Adoption, Law & Ethics

Two years (2017-2019)

“Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.” Dorothy Allison

by Michelle Riess

This week it has been two full years since I made the very unexpected discovery that I was adopted as a newborn after getting an Ancestry DNA match to one of my three full biological sisters. I was forty years old at the time and had never been told that I was adopted. This was obviously a very shocking thing to discover about yourself as an adult, especially when you grew up believing you were an only child. (you can read that story here)

I can’t believe it’s been two years already! It feels like it was a lifetime ago and just yesterday all in the same breath. I feel like I’ve known my family forever even though it’s only been two years since we met for the first time. I still can’t believe all of this has happened–I don’t think I will ever be able to fully process it all because it’s just so extraordinary. The number of times we’ve been told that our experience is like watching a movie or reading a novel is well into the hundreds at this point, so I know I’m not alone in my utter disbelief. Lol! Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

After 40 years, family is reunited with daughter lost to an illegal adoption.

“Deception may give us what we want for the present,
but it will always take it away in the end.”
–Rachel Hawthorne

On November 30, 1976, a baby girl was born to a young couple in New Jersey. A few days later, without their knowledge, she was placed with a married couple through an illegal adoption scheme.

For the next forty years, they had no idea where their baby was, if she was safe, healthy or even alive. Over the years they searched for her through adoption registries and reunion websites, but were unable to find her.

For the same forty years–and only a few miles apart–their daughter was manipulated into believing that she was the biological child of the couple who adopted her. This continued until 2017 when an unexpected result on an Ancestry DNA test shattered their web of lies.

Michelle 4 days old

Michelle – December 1976

This is our family’s unbelievable adoption story.