Adoption, Law & Ethics

December 4, 1976 – Not Gotcha Day

“I feel as though I was stolen, not adopted. I often feel like I have more in common with people who were abducted as babies and raised by their abductors than I do with other adoptees” Michelle Riess

DECEMBER 4, 1976 – Today is the day Michelle was taken from her biological family at four days old and placed with the adoptive parents via an illegal adoption scheme spearheaded by attorney Edward Kent.

This was the first of 14,898 days that Hollie and her family were wrongfully separated from Michelle after promises were made that she would be told about her adoption and of her biological family.

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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 she was placed with a married couple through an illegal adoption scheme.

For the next forty years, the young couple had no idea where their baby was or if she was safe, healthy or even alive. Over the years they attempted to search for her through adoption registries and reunion websites but were unsuccessful. It was extremely distressing.

For the same forty years–and only a few miles apart–their daughter was manipulated into believing 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 Riess – December 1976

This is our family’s unbelievable adoption story. Continue reading