RE: I’ll tell you WTF happened in 1972

PS: I should add, if you’re saying it is fully confirmed that you have in fact found a long lost daughter, then I guess congratulations are in order! Can I send you a cigar?

That had to be beyond shocking.

The age lie? Hard to say what that was about. One speculation is that by bending her age from 18 to 16, she created an enhanced sense of vulnerability in order to justify her decision to offer the baby for adoption.


Coincidentally, I find myself, indirectly anyway, on the opposite side of a very similar story in recent days. Some time around 1980 (I make a point of keeping as much distance as I can from this whole business, so if I appear vague, it’s because of a fuzzy grasp of the facts, not evasiveness) my then future wife’s older sister got pregnant and ended up offering the baby for adoption. That was quite the family scandal at the time.

In recent weeks, this long-ago buried bit of history was brought back to the surface when the child, now a 40ish woman, contacted her mother (my sister in law).

The path to get there is still somewhat a mystery to me. My understanding of Nebraska adoption law (as it existed then, anyway) was that you could opt for a “closed” adoption, which meant the birth parents’ identities were permanently sealed from the public. There was some sort of back-door procedure, where a court could get involved in extreme cases, but even then the identity of the parents could never be disclosed without the parent(s) agreement. My understanding was that those cases were limited to things like extraordinary medical situations, where knowing the family history might save a life. Things like that.

Well, my sister in law never received any notification from any court or other authority. The contact from her daughter came directly from the daughter and totally out of the blue.

How’d that happen?

I’m not sure, and my “keep a distance” posture will probably prevent me from ever knowing the full details, but it goes something like this: The daughter went to the county courthouse and got a duplicate birth certificate. Previously, I would have assumed that the names of the birth parents would have been redacted on that document, but apparently because of either clerical error or some other thing, they were not. So, through that process, she ended up with my sister in law’s maiden name.

Next event in the story is the death of my father in law. The daughter happened to notice his obituary in the newspaper, since he had the same last name (a relatively unusual one) as my sister in law’s maiden name. Plus, my sister in law (with her married name) was listed in the “survived by” stuff. The daughter matched the last name from my father in law and the first name of my sister in law and in so doing. had my sister in law’s current first and last names. Plus, the obituary mentioned what church my father in law went to. 

Here’s where it gets even weirder. Late in life, my father in law remarried (church only, no marriage license) after the death of my mother in law. His new wife was and is a volunteer office attendant at that church. In addition, there was an absolute falling out between my inlaws (my wife is one of five brothers and sisters) and the “new wife” after my father in law’s death. Very ugly.

The adopted daughter called the church office looking for information. My father in law’s recently widowed second wife gave the adopted daughter her mother’s (my sister in law) cell phone number.

In that way, the first contact my sister in law had with her previously adopted daughter was a phone call that came out of the blue.

It’s been something of a shitshow ever since.


I do wonder if my sister in law has a cause of action against either the county or the church. If they were smarter or more litigious people, they might go after that. As it stands, I’m not going anywhere near it.


Back to the DNA question. Did you previously submit a DNA sample to that they used to make the match? Just thought of that possibility.


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