Searching for Something

Searching for Something

Searching for Something Blog Hero Image
Written by Rachel Shifaraw, C.A.S.E. Emerging Leader & Creative Content Specialist
Published on: Jul 03, 2024
Category Adoption

In my years of working within the adoption community, I’ve listened to countless stories of search, reunion & wonder. They often start the same… “I’ve always been searching for something”, I hear many of my peers say. I can relate. I, myself, have lived a lifetime in search of something…

Searching for Connections

I thought I’d find all the answers by finding my biological family. I remember thinking all the puzzle pieces would finally fit together, the missing bits would now be there & the difficult information would for once be better understood. I remember feeling like adoption search & reunion felt like falling in love. It was euphoric…waiting at the edge of my seat for more information, waiting by the phone for my mother’s calls…thinking of her constantly & constantly wanting contact while being met with challenges like language barriers & emotional trauma. And like all intense “love stories”, search & reunions have taught me they can be made up of not only those good belly butterflies but also harrowing heartbreak as well.


Search and Reunion Experiences

C.A.S.E. Emerging Leader, Sara Bruce, was 18 years old when she began searching for her biological family. She quickly discovered her birth mother did not want to be contacted. She remembers feeling disappointed & frustrated…”I understand her wanting her privacy, but I was really frustrated that she wouldn’t share our family medical history. It’s something I feel very strongly is my right to know”, she said. Sara remembers her search making her angry at the adoption system in general for not doing a better job at protecting the medical rights that she believes she’s entitled to.

Emerging Leader co-chairman, Zoe Bulitt, has written her chapter of adoption reunion a bit differently. While she has always known who her biological family is, she has made the personal decision not to have contact with them. “It was a difficult decision for me, but I had to decide what was best for me at the time. I know my adoptive family loves me no matter what & I had so much information about my birth family already, I felt like I didn’t really need that connection. They were really just blood…nothing else in my mind”, Zoe stated.

Keith Sciarillo, a late discovery adoptee, didn’t find out he was adopted until he discovered the family secret at age 33. He dove headfirst into his search & reunion… “I found my biological father first. We talked right away. I then found out that my biological mother had passed a few years prior. I found 7 biological siblings, all relinquished to adoption as well”, he recalls. Keith has navigated his journey by reminding himself “not to dwell much on what could have been.”

Emily Kwiatkowski began preparing for her search as a teenager, working with an adoption competent therapist at C.A.S.E. “We read The Adoption Reunion Handbook, & I started filling out paperwork with the Virginia Department of Social Services a month before I turned 18. On my 18th birthday, I mailed off my 2nd DNA test & this was the turning point in my search & reunion journey.” Kwiatkowski quickly was matched by DNA with a full blood sibling who was able to provide identifying information of her birth parents & other siblings she had longed to know. Within two short months, she had reunited with her birth mother. “Unfortunately, we had been kept a secret from our older siblings. This part of the reunion ended poorly as revealing this secret led to secondary rejection. To this day, the siblings I am in reunion with & I have no contact with our oldest siblings or our birth mother”, she said. Emily remembers being “blindsided by the rejection” she experienced despite her preparations


Searching for Healing

I found myself sobbing on the cold tiles of my bathroom floor as I read through my interviews with my peers preparing to write this piece. The tears pooling on the tiles beneath me, I asked myself why my soul was aching…& the answer was simple, nobody’s search & reunion ended in the blissful fantasy of finding wholeness. It often opened up a whole new can of worms to sort through. We all worked SO hard to muster up the courage to start our search for something & we all walked away with perhaps more than we bargained for. The journey continues on despite the results…if there’s one thing we understand about adoption, it’s that this process is lifelong.

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