What Is an Adoption Search Angel?

"You can't know what you don't know."

Rebecca Tillou October 26, 2015
article image

Many of us who have dived into the sea of searching for our biological roots are familiar with those feelings of frustration, emptiness, and wanting to give up.  I remember the day I decided I would search for my birth mom until I found her.  I felt invincible. I took a seat at my computer, took a deep breath, and said out loud, “I will find her, it won’t be that hard.”

Well . . . I would spend hours upon hours in one day searching. After about three days, I was ready to give up. My cheeks were stained with tears of anger at the state of New Jersey for having closed adoption records. They were streaked with tears of frustration because how it could be that given today’s technology, and with a date of birth and a first name, I COULD NOT FIND MY BIRTH MOM?

I became an expert on discovering free sites to input my birth mom’s date of birth 8/11/1940 and New Jersey and people’s names would appear that matched the criteria. I would go onto www.classmates.com and click on yearbook photos with the magnifying glass icon. I did not have a subscription to www.classmates.com, so the photos were tiny, and the bigger I made them, the blurrier they appeared. I stumbled upon www.classfinders.com, which was free and gave me school names, graduation years, and student names. Unfortunately, I realized many of the names were spelled incorrectly.

After about a month of sinking deeper into the mud pit of frustration, I turned to my friend Google. I searched for online adoption support groups. I found one. It was for anyone affected by adoption. I joined the group, and instantly I was receiving about 10-25 emails a day. They were threads of conversations between people in the group. The conversations ranged from searching for a family member to someone amidst a reunion.

It was in this group that I found my first true Search Angel. She introduced herself and explained her duties as a Search Angel. She explained to me that Search Angels utilized research materials they had access to in assisting in the search for the person we were looking for. She explained Search Angels do not ask for any monetary compensation, but they do ask that their service be shared with friends and family. Search Angels are incredible. They are talented investigators who work because they love to help others, and unite those separated, no matter what the reason may be. Search Angels were the answers to my prayers.

She was an angel to me when I hit one of many walls, offering words of encouragement. Her words would pick me up. I would take a few days off from my search, and then she and I would go at it again.

The communication between my search angel and me was strictly via personal email and the group site. There are Angels who will correspond via phone, and my Search Angel would have, but I am more of an email guru. Her job was to obtain all the information I had on my birth mom, and then she would use sites she had access to and plug in my birth mom’s information.  She had an account with www.ancestry.com and a subscription to www.classmates.com. She was able to obtain information I was not privy to because she was a member of these sites.

Search Angels have multiple customers at once. They can decide how many people they help at once, and they can decide when a search has reached an endpoint. The Angel I had was truly an angel. She listened to my thoughts on who my birth mom may be, as crazy as my ideas were.  She researched my ideas, and was able to rule each of them out. She was an angel to me when I hit one of many walls, offering words of encouragement. Her words would pick me up. I would take a few days off from my search, and then she and I would go at it again.

She always told me, “You can’t know what you don’t know.”  Only a few words, but immersed in meaning. It was these words that would dry my tears of defeat, calm the inner turmoil that my birth mom didn’t want to be found.  I never personally met my Search Angel, and sometimes we wouldn’t talk for a couple weeks, but I always knew she was in my corner, searching for me and with me.

author image

Rebecca Tillou

Rebecca was adopted as an infant. She found her birth family in May of 2013 and continues to keep in touch with them. Sadly, her birth mother passed away in 1999. She and her husband live in New York and are the parents of two beautiful little boys, Dominic and Nicolas. They also have a German Shepherd mix named Chester. She was recently diagnosed with FASD at 34 years of age. She is currently working with nofas.org and thearg.org to get the word out that there is hope, and that you are never too old to better yourself.


Need help from a search & reunion professional?

Love this? Want more?

Claim Your FREE Adoption Summit Ticket!


The #1 adoption website is hosting the largest, FREE virtual adoption summit. Come listen to 50+ adoption experts share their knowledge and insights.

Members of the adoption community are invited to watch the virtual summit for FREE on September 23-27, 2019, or for a small fee, you can purchase an All-Access Pass to get access to the summit videos for 12 months along with a variety of other benefits.

Get Your Free Ticket


Host: ws1.elevati.net