Search Angels: The Volunteers Reuniting Birth Families
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Search Angels: The Volunteers Reuniting Birth Families

(piano music) – When my parents felt
that I reached an age that I could understand it and comprehend it, that’s when they opened
up and told me everything. You ask yourself, where did I come from? Do you know any of my history? Do I have brothers and sisters? Do they wanna see me? Those questions follow you every day throughout your entire
life until you either give up or you do in fact
meet your biological family. (piano music) So I contact Susie, and she
immediately got back to me. What’s your Social Security number? When were you born? What hospital, what city? Within a matter of hours, she
had already found the family. Through Search Squad and Susie Mathis, I met my biological family,
and the rest is history. – My first case was 17 years ago, and I had no clue what I was doing. (door closing) When I was working, especially
if one came in late, I mean, it was nothing. I would stay up ’til two or three o’clock all the time searching. (beeping) I stopped working in February, because I have a medical illness, and now that I go to
the hospital every day, I mean, I definitely am
searching almost every morning while I’m sitting there. (dramatic music) Search Squad is a closed Facebook group dedicated to helping adoptees
and birth families reunite. (dramatic music) We have about 100 Angels, and
we have 60,000 plus members. We all have different talents
to bring to the table, so, we do work together as a team. Every search is different. Some can be solved in a matter of minutes. Some can take months,
years, or maybe not at all. It really depends on the
information you have, or the information you can obtain. The first thing that a searcher would do would be to join our group, Search Squad. In order to do that, they
have to answer some questions. Are they looking, do they
have a search for someone, their relationship to that person. Because we wanna protect people’s privacy, no sensitive information goes in the group even though it is closed. There’s just too many people
there that can see it. (dramatic music) So, the first thing I do is of course look at the information they have. Then I open birth index records, and we use several sources for that. VitalSearch is one that I use. Ancestry is another one. – We use Classmates. We start looking for
schools if we have a school, and we will use GenealogyBank
to look up obituaries, military records, find a grave websites. We will grab pictures
of people that we think are possibilities and
they’ll be side by side, and you look at how deep their eyes are, or their cheekbone structure,
or their chin, their ears to find any kind of
information that we can. Every child that was adopted
wasn’t placed in a happy, healthy home, you know? Maybe there was just
never a close connection. So, I think even if it’s not
a happy ending they know, and it gives them closure,
and that they at least know their answer. (dramatic music) – This is your adoption announcement. – That is?
– Yeah. It’s the one that I, (mumbles). – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this. Did, is this something you
guys sent to everyone, or? – Yeah, to the family, and… – That’s kind of cool! – Yeah. – I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. (murmuring) I was born August 30th,
1970 in Cincinnati, Ohio, at Jewish Hospital. Immediately placed into adoptive care. September 25th of 1970 I was given to Eileen and John Murray. (dramatic music) They sent me to the best schools. They always made sure that both myself and my sister had
everything that we needed. Even though my mom and
my father did great, there’s still that one
piece that’s missing, and it’s, it’s an eternal void. – My most recent case, I
was contacted by a sister searching for a sister,
and when Sherry gave me the information she had
an exact date of birth. By the end of the day, we narrowed it down to one person that matched
all of the information that she had. I met with Paula the next day, and it was really crazy,
because she had told me her son had just done DNA. Before that, Sherry had done DNA years ago trying to find her sister. (dramatic music) By getting Sherry’s DNA
and Paula’s son uploaded to a public site called GEDmatch we were able to confirm
that they were sisters. And then at that point I put them in contact with each other. (dramatic music) – It’s been a long time. Do you remember when it started? – When I started looking for him? – Yeah. – Probably nine, ten, I was told, and then I started asking
questions around 13. I just wanna see if we look alike. I wanna see if she looks like my mom, so I’ve got some of my mom
out when she was young. I had a picture made for her, of my mom, to give to her. And I did go get her some flowers today. – Why’d you wanna get her flowers? – Just to say welcome to the family. – Did you ever have any
questions around it? – Oh, absolutely. Why am I, why was I given up? You know, I did have a loving family, but it’s still nice to know the why. – I am here with Susie
Mathis, the Search Angel, and big John Murray is on his way. – Yes, he is. – What the Search Angels
had done was brought me into a location where they
had already pre-positioned my biological mother, Linda, and my brother, Johnny, and Terry. So I was so focused on this table, I didn’t even see what
was going on around me. And then I was asked,
do you wanna meet them? And I said, yeah. They said, turn around. (people laughing) Oh my God! Are you serious? I was like, there’s no question. There is no question
that these are the people that I’ve been looking
for, and it turns out that they had been looking for
me for the entire time, too. For the first time in my
life, I actually felt whole. (dramatic music)
Oh my God! – Is this it? Do you think it’s okay
to pull in the driveway? – We’re family.
(laughing) Sure.
(laughing) – Oh, gosh. (door creaking) (dramatic music) – Paula? – Sherry? (laughing) (dramatic music) – I get to finally meet you. – I know!
(laughing) We have to talk about it. (laughing) – I can’t believe it. – You do look like mom. (laughing) You look more like mom than I do! – I do. – Every search, no matter
how it starts or ends, there’s intense feelings on
the side of that searcher, and that’s carried over to us. I have a passion for helping people. I’ve always been a people person. I got connected with Search Squad, and fell in love. It just became a passion. – So–
– Wow! – It’s unbelievable. – It is! (gentle music) – And these are for you. – Need a hug. – You’re welcome.


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