Sunday, September 30, 2007

Looking for - Read on!

I came here to write about my new search and to update my last blog and I will in just a minute.

I sat here, reflecting on what I'd just read about Iowa records being forever sealed and it just torqued me off. I wanted to title this blog "How to stay a child forever" and then thought better of it. But the truth is, adoptees (in most states) are considered children forever. The adoption laws were written as though they would never grow up and become adults, with certain guaranteed rights that most of us take forgranted. We know who we are and where we came from. We can put together our medical history and our ancestral history. We can easily get a passport because we can produce a birth certificate - something few adoptees can do.

Sealed...something we do to food to keep it safe to eat...not something we do to a person's identity. Amended birth certificates - sounds like something that should come with a Cabbage Patch Doll - not real, just take it, use it, and don't ask what appened before it was pre-adoption moments never existed.

If I'm frustrated, imagine how the adoptee feels!!! Ok, on to updates:

Joanne (see last blog in August) and her family have been reuinted with one of the two sisters...Rose Marie is still missing as of this post and Andy's time is running out. If anyone knows a woman named Rose Marie, from Canada, please read the blog and get the details. You just might be the one to grant a dying man his last wish. And folks, if you think this isn't all that important, try hugging a tombstone. Many have done it and it's just not the same as holding a real live person and being able to say "I love you" one time.

My new search is for Jeff's birth family members. He was born on July 30, 1961, 07/30/1961, 07/30/61, 07-30-1961, 7-30-61 (just trying to keep the web crawlers happy) at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines, IA. He was raised in a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas called Prairie Village and now lives in NY.

Like most adoptees, he knows very little. His mother, dark hair and eyes, was 16 and in high school. His father was tall and also in high school. The physician, Dr. Robert Hoffman, is deceased. His nurse/wife, Margaret, claims to have destroyed all the doctor's records upon his death.

I came to know Jeff when I reunited his adopted step sister (my niece) with her birthmom, my sister-in-law. My neice was named Donna at birth, hence my screen name lovesdonna2 - her name isn't Donna anymore but that's really of no moment. They had their first face to face in NYC a week or so ago and that's where my sister-in-law met Jeff.

One more quick update: Cherie (born Natalie Ann) on 02/21/1958 in Albany, NY at Brady Hospital is still looking for her birth mother and twin brothers. Her birth mother was orphaned at age 16, moved from Iowa to Albany to live with her brother.

If anything rings a bell with you or strikes a chord, please contact me.
Peace to you and those you love,
Aunt Patty

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Race Against Time - Help Reunite A Family

I would like to invite as many people as possible to help -- especially those who are skilled at finding living folks in Canada (although we don't know that these 2 sisters still live in Canada). In a nutshell, a terminally ill man -- Andy Brouwer -- would like to meet two of his sisters before it's too late. He and seven of his siblings were put up for adoption by child care services back in 1962. Six of them have found each other, but with Andy's pancreatic cancer, they're racing against time to find their last two siblings so they can have a reunion with all present. Please help if you can --either by researching or spreading the word.

Read this story now and please help all you can.

Peace to you and those you love,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The search continues...1966 Yonkers, NY

Your birthmom, Sandy, is doing what she can on her end and has contacted Family Services of Westchester County who handled the adoption. I continue to handle the computer end of things.

The Social Worker at Family Services was very nice and your birthmom (at their request) is sending them a long letter to put in the file. It's so wonderful for her to finally find out some of the information that was denied her for so long and to connect with someone who would treat her like the wonderful woman she is.

Sandy was put into a cab when she went into labor and didn't even know which hospital she was being taken to. As soon as her baby was born, she was taken out of the room and Sandy was told she could not see her. As soon as she was able, she sneaked into the nursery to see her beautiful and tiny little girl and tell her how much she loved her.

When Sandy was well enough to return to St. Faith's and then to go home, she begged her mother to let her bring this little one home. She and her father fought her mother for several weeks to no avail.

We keep searching and hoping, wanting very much to reunite with "Donna" who would be a grown woman now, possibly with children of her own. We don't want to disrupt her life; she may not even know she was adopted. We want her to know we are here for her if ever she should want or need us.

We would always be respectful of her wishes and even exchanging medical information would be helpful.

I am your Aunt Patty and I'm sitting here in Colorado on this April night while the snow falls and the cold wind blows. I hope the morning doesn't bring the 6-12" of snow that was predicted. I'm anxious for Spring to come so I can plant a little garden, spruce up the cabin cruiser for summer trips to the lake and play a little golf with my husband. He's a Brooklyn transplant - we make a good pair.

