Adoption Family Finder

Helping those separated by adoption find their biological family.

Adoptee Details

Informant: Self
Birth: February 7, 1960, Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, USA
Sex: Female
Single or Multiple birth: Single
Race/Ethnicity: White
Mother's Maiden Surname: Riedell (by adoption)
Father's Surname: Not listed
DNA Tests taken: 23&Me, Ancestry, FTDNA, Haplogroup H1c
Stories related to: 1923 Oct 31

My Adoption Story

My story is one of many adoptions. I was placed for adoption at birth and raised by wonderful adoptive parents. I was given all the necessities of life, lots of love, attention, and encouragement, everything a child needs to grow and succeed. But there was still something missing. A feeling that I didn't belong. I was the only one with blonde hair and blue eyes. I was always told that I was adopted so it was not a big surprise. I was referred to as the "adopted grandchild" by one of my grandmothers so even some of my family considered me an outsider. I managed to lock that comment into my subconscious but I remember the hurt like it was yesterday.

After 50 years of wondering about who my family was and where I came from, I joined and started researching what I knew. I sent off for my original birth certificate from the State of Ohio and obtained my birth mother's name (married and maiden). She already had two other children so I knew that I had siblings. She was born in Kansas City, MO and was 36 years old at the time of my birth. The line which should have contained the name of my father was left blank. After about 30 days I found my mother and her two children. I found out that she had divorced when they were young. I reached out to the siblings who would have been 10 and 15 when I was born. Certainly, they must have known something, maybe even who my father was, but they never responded. I found out that she had died from cancer when she was 58. I built a family tree for this woman and reached out to any connected trees for more information. I found a 4th cousin living just 90 miles from my current location. He and I became fast friends, working toward discovering the family history and how they came to this country. The patriarch from France, recruited to fight in the Revolution. The matriarch from England. I scoured US Census reports, state census, Military pension records, birth, marriage, and death records. This family tree reached back to the middle 1700's and I finally felt a sense of belonging.

Something still did not feel right about why my mother was born in Missouri when the family traveled from Douglas, MA to settle in Owatonna, MN which was nothing more than a cluster of Indian teepees. Then I requested my mother's birth record from the State of Missouri. I had to produce documents with my current name, original birth record, adopted birth record, and let's not forget the payment for this service. 2 weeks later my money was returned to me along with my documents and no explanation. I called and spoke to a woman in the Vital Statistics office who told me they had my mother's records, but I could not have them without a court order. This is absurd. I got her death certificate from the state of Minnesota with no problem. Forget that I had just produced a copy of my original birth certificate, my adopted birth certificate, my drivers license and every other document proving who I was and how I was related to her. Can you imagine the feeling that they are holding and looking at her records, but me, a true descendant cannot see them? How is this in any way fair? Then I learned from another relative that my mother had been adopted. Her records sealed from view. I hired an adoption attorney in Kansas City to help me get them unsealed. After a few months he confessed that he could not help me any further. He could obtain her post adoption record (one they would not even give me) but nothing else. Several years of concentrated research, several thousands of dollars spent, hundreds of people found, just none of them are MY people. I am back to the same questions:

I turned to DNA testing. While these tests are still expensive, they are more reasonable today than in years past. I didn't just take one, I took the ones from the biggest laboratories and ones with the largest databases of test subjects. I have taken tests with,, and At the time, 23andMe provided medical testing results and I found that I carry the Parkinson's gene. I would have never known this without taking this test as I am adopted and have no medical history. At the time of my adoption, my adoptive parents were told that I had no medical issues. Parkinsons is not a medical issue? My mother died of cancer at the age of 58. Is this not a medical issue? I have severe arthritis which I have passed to both of my children. What else do I have to look forward to in the way of medical issues? It would be nice to know these things as I can only report "No medical history" on any lines of a new patient form.

These DNA tests have provided some leads as far as several cousin matches, some as close as 2nd cousins. Some do not wish to help me in my search by providing answers. My 4th cousin above, he is now more distant than a 6th cousin but we are still somehow related. I am currently building a family tree with the trees of my DNA matches. In theory, I should be able to identify different family lines that may provide information on my direct family. From the combinations of these DNA tests I have been able to conclude that I am 54% Scandinavian, 34% British Isles, 8% North African/Middle Eastern and the remainder unidentified. By taking these tests and uploading them all to, I was contacted by a Australian programmer who has converted the DNA from human remains of an 80 year old man found in a cave dig in Hungary dating back to the Bronze Age (1100-1200 B.C.) to whom I am a match. With each match I find through one of my DNA tests it brings me closer to finding my family.

From the results of only my 23andMe DNA test, I have well over 1500 matches of 2nd cousin to 6th cousins and even more distant. From those matches, I have made contact with over 500 and have been told by more than 25 that they are adopted and searching for answers also. I have concluded that approximately 10% of my matches are affected by adoption.

An adopted person has a gaping hole of emptiness that represents his or her biological family. They go through life with questions, abandonment issues, and a plethora of other issues related to the separation from their biological family. This affects them in numerous ways during the course of their lives. Most people not affected by adoption cannot possibly understand. They take knowing their family and heritage for granted. Many adoptees (myself included) are told that we should be grateful and appreciative of our adoptive parents (and we are), and that we should just get over it and move on. A study done in the 1960's found that adoptees were 100 times more likely to end up in clinical populations than their non-adopted counterparts. This should be cause for alarm and maybe it was in that the adoption industry changed to include more and more international adoptions in more recent years.

The archaic practice of sealing the original birth records and issuing a new, amended record, sometimes even falsified with different information is nothing more than "legalized Identity theft". This new record created by the adoption process is in need of overhaul. An adoptee's medical history and heritage is stripped from them causing what is now termed "ancestricide". Adoption issues are one of the largest and most widely unknown civil rights issues of our time. Our civil rights given to us by the 14th Amendment is being violated on a national level. Children that are adopted by a step-parent are not immune as this adoption process creates a sealed birth record in all but 2 states of the USA. In only 5 states the adoptee can request a copy of their original birth record once they reach the age of majority. Of course, there can be restrictions on the information they can get. During a lecture, I proved that out of any random group of subjects, 10% will be adopted individuals, and another 10% are those that have an adopted relative. Consider that each adoptee has a biological mother and father so that number multiplies by three. Based on these statistics, the number of persons afected by adoption far surpasses 30 million people in the USA alone. Isn't it time for more states to wake up and see that the laws regarding adoptions are not about the wellbeing of the child but more about the profitability of the adoption process? I have become an advocate for the adopted. I believe that children are very resilient and fare far better with the truth than with sealing away their heritage. After a century of adoptions, the products of adoptions, (the adult adoptee) are wanting answers and are showing that sealed adoptions are nothing short of a failed social experiment.

While I still don't have the answers to my questions, I have come a long way in the last 5 years of searching. What I have done for myself, I want to do for others. This is where your gifts and donations can help. It will help me fund the research and development of a DNA and research project that can help many others like myself find answers to their adoption and biological family.

Another way you can help the adoptees that are related to you is to take a DNA test and help them find answers. The joy you can provide by this simple act is immeasurable to an adoptee.

Thank you for reading my story.

Baby Bennett (a.k.a Aleta Gerard)

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