I found my birth mother when I was 18 years old. I had completed my first year at Harvard. Dean’s list. I felt misled. I had done everything I was supposed w/ better results than I imagined. Why did I still feel so empty? The answer must be that I needed to find my birth mother. Who would not feel lost if she had no family, and no where to go on break from school? I was taken in by a black family who wanted to help a black student who was doing really well and had no support. I commuted to the job I had won through a scholarship at a major New York newspaper. Someone called the paper and got me on the phone because my job was to answer the phone. She thought maybe the paper would want to do an Oprah type story on her, about how she had found her birth mother using a searcher. The paper did not care. But I called her back not representing the paper, but as my 18 year old self, and I asked her how she did it. She referred me to people she called searchers. She gave me a phone number. I wasted no time, I didn’t even put down the receiver just click the hang up button before I was dialing their number. I spoke to a woman in California. She told me there were two types of searches. One, you knew your mother’s name, you just didn’t know where she was. That type of search cost $900. Cash. But if you were like most adoptees, and your name has been changed at Birth, and your real records sealed, and your were issued false papers to make it look like your adopted parents had given birth to you, well, you had no clue who you were or where your people were. If that was the case, and she suspected it would be, then that type of search would cost me $2,500. But before we can get to all of that I would need to send her $300 in cash. The caller had not targeted me when she directed me to this searcher. She had no way of knowing she had obtained the heart’s desire of the young woman who took her call. I did not believe I was being scammed when she detailed, breathlessly, how amazing it was to meet people who looked like her. I wanted that too! I decided I would do what she did, no matter the cost. It would be fine.
Amazingly I was right! I used my earnings from my summer job and sent $300 in cash. I waited for the next thing. And there was a next thing. No scam, unless you count the cosmic joke if my situation. No that’s the cynical me. I want you to know that if it sounds too good to be true it usually is, and the most important word in that sentence is usually.