Hugs and much love,
Aunt Patty

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More on the New York Unsealed Initiative

I have spent the day printing letters and envelopes to the members of the New York State Assembly in support of the NY Unsealed Initiative. In the February 15th below, you can find a link to where you can sign the petition. You can also go to the NY State Assembly page on the web at and find a listing of the assembly members along with their addresses. Please write to as many of them as you can; I am writing to them all. It is likely that this Initiative will make it through the Codes Committee and a vote of all assembly members will be called. I have sent the following letter to Assembly Member Helene Weinstein who is opposed to the Initiative.

Peace to you and those you love,
Aunt Patty

February 23, 2007

Assembly Member Helene Weinstein
LOB 831
Albany, NY 12248

Dear Assembly Member Weinstein,

As a woman who is active in both searching for and helping to reunite families, I wish to encourage you to support the NY Unsealed Initiative.

It is unbelievable to me that adoptees remain children in the eyes of the law and the courts. Most of them grow to become of legal age, they can serve our country in the armed forces, they can vote, they can own property, they can drive. They marry, have children and grandchildren and yet, they cannot know of their lineage or of those who gave them life. Medical information which would be invaluable to them and their descendants cannot be obtained. Jumping through dozens of legal hoops, almost always results in a slam into the proverbial brick wall. Brick walls of this nature represent injustice and separate families today just at they once did in Berlin.

It's as though this group of adults is owned by the courts and the legal system due to legislation that was enacted 70 years ago. It is clearly a denial of basic civil liberties when adoptees, having reached legal age, having discarded their training pants and the training wheels on their bicycles long ago are denied information about their beginnings and their medical background that rightfully should belong to all of us.

As a genealogist and owner of a well-known genealogy website (Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, est. 1998 – which is visited thousands of times each day, I know well the efforts one puts into finding their roots and understand well the reasons why it is important for them to do so. Just as researchers struggle to connect to deceased ancestors who made the trip across the Atlantic hundreds of years ago to find freedom and a better life, today’s adoptees and birth parents struggle to connect to their unknown living ancestors. Immigrants came by the hundreds of thousands, many in hopes of reuniting with their families. Adoptees and birth families as well, are denied that basic civil liberty today.

We are a great country; we recognize the value of freedom and the liberties of each individual and to that end, our presence is noted in many countries around the world. Adoptees and birth families alike, have served this country to preserve that right not only at home but aboard; they serve willingly and yet are denied the very basic and individual civil rights they defend.

This must change and I encourage you and the great state of New York to work to that end and to set an example other states may follow. Constitutionally, we are guaranteed equality. At one time, women and slaves were excluded from constitutional guarantees; now adoptees and birth families are excluded.

When my mother died in 1998, she passed the torch of family historian to me. I will never forget her words. She said, “It is difficult to know where you are going if you do not know where you came from.” Simple enough words from a woman, who was born in New York State, raised her family there and lived there all her life. I encourage you to take her words to heart.

Respectfully yours,
Patricia McCormack
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild

Member of:
The MacFarlane Clan of Rome, NY (and Scotland)
The McCormack Clan of Brooklyn, NY (and Scotland)

I may live in Colorado but I am a proud New Yorker; my heritage includes:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

NY Legislation - please read and support

Please check out this link and read about the NY Unsealed Initiative. There are links for you to sign in support and if you are a birthmother, there is also a link for you. You do not have to be a resident of NY State to sign.

It is unbelievable to me that adoptees remain children in the eyes of the law and the courts. When it comes to knowing their roots and their medical history, adoptees have no rights and are treated as though they were still a child. They are now of legal age, they can vote, they can drink, they can drive (not at the same time hopefully). They marry and have children and grandchildren and yet, they cannot know of their past if they wish to know. Medical information which would be invaluable to them cannot be obtained. It's as though this group of adults is owned by the courts and the legal system due to legislation that was enacted 70 years ago.

Please offer your support by going to this website:

Peace to you all and those you love,
Aunt Patty

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

February 7, 2007

I have been busy but figured out how to add some pictures to this blog. We continue our search as so many birth mothers and fathers, as well as so many adoptees do. It's difficult having so little information. Having now registered with ISRR and with the State of New York, we are hopeful.

