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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Adoptee, sibling reunite in #California

Gina Aragona and Maynard Smith
 Half-siblings Gina Aragona and Maynard Smith stand together in Stockton. The brother and sister met for the first time during New Year’s weekend thanks to G.J. Chris Graves, a retired gentleman who helps adopted children and birth parents find each other. Photo courtesy Maynard Smith
Recently, the retired bank vice president drafted an unusual email to the Review. He was looking for photographs of one Yvonne J. Smith.“Her partner is deceased, her house has burned down. This email is about the last gasp we are making to find a photo of her,” Graves’ message explained. “This is to give to her daughter, adopted out at birth.”

Who is Ms. Smith?
The Review found no photos in its archives and learned only a little about Smith, based on a memorial announcement that ran in the paper on May 9, 2001.
It said Smith had lived in Pescadero the last 21 years of her life — that she had a “‘sparkling’ presence at the Pescadero Art & Fun Festival.” There, she sold chili with Ron Roeschlaub, her partner of 23 years.
Before Smith died, she told Roeschlaub that she didn’t want a funeral. She wanted a party.
She ended up with a parade.
On May 13, 2001, a Sunday, a parade in her honor wound along Stage Road from the I.D.E.S. Hall to the Pescadero Community Church.
A Scottish bagpiper helped lead the way. A donkey-drawn cart, decorated with black roses, carried Smith’s bones in the back. Medieval-style dancers pranced around them, accompanied by European country-dance music, and a local rock band met the procession at the end at I.D.E.S. Hall when the parade came full circle.

Soul seeker
Graves has been able to fill in some of the blanks about Smith with basic information, despite never having known the woman. He learned when her birthday was, that she had had children, married and divorced. With scant clues, he was even able to find some of her friends in the Pescadero community.
When Graves isn’t tending his outdoor master garden, he is particularly keen at scouring the Internet in response to inquiries to find people like Smith...
Graves is a self-proclaimed “Search Angel,” helping adopted children find their birth parents, and vice-versa.
“Do you want to know what pain is, my friend? … There’s 9,349 people looking for someone in the state of California alone. That’s a lot of pain,” said Graves. He added that on birth parent search websites such as Adoption Registry Connect, three to five new inquiries are listed every day. Search Angels like Graves all over the country work around the clock to answer the inquiries.
The interest started shortly after Graves’ retirement in the mid-1990s. First, his wife’s cousin wanted to find a birth mother, followed by a man in his 30s whom Graves had hired to paint his house. Graves took it upon himself to locate them — and succeeded.
Read the rest here: http://www.hmbreview.com/news/family-seeks-past-and-finds-future-together/article_397588fe-55d1-11e2-8602-0019bb2963f4.html

What about the other 9,348 people looking for someone in California?

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful story!!! Glad Mr. Graves was able to help people reunite!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's awesome! Good to see people helping! Waste Aho

    ReplyDelete

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If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
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