What would be your reaction if you finally received an e-mail that you were hoping for? What if it was from the son you placed for adoption 44 years ago? That is the story of Barbara Berry and Jason Sargent.

According to USA today, Barbara was 19 years old when she gave birth to her son, whom  she called Jeremy. He was three days old when she placed him for adoption and then, for 44 years, she didn’t have any contact with or information about him. Barbara discusses how she thought about him all of the time, especially on birthdays, and although she called him Jeremy, she didn’t know his true name.

Jason didn’t start looking for his biological family until he was an adult and had just lost his niece. That death made him want to tell his birth mother that “he was okay and she made the right choice.”

Through a website that facilitates DNA testing, Barbara and Jason were matched and recently met after 44 years. Barbara shared the importance and feelings of many birth parents. “There’s something inside of you that just, it’s not settled, it’s just not. A part of me is somewhere, and I just wanted to know where it was.”

Stories like these reiterate the value of open adoption. Open adoption, while not appropriate in all situations, can benefit everyone involved. It can reassure the birth parents, as it did for Barbara, that the child placed for adoption is okay and validates their decision. For the adopted child, it can give knowledge of siblings they may have and open up possible relationships with an extended family. It also validates their heritage and gives them closure on “why they look like they do.”

Most adopted children wonder where they “came from” and want closure. Meeting with birth family can resolve many issues for them as they become an adult.