If you are searching also and wish me to add a link to your blog space here, just email me and let me know.

Sometimes, "Life isn't about getting through the storm, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

Peace to all of you and those you love,

Friday, February 2, 2007

Posting more info on Donna's beginnings

Sandy, Donna's birth mother, and I have been like sisters since the day we met. I was dating her older brother, Bill, back in high school (that would be Rome Free Academy) in Rome, NY. Bill and I married in July of 1962 and divorced in June 0f 1972. There are three daughters of that marriage who are Donna's cousins. All of my daughters work in the medical profession, two are nurses.

After Bill and I divorced, Sandy and I remained in contact and have always been very close. We still communicate daily by email even though I am now living in Colorado and she still lives in NY.

Here is more information on Donna's beginnings:
Her birth mother is Sandy Shaffer Gotthard
Her birth father is Alfred (Fred) Paul Calicchia II

Sandy was sent to St. Faith's (an Episcopalian home for unwed mothers) in Tarrytown, NY, in November of 1965. She remained there until February of 1966, delivering Donna on January 28, 1966 at a hospital, the name of which she was never told. Retracing the trip recently, even though she was in hard labor and scared to death at the time, Sandy feels sure she was taken to Yonkers, NY. She remembers the name of Dr. Capone who delivered Donna. We searched professional licenses in New York State and found an Anthony J. Capone, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist, who lives in Irvington, NY and had privileges at St. John's in Yonkers, NY. It appears he may be retired now as he may well be in or nearing his 70's.

Sandy remembers sneaking into the nursery to see her baby girl. The nurses seemed to turn their backs; she remembers "Baby Girl Shaffer" and "Mother: Sandra" on the card on her bassinet. There was a social worker, she cannot remember her name, who encouraged her to keep her little girl. As much as Sandy loved her and wanted to take her home, it was forbidden by her mother. Sandy returned home, leaving Donna at St. Faith's, where both she and her father hoped they could change her mother's mind. That was not to happen and one day, after delaying the signing of the relinquishment papers for as long as she could, Sandy and her father went to the law offices of Larry Cook, Rome, NY, and the papers were signed. Sandy and her dad (who was a wonderful man) cried all the way home.

Sandy had a lot of provisions in those relinquishment papers. She signed papers that assured her that Donna would keep her first and middle name. She was assured that Donna would go to a couple who did not already have children and that they would be a Christian family. She wanted Donna to be adopted by a family with sufficient means to give her a good life -- something that Sandy could not do at that time. She was about to start college, had a low paying job as a clerk and would have no place to live if she brought her baby home.

She gave the attorney a letter for Donna to read when she turned 18 years of age. She also received two pictures of Donna; one when she was quite young and a second when Donna would have been near 2 years of age. Sadly, Sandy's mother destroyed them both.

Sandy's parents, Tom and Bette, are now both deceased. Tom died several years ago and her mother died last year. Sandy has a son and a daughter from her marriage. I have posted some pictures of all of us here in Colorado as well as pictures of Sandy and her daughter. You can view them at
Contact me if that link does not work.
I also have another site with just Colorado family members on it. You can view that at:

I'm hoping this information will sound familiar to someone out there reading it.

Peace to you and those you love,
Aunt Patty

ISO Donna Kathleen (birth name), 1-28-1996 NY who is my niece

Hi all,

I am helping my sister-in-law locate her adopted daughter. She was given the name, Donna Kathleen Shaffer at birth on January 28, 1966. Donna would be my niece and we believe she was born at St. John's Hospital in Westchester County, NY. Dr. Capone delivered her, she was about 2-3 weeks premature and weighed about 4 lbs but was otherwise healthy. We believe she was adopted by a couple who lived in Westchester County, NY.

The entire birth family hopes to make contact with her. A loving relationship with her would be our ultimate wish, however, if that is not her desire, we wish at least to make contact and share medical information that would be useful to her and any children she may have.

Sandy, Donna's mother, would love to hold her just once more and be given the opportunity to let her know that she was loved very much. She was forced to give her up for adoption by her own mother who forbid her to bring this beautiful baby girl home. A letter explaining the circumstances was given to Donna's adoptive parents and that letter was to be given to her when she reached legal age. We don't know if she ever read the letter but we all searching, hoping to have the chance to welcome her into our family where she has been loved and missed every day of our lives.

We are new to searching and have started this blog as one of our many attempts to make ourselves more visible on the internet. I'll be updating it very soon.