Catholic Charities has been facilitating adoptions in Arizona since the 1930s. As a licensed adoption agency, Catholic Charities is required to keep adoption records for 99 years. Staff often hear from people connected to these adoptions who are seeking medical information, details about their birth circumstances, or even the possibility of reconnecting with birth parents.
Empowering Adoptees Through Information
Assisting people with reunions is both a privilege and an honor for the staff at Joining Hearts. Joining Hearts is a program that helps women and couples experiencing an unexpected pregnancy make the life-affirming decision to parent or place their child for adoption.
Recently, an adoptee named William contacted the agency seeking medical information, as he and his wife were starting a family. The staff were amazed at what they found in his adoption records.
An Unexpected Surprise
William’s file contained several letters from his birthmother, Judy. She had written them over the years and sent them to the agency in case the baby boy she had placed for adoption in 1987 ever reached out.
Fortunately, Joining Hearts staff were able to contact Judy and inform her that her son had been seeking information. Judy was both thrilled and anxious at the same time, wondering how William would react and if he would want to have any contact with her. Judy granted them permission to share those very personal letters with William and hoped for the best.
William was never expecting to uncover such personal details surrounding his birth story. He poured over the letters, learning about the circumstances of his birth and the reasons Judy chose to place him for adoption.
A Relationship Blossoms
He appreciated Judy’s sacrifice and how this information answered the questions he had. These were questions he had never wanted to ask his adoptive parents for fear that they might think he was unhappy with his childhood or family, which was never the case. Like so many other adoptees, William felt that this information helped fill in some missing “puzzle pieces” in his life.
“My birth mom and I have talked and will continue to talk. I want to thank you so much for helping us find each other. Being able to talk to my birth mom, learning about her, and why she placed me for adoption has been extremely heartwarming,” said William.
William and Judy live in different states, but they plan to meet in person in the summer of 2023. Judy is eternally grateful for William’s adoptive parents and the wonderful life they provided for him. She is honored that William wants to meet her and is hopeful that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Sally Gramke, Administrative Assistant for the Joining Hearts program, is the first point of contact for people seeking information about their adoption. The record-keeping for all of the adoption files has been a daunting task, but playing even a small role in these reunions is absolutely the best part of her job.