Adoption Story | Adoption Search | Adoption Reunion

Frequently Asked Questions and responses by Judith Land and Martin Land

Adoption stories touch many people and raise many questions.

What is an adoption detective?

Detectives are licensed private investigators who have passed written tests after completion of the requirements for being a police officer. An adoption detective is any licensed or unlicensed person who looks into historic records to locate persons of interest. Clients are children suffering from genealogical bewilderment with a desire to learn something about their biological antecedents by tracing family lineages to become enlightened about their ancestral social and cultural heritage; discover the geographical niche from which their ancestral population originated; and meet biological parents. Others include parents looking for reconciliation with children; medical doctors tracing medical histories; police detectives investigating crimes; historians verifying historical facts; and genealogists researching family lineages. False birth and baptismal certificates; closed record systems; foreign language barriers and international laws; and death are some of the barriers to conducting successful adoption searches. Adoption detectives must remain ever vigilant to the potential for psychological trauma that may be caused by exposing unwilling individuals.

Why write a book about adoption?

There is a high demand for quality stories about adoption. The universal popularity of orphans Heidi, Oliver Twist, Little Orphan Annie, and Anne of Green Gables are inspiring and thought provoking. I was passionate about my efforts to find my roots, and the positive results I obtained. I wanted to demonstrate that negative beginnings can have positive outcomes. Other adoptees will benefit from my experience, and may be inspired to do the same. Birth mothers worldwide will be encouraged to make more informed compassionate choices about accidental pregnancies and parents will gain insight into the minds of their children.

Why is this book unique?

Judith Romano’s mature awareness and in depth analysis of the circumstances that shape her life will enlighten others about what it means to be adopted. Her adventure unfolds as a series of significant events and her deep psychological reactions to them. The Dear Mom letters provide insight into the mind of a child and describe her evolution in thinking from infancy, childhood and teen years, through a succession of passages leading into adulthood. Judith Romano faces a nearly insurmountable challenge to find her roots, but her tenacious approach to problem solving eventually demonstrates the power of the individual to defeat adversity. In order to create a positive outcome for herself, she must make difficult moral and ethical choices, work within a social system stacked against her, overcome her fear of rejection, conquer her own personal inhibitions, and resolve legal constraints. Her opinions about the value of self-identity and family connections are educational and inspirational.

Who would benefit from reading this book?

Everyone enjoys the mystery of a good detective adventure story. According to a 1997 Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute survey, over sixty percent of the American population is affected by a personal story of adoption, a social topic as old as recorded civilization that resonates with people of all ages in every culture. After reading this book other adoptees may be encouraged to research their own birth records, birth mothers will be expected to demonstrate more concern for their biological children, and parents will gain insight into the minds of their adopted children.

How did you feel when your adopted mother informed you that you were adopted?

At that moment I needed spontaneous love and assurance because it was disappointing knowing Rosella was not my mother, but my body language remained rigid, and I reacted tentatively by internalizing my opinions and feelings. It was difficult expressing myself because I was uncomfortable. I was baffled about why I was adopted, and curious to know if any of my girlfriends had also been adopted. I was happy knowing that my parents chose me because I was special, but I wondered in hindsight if the deepest part of my brain was already cognizant of our genetic dissimilarities. Knowing that I was adopted caused me to be more aware of my unique individuality and temperament. My dreams and fantasies became dominated by ghostly images of my birth mother and the idea of connecting with her became a spiritual goal. From a humorous standpoint, I was pleased to know I was adopted and quick to distance myself from my adopted parents whenever they did something embarrassing in public.

What do you remember most about your childhood?

My youth was spent quietly wondering and longing for something intangible that I perceived was missing in my life. Everything that had ever happened to me lingered in my imagination, and after I found out I was adopted I wondered why my mother gave me up for adoption. Wondering where I came from was important to me. Knowing that I was adopted was a complex issue that affected my thinking as a child. Separation from my biological roots and foster family encouraged visions of my birth mother inspired by obscure memories, mystical dreams, and childhood fantasies. Over time I gradually acquired the habit of scanning the faces of strangers searching for others with physical features similar to my own hoping to find a connection. I became highly observant of other families in my neighborhood and naturally gravitated toward surrogate parents I considered to be most similar to my imaginary biological family. I was shaken knowing that I was adopted but my sense of optimism and hope that my life would turn out all right in the end were unwavering.

