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May 11

A Mother’s Day Reunion: An Inspirational True Story

by Vanessa • May 11, 2013

News Flash, Spokeo Reunions, Spokeo Search Angels

Helen was only 15 years old in April of 1992 when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. At the time she was living with her parents in the Cleveland, Ohio area and the baby was given up for adoption but she never forgot about that little boy.

Meanwhile, one loving family had been blessed with a baby boy.  ”We knew Jonathan was our blessing,” said Mollie, the mother who raised the baby boy. “We’d always talked to him about how he was adopted and how his birth mother was thinking about him too. We’d even done our own search for her.”

“I never expected anything to ever happen. I thought I’d be searching forever,” said Helen as she thought back on her solo search efforts without knowing that she too, was being searched for.

Until one day in April this year, as they approached Jonathan’s 21st birthday, Helen stumbled upon postings on the Internet that praised the work of a “search angel” named Kellie SharpeSearch angels are volunteers who donate their time and resources to help individuals touched by adoption, foster care and other family events, search for their family members while providing guidance and support . There are many of them that have been working behind the scenes for the last 30 years and with the emergence of the internet and people search tools like Spokeo, they’ve been empowered to help more people in search of family.

Filled with both excitement and anxiety, Helen wrote an emotional plea asking Kellie for some of her time. It was while Kellie was attending a conference to be introduced as one of the prestigious winners of the Spokeo Search Angel Award in Cleveland, only a few minutes away from Helen, that she received the email and wrote back as soon as she got back to her hotel room that evening.

“I am always searching no matter where I am or what I’m doing,” said Kellie. “My family understands that when someone has been searching for years, I can’t wait till tomorrow to get back to them.”

Kellie searched during the conference breaks, quietly on her phone during workshops and late at night in her room. That hard work paid off when she located Jonathan and his family in only three days. A few key details (like Jonathan’s birth date and county) made for a good start, but it was the power of the Internet and online people search tools like Spokeo, that kicked the search into high gear and helped her pinpoint him. New opportunities had taken the family out of the Ohio area and they were now living in Texas.

“One of the core capabilities of Spokeo is organizing massive amounts of information to create simple and yet comprehensive online profiles about people,” says Angela Saverice-Rohan, General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer for Spokeo. “These profiles help people like Kellie and Helen find the family members they are searching for. It is truly an inspiring use of our technology.”

After that first phone call to the family home, Jonathan and Helen have been talking regularly.

“We’re all very excited to meet Helen,” said Mollie. “This is going to be a wonderful family event.”

The families chose Mother’s Day weekend to meet face to face for the first time and they invited Spokeo to help put together this amazing reunion.

hug

With so many people searching, it took someone with the “sharpe” searching expertise to bring everyone together – Search Angel Kellie Sharpe that is!

“She’s still there for me if I need someone to talk to,” said Helen about Kellie. “She’s a wonderful person.”

We couldn’t agree more. Happy Mother’s Day ladies! It is our honor to continue supporting amazing search angels like Kellie, courageous birth moms like Helen and loving families like Jonathan’s. We thank you for inviting us to be a part of this wonderful reunion and hope to continue highlighting the efforts of Search Angels everywhere as they help bring more families together.

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6 Responses to A Mother’s Day Reunion: An Inspirational True Story

  1. amber dombrowski says: May 12th, 2013

    I know Helen and she is a wonderful person. I’m so happy for her. Thank you to all those who made this possible. It truly is the greatest gift.

  2. Dee Smale` says: May 12th, 2013

    Thank you for following up and making this all a possibility. It’s a great gift to Jonathan, Helen, and the whole family.
    We love Jonathan and are happy for this new reality.

    his grandma and grandpa

  3. jeanie whitted says: May 12th, 2013

    my mom is wonderful,helen whitted, she gave up a baby boy at 15. i am 10 now, i will meet the one sshe has been searching for for 3 years.his name is jonathan.i will me him in june actullay!

    i thought that was apsalutly amazing kellie.
    ~jeanie

  4. Allison Mooney says: May 12th, 2013

    I am Johnathan’s Aunt Allison and I was moved when I saw this video. John had text me last week of the news of Helen calling and how he was so surprised. He now is very excited about all this. I just wanted Helen to know what a joy Johnathan has been to our lives through all these years. He was very much loved and taken good care of and is very talented. Happy for the reunion and looking forward to hearing more about it! God Bless, Allison

  5. Barbara Thavis says: May 13th, 2013

    This is a lovely story. Kellie Sharpe is a wonderful search angel. So happy mother and son are reunited.
    I have to take issue with your use of the term “courageous birth moms”. For most of us, losing our children to adoption had nothing to do with courage. It has everything to do with lack of resources and an adoption culture in the US that believes that children should be redistributed from young, poor (are we not all poor before we get a chance to earn our own money??) women, to established mostly infertile waiting families.
    Children are not interchangeable. Adoption has a high cost on the adoptees psyche. If these young mothers were given a viable option to keep their children that is what they would almost always chose. And for those women that just don’t want to be mothers (maybe 1% of women who lose children to adoption) is that really courageous?
    I am a mother that was coerced into thinking my daughter would be better off with a married couple (in 1980) than with me, her loving, kind, maternal, happy mother. I wasn’t courageous, I was exploited.

  6. Vanessa says: May 14th, 2013

    Hi Barbara, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. We really appreciate your feedback and will be sure to keep this in mind for future stories. Just to clarify, we meant “courageous” in the sense that she did not relent in her search for him and reached out to those who could help her locate him. We definitely appreciate your sentiment and your openness in sharing your story. Sincerely, Vanessa

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