Left to right: HFS Adoptee Chuck with all four of his half siblings Cassandra, Marina (mom), Jessica, Sarah and Kevin.
HFS is responsible by law to physically keep adoption files in paper for 99 years. Since the agency has been around since 1949, that means it “still has” every adoption file that has come through it’s doors! Files are stored at a special storage facility that facilitates file transfers by request. These files include hospital records, birth parent stories, detailed social worker notes, and original birth certificates. For those adoptions that took pace while HFS was a Catholic agency, there are also baptismal records.
When a call comes in, Jazmin Gutierrez, HFS Post Adoption Contact Worker, takes the pertinent information, sometimes just approximate dates, and after researching the data files, requests the adoption files from the storage facility. She then fills out a report, based on what HFS can reveal by law. Both the adoptee and birth parents need to allow confidential information to be shared, otherwise, only non-identifying information can be provided. A nominal fee is charged for Jazmin’s time, but really, here’s where some of our fundraising dollars come in.
With encouragement from her family, birth mother Marina reached out to HFS in March of this year, about a boy placed with an adoptive family in 1979. Marina was 15 at the time of her son’s birth, and actually, she didn’t know if HFS was the agency that had placed her child. Jazmin established that HFS was in fact the agency, and her hope was that the son had contacted HFS to give contact permission, and that this would be in the files.
Marina was grateful that in 1997, her birth son Chuck had in fact requested his contact information be put in his file. He was 18, and having a tough time in his adopted home. Social workers encouraged him to put his contact information into his HFS file, and this actually brought him closure at the time. He left the door open.
Because there was permission from the adopted child to share information, Jazmin was able to disclose a last name and other statistics that could help Marina look for her birth child. HFS directed Marina to a recommended private investigator and Marina took it from there! Contact was initially made between Marina’s youngest son and Chuck, but the door opened quickly and an immediate connection was made between birth mother and son.
“The fit was natural.” says Chuck, “At 18, it wouldn’t have been a good time, for either of us, but now, it was meant to be. It just fits!”
Marina’s family went from 15 to 22 overnight, and Chuck was no longer an “only child.” On May 24th of this year, Marina and Chuck reunited in Las Vegas, with an additional cheering section of family in attendance. Chuck still had a birthday card and crocheted blanket from Marina that went with him to his adopted home, and Marina noted the many connections that they had despite their not knowing each other all these years.
“My daughter passed the torch to her ‘older brother’” said Marina. “She doesn’t have to be the oldest anymore!”
HFS’s work is truly life long. For more information on our Post Adoption services, please contact Jazmin Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org.