What motivated you to search for your birth parents?

I spent my childhood quietly wondering and longing for something intangible that was missing in my life. I never gave up hope or stopped scanning the universe for my biological parents because I was confident that some day I would find them. The ghostly image I had of my birth mother was something that haunted me throughout my childhood. Even though I had never seen her face, I often thought of her. I instinctually began as a wee life longing for the warmth and protection of my birth mother to survive. The umbilical cord was physically severed, but the spiritual connection that bound me to my birth mother was heightened by our unnatural separation. Maybe I possessed a biological gene in my DNA that drove me to succeed. Using my sixth sense, I never gave up scanning the universe for esoteric signals emanating from her essence. I used intuition to connect in every way possible with what was intuitively familiar because I was subconsciously longing to be with her. I wanted to know why they gave me up for adoption, my family medical history, and something about my cultural heritage. I wanted to be with others who shared my same flesh and blood because I was curious to know if we looked alike, had similar habits, or personal preferences. Ultimately, my drive to find my roots was spiritual and inspired by God.

What did you say after you said hello to your birth parents?

It was obvious to them that I wanted a continuing relationship in order to get to know them better in the future. Life is about making choices and building relationships. The outcome of an adoption search may rest in the hands of fate or prayer, but desire and passion provide the fuel needed to overcome resistance and assure desired long-term outcomes. Relatives don’t automatically make the best friends, but I was determined to establish a meaningful relationship and continuing dialogue with them. The positive outcomes and rewards resulting from my efforts have been tremendous.

Why did you choose the title Adoption Detective?

My origin was a mystery. Every child believes in their heart they are a born detective. My journey was very exciting, emotionally charged, technical, and filled with mystery, intrigue and suspense. The adventure I experienced had all the elements of a good detective novel. Throughout the lengthy process of discovery I imagined myself as a master detective gradually acquiring the skills needed to master the elegant art of detection. In the beginning I had almost no clues to get started. Finding my roots was a difficult process that stimulated me to investigate every sign and signal using both intuitive and deductive reasoning. The heroine of this story is hardly a traditional detective, but genealogy, by its very nature, leads to detection, deduction, and conclusions that are not always what the genealogist had in mind.

What are the key personal attributes needed to do an adoption search?

Hard work and serious commitment. Mastering the art of psycho-cybernetics to visualize positive outcomes is highly beneficial. The process of conducting an adoption search requires resilience to conquer adversity, perseverance to overcome injustice, and persistence to make your dreams come true. There are many facets to life and personal psychology that make it easy to spend a lifetime analyzing what happened in the past, but it is best to stay focused on the present, and continue moving forward into the future. It is important to remain optimistic and stay focused on positive endings. Rainbows are elusive; you must act when the timing is right to find the pot of gold that is your reward.

What conclusions did you draw from your experience?

Ancestral recovery was a peak emotional experience, an extraordinary moment that took my breath away, liberated my spirit, and gave me the confidence to soar like an eagle. Destiny is not preordained. It is about making choices. Our lives are the sum of all the choices we make, the bridges we cross, and the ones we burn. Our souls cast long shadows over many people, even after we are gone. Fate, luck, and providence are the consequence of our freedom of choice, not the determinants. When justice is served by following our principles, making good decisions brings us inner peace. Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. At this point in my life I have much to be thankful for and many reasons to celebrate.

What is the most important thing you have to say to your worldwide audience?

That if a parent can love more than one child; a child can love more than one parent. Adopted children should never be forced to decide between their adopted parents and birth parents. Increasing the number of connections you have with people increases the number of individuals you have to love, and the number of individuals who love you in return. Difficult beginnings can have positive happy endings. After I discovered my birth family, my relationship with my adopted parents greatly improved. My appreciation for them increased. I was more grateful for our shared memories and the positive influences they had on me as a child. Knowing the truth and facing reality can be enlightening. The emotional depth of some moments in life are so overwhelming that they can only be resolved by God—but it is up to the individual to make the connection.