along with a release for information and contact information from me to him.
This is a necessary form to be on file from any birthparent. We birthparent's for the majority wish contact with our children, not like they would have you believe in Washington.
Again old establishment making rules without caring what the constituents would truly wish.
Take some surveys when you are voting on adoption reform legislation and you would find what the triad wants from their legislators.
I also signed and continue to sign petitions and email congressmen and senators and even the president when I have something I wish them to know.
It doesn't matter if they respond or not, nor does it matter if they pay attention, it matters that I have a voice and I used it for a cause that is dear to my heart.
At this time in 1990 my life was in an adjustment phase once again I was divorcing for the second time and work was becoming more of a focus taking longer hours and my career was taking over all my focus.
I stopped searching for this period. This would last until 1995.
I began my search again first by joining the Registration Drive Volunteers for the Soundex Reunion Registry,
working the tables at the malls answering questions no matter how personal to let people know they had a right for knowledge and the registration
was a wonderful start and necessary beginning for all searches. Soon I joined the Houston chapter of an Adoption Support Group.
I felt at home there and learned much about searching and counseling those that in need on all sides of the adoption family.
This we call a Triad, The Adoptee Child, The Birthparents and family, and The Adoptive Parents and family.
In this setting I met some adoptees who were very sincere in their quest and some so angry and underneath all the correct terminology they wanted to inflict pain on the Birthparent in question.
These people were referred to therapy to resolve the anger issues before we could help them. All have a responsibility to the adoption family triad to protect not to cause harm.
When the original founder Peggy Dorn, decided to retire from the group she asked if another searcher Janice Krasoff, and I would take over for her and continue the group.
This we did but in time the building was to become unavailable and Janice's health and her husband's health, along with my job needing more of my time we had to discontinue the group after a year.
I did suggest to those that were still needing this type of support group leads on the best support internet groups that could help until another group was started in Houston.
Janice my co-chair moved to Florida with her husband and both have since passed away. During this time I had helped a few people find who they were searching for and it worked out well.
Yet there were still many that there just was not the information available at that time. There is so much more out there now and I hope they succeeded in their searches and that they went well.
During the group time I became involved with the Adoption Quilt Project and made a square for my son, sister, and one for Janice herself to be stitched into the quilt.
This quilt was designed much like the Aids quilt a square for each person with birth date and contact information stitched into the square.
This was presented in Washington DC and there was a march to show the powers that be that this is an issue that will not go away.
Secrets are no longer secrets, the light of truth has truly set most of us free from the shame heaped on us years ago that we were conditioned at the time to believe was our due.
I have posted on my website the pictures of this event. Since I lived in Texas and funds were limited I could not go to Washington in person but be assured my heart was there with every person marching that day.
At this time I also began searching for my half sisters and half brother. My sister Lori and I sat down one day and with phone in hand started calling all Duswalt numbers listed in NJ,
this is were we believed they might live. I started in South Jersey and after a few calls got lucky. We asked for Steven Duswalt and Linda our sister answered and asked who we where.
I explained what we were trying to do and she said you found us. She lived at the address and Steven was visiting so we spent a few hours on the phone connecting.
It was the easiest phone call I have ever experienced. We set a meeting for when I would be in NJ visiting for the end of 1995.
We all met at my brother Jim's house and what a wonder we all looked so alike, and more importantly we all welcomed each in this new extension of family.
Shortly after this Linda with support from me and leads on how to do it found our baby sister Jean.
She and Steve went to meet her first, then I met her. What a treasure she is and so very welcome to this family.
Linda continues her support of my searches to this day, always available for support or anything else I might need.
In 1996 I visited Linda in NJ and we went to the Manhattan Public Library to find information on my half sister Eve.
We verified her birth date and birth year which my Mother had wrong and got the birth registry number. We did not have time to work on the lists to find the corresponding number and adoptive name for her.
But I did feel I had finally made some headway in this search for her. With all the dead ends at last something concrete to go from.
At this time I confirmed the rumor that my son's biological father Aldmer (Happy) Dewey Whitaker was indeed alive and had not died in prison in Miami Fl.
I contacted the prison's and sent the correct request in writing and they responded that he had indeed been imprisoned there but had been released.
I then posted inquiries on the internet for information on his were a bouts. This resulted in one of his daughters contacting me wanting to know if I had any information on his location.
I did not but she had his brothers work number. I called his brother Ernest and had him contact his brother and connected him with his daughters through emails set for protection.
Their mother was afraid of him finding them I believe that has all worked out and he is living in Lake Hopatcong NJ. He was told about my son but there is not contact and I believe that is for the best.
If he has not changed the reasons for my distance from him stand still.
I then started my website Duffyscloset.com a tribute to my father and family with a section on adoption search links for those of us who are searching and support groups that might be able to help.
Along with this personal letters to my son and my sister. I continued my search for both Michael and Eve until 1999, when I moved from Texas to New Jersey.
Life again interfered with working 2 jobs and opening a part time business I had no energy or time left to search. I moved within New Jersey twice then moved to upstate New York until this year 2009 moving back to Texas.
I am living with my son James and his two sons taking care of them as he has custody of the boys.
When I look at his little family it is bittersweet sometimes, always wondering always feeling an emptiness in my heart for my other son Michael.
Wondering if he has children, if he is happy, is he safe? Did he have the life I dreamed he would?
Someday perhaps he will understand, but if not it is fine, I can at least give him the gift of information and answers to his questions.
Along with that the gift of a brother who wishes to find him as well. There is much love within my fragmented family.
The secrets were finally released to all in 1996 at a family reunion, and everyone is waiting to hear perhaps that my son wishes to meet them as well.
I hope so. I will as I can continue searching with the help of my son and his sons who wish to find this Aunt and this Uncle they hear about.
I still write about and talk about my searching as an advocate for others searching and support for those that wish it. I also will always be available to help in a search if I can be of assistance.
Those that have known me through the years will tell you. This is an on going part of my life, I am not ashamed, just determined to someday find.
I have sent two squares to the
Adoption Quilt, one of which I have included in the pictures here.
The picture is for the square for my son born in Dover, NJ, 11/20/1971. The second square is for my sister born in Manhattan NYC 3/13/1951.
The larger picture is of the quilt itself which you can see one of my squares included. If you would like to contact me personally on an adoption issue please contact me through this site.
Thank you for your time, interest and support in our mutual quests.
The ISRR is the oldest and largest free reunion registry in the world. It is a confidential, mutual consent registry,
which means that information sent to the ISRR will not be given to any third party or used to solicit business for professional searchers.
To get a free registration form, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:ISRR P.O. Box 2312 Carson City, NV 89702-2312The ISRR can also be reached by telephone at (702) 882-7755. For more information about the ISRR and how it works, visit the ISRR informational site at: