Steve's Story

In January, 2008, we got a call from German Search Angel, Ilona. She had been contacted by an American man from New York who was searching for his birth family in Germany. He had provided Ilona with his adoption papers and other information. Ilona determined that Steve and Shadow were together in the same orphanage in Schwaebisch Gmeund, Germany for the first year or so of their lives. Steve too had been adopted by Americans. With their common life events they immediately bonded as “orphan brothers”. Steve was apprehensive about his search and feared all the unknown possibilities. The following is Steve’s personal story...

Ever since I was young, my adoptive parents spoke freely to me about my adoption and my earliest days spent in Schwaebisch Gmeund and in Ulm. Since the passing of both my adoptive parents in the early 1980's, I had made concerted efforts to find my birth mom, all to no avail. But with the advent and maturation of the internet, a whole new world of opportunity to once again try, opened to me. While searching the internet, I literally stumbled upon the fact that there are people out there who give of themselves so unselfishly to help others with no expectation of compensation. I found my heaven sent Search Angel Ilona amidst the clutter and confusion that can be the internet. Within days of our initial contact, Ilona had found and contacted my birth mom. (A true rarity to say the least) And while I say this, I know that there are people out there who search a lifetime, and never find who they are seeking. Last April, I decided to visit my birthplace regardless of whether my mom would wish to see me or not, and hopped a flight to Germany, without sending any advance notice. Upon strong advice and guidance from Ilona over a great dinner in Hamburg, and support from my new friends and Search Angels themselves, Diane and Shadow back home, I decided to take the leap and knock on her door. With the help of an interpreter (Susan Pauls), an English speaking local (and Search Angel) arranged for me by Ilona, we were welcomed into my birth mom’s home where I sat and spoke with my mom. I know Susan could feel the high level of emotion gushing out of me after 55 years. I think she needed a cigarette after all was done, and even though I don't smoke, I could have used one as well. Ever since our initial visit, we have remained in close contact and speak at least 3 times a month, and the expectation that she will come visit next summer. I was also thrilled to find my immediate family had swollen in its ranks. I found that I have 2 half brothers, a half sister and a half nephew, with whom I speak regularly. Without the help, kindness and compassion of my Search Angel, and now my dear friend, none of this would have come to pass. And my thanks to my close friends Di and Shadow, who shared their experiences and urged my confidence, as I was just beginning my journey. I found it truly amazing the commonality that Shadow and I share, from spending the same time under the same roof in an orphanage in Germany, to living at least half our lives only 20 minutes apart in Southern California, to our bond within the judicial system, the number of kids we have and both have adopted sisters by the name of Cindy.

And to those who still seek, have faith that God will lead you in the right direction, in His own time, and steer you to those that will offer the help that will fulfill a piece of your life.


Friday, Augiust 28, 2009 at 11:06pm

Steve in Germany

Steve in front of the building that used to be the orphanage
where he (and Shadow) lived in Germany

Steve's German family

German Search Angel, Ilona

German Search Angel and Interpreter, Susan

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