One Man’s Search for His Birth Mother Leads to Unexpected Friendship

Though the woman he found wasn't his birth mother, she was happy to claim him as a "shadow son."

Meghan Rivard January 15, 2018
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A voice was asking her if she was his biological mother, his birth mother. It was a phone call, an email message that was jolting for Gayle Brandeis. Over fourteen years ago, Brandeis was contacted by an investigator who told her that someone believed she was his biological mother, a son that was placed for adoption in 1985. Gayle was only 17 years old in 1985 and she knew there was no way this information was correct.

Fast-forward to 2010. Gayle received a Facebook message from the same young man asking if there is any way she could be his biological mother. Again, Gayle was taken aback, knowing there was no way he had the right person.

Although infrequent, these contacts haunted Gayle and caused her to reflect on her past and her family; she felt empathy for this young man in his search for his biological family. Her heart hurt for him, as he had been searching for someone for so long without any success.

Again, in 2016, Gayle received a message from this man, asking again if she could be his biological mother. The young man stated that he was hoping to get medical information as he was struggling with some health concerns. Again, being as kind as possible, she had to tell him that she was not the person he was seeking, not his biological mother. She offered to do anything she could to help him in his search.

Gayle talked with her husband and together decided they wanted to help this young man. Gayle and her husband started their own search and found a woman they believed to be this man’s biological mother. Unfortunately, she had passed away a couple of years prior.

Gayle shared this information with “her shadow son” and they both started opening up with each other, even though they were basically complete strangers. Gayle filled a hole for the “shadow son,” who also then found a biological sister.

It became a wonderful relationship made out of coincidence and out of love and good hearts of strangers.

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Meghan Rivard

Meghan is an adoptive mother and a big advocate of adoption and foster care. She resides in Indiana with her husband, their one-year-old daughter who is the center of their lives, and their dog Max. She has a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Meghan stays at home with her daughter but is so happy she found this outlet to share her personal adoption story and educate about adoption!


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