Most people who are adopted through a closed adoption usually will wonder at some point in their lives about their birth family. Dale Maryland had that desire, but his quest was not achieved until he was almost 90 years old.
A local news article revealed Dale’s happiness when he got to attend a reunion of almost 30 members of his biological extended birth family this past May. Dale is suffering from cancer, and Dale’s son was determined to find members of his father’s family. It was not an easy search with many roadblocks, but the determination of his son brought about a happy ending.
His research revealed that Dale had a twin sister who had died of health complications when she was two years old. Both of their parents had tuberculosis and were not able to care for the infants and thus they became wards of the state. The practice at this time was to send wards of the state to a large orphanage. When Dale was four, he was adopted and his records were sealed.
There are many reasons why original birth certificates should be accessible to adopted people. According to this article, for many, it is a basic fundamental desire to want to know your roots, and for all, it is a basic human right to have access to these roots. “Adoptees should not be denied access to the basic information that will help them to be able to participate in this widespread human endeavor,” writes adoptee Tom Andriola.
Dale grew up, married, and had two children. His son, Russ, continually heard his father talk about his desire to know about his birth family. After many, many dead ends, Russ was able to identify Dale’s twin sister’s last name and because she had died, her records became public.
That last name led to researching and reaching out to people with that family name. Dale found out that his birth family had also been searching for him. He stated, “My son did a darn good job with his research and I can’t thank him enough.” Dale was very thankful that he could attend the reunion and meet his extended family. He stated that he just wished it would have been earlier in his life.