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By Ms. Sally Howard

When I was asked to write about Bill's successful reunion with his birth family I was delighted because for as long as I have been a member of Full Circle, Bill has been around. Early on I found we had something in common. We both worked for North Central Airlines in the 50's, but had never met until I started coming to meetings. Bill, is the one who sends us meeting notices and e-mails, our computer wiz. Pulling my chair up to his after a meeting Bill told me, "Everything on my search journey started in 1974. We had my adopted mother living with my family, but with her health failing it became necessary to move her to a nursing home. She must have known she wouldn't live long because, before leaving our house, she handed me an obituary. Looking down I realized I had just been given information on my birth mother. The first hint of my past."

Bill said he always knew he was adopted but the subject had never been discussed. Staring at the article, Bill quickly memorized his birthmother's information before stuffing the article into his jacket pocket. No time to think about his past now as his present life was falling apart. Getting a divorce, Bill headed for Los Angeles for a new job and a new beginning. In the back of his mind he remembered reading that had a half sister listed in the obituary, but it took him fourteen years and lots of encouraging from his new wife to act on the information. Visiting Lincoln, Nebraska in 1989, Wanda continued her encouragement or "wifely nagging" as Bill says, to get him to find his sister.

Bill was reluctant to stir things up, but with the help of his daughter and wife, research started. To begin his search, the information Bill had memorized, like the last name of his mother could not be recalled. He could only remember it started with an F. Bill hated all this research and let to wife and daughter do it. Soon the phone rang. His wife said, we found her! Her name is Mary Margaret. Her last name did begin with an F! Having convenient access to the Nebraska Bureau of Vital Statistics, Birth and Death certificates were obtained. He learned that his birthmother was from Burchard, Nebraska, a very small town about 60 miles from Lincoln.

Returning to California, they drove to Buchard, Nebraska to see his birthmother's hometown. Having a cup of coffee in a local cafe, they inquired about the family name of his mother's maiden name. His mother's brother's name (Bill's Uncle) and phone number was obtained from one of the local residents. Bill, knowing his Uncle would know how to get in touch with his sister. Still fearing rejection and nervous about making contact with his past, did nothing.

After arriving home, one day when Bill was out of the house, Wanda picked up the phone and called his Uncle in Des Moines, Iowa. As they talked, Bill happened to walk into the house so Wanda handed him the phone. Bill was now being connected to his newfound family. After months of exchanging letters and photographs with his uncle and half sister they finally met. This was his first connection to his mother.

Bill, an only child adoptee now had a sister who always wanted a big brother, and guess what? They both love to scuba dive!

With this success Bill needed to know more. What about his biological father? After 2 years and a court order he received his original birth certificate and found his father's name listed. However, he died in the early seventys. While sad to realize he had waited too long, he was excited to find he had more sisters and brothers. This only child adoptee's family had now grown to include four sisters and three brothers.

Thanksgiving, 1992 will always remain very special to Bill because in Rock Port, Missouri, he met the rest of his family; his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Looking through photo albums and family bibles, everyone noticed the family resemblances. The one that stood out the most was they all had blue eyes that changed to green when wearing a green shirt or blouse. He was also relieved to find that his father's ( who died at seventy six) side of the family didn't carry the genetic heart defects that ran on his mother's side. Bill feels truly blessed. He found his family to be really fine people. They all share high ethical standards and the Midwestern work ethic which has extended down to his nephews and nieces. He even found one nephew who is a computer nut like himself.

When I asked Bill what his biological parents did for a living he said."She was a teacher. I have tried to find out more about her but all I ever hear is , "She was a wonderful woman." His father ran livestock auctions.

Bill no longer feels like an island. What surprised him, he said, was the feeling of peace he received when the void, the one he never recognized he had, was filled. Now connected to his past, Bill proudly embraces his future, a future that includes family.

Bill is an independent data communications consultant and enjoys community service. He is active in two professional groups and says he has become a political activist for Bastard Nation which is building momentum for legislative change in the California laws regarding sealed adoption records. He continues to do genealogical research and even visited his mother's ancestors ' family Farm' outside of Prague. They left there in 1867 to come to America. Bill encourages everyone to search so they may experience the joy of family.

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