Eighteen years ago the arrangements were made. When Megan was born she would go home from the hospital with her adoptive parents, Pat and Ron. She would be loved, adored and cherished. Pat and Ron raised her to be kind and caring. By all accounts Megan was a very intelligent and delightful little girl.
When she was about 7 she noticed that she looked very different than both her mom and dad. She had blonde hair and blue eyes. Mom and dad had dark hair and dark eyes. Megan, always the inquisitive little girl, asked her parents why she did not look like them. She was an only child so she didn’t have siblings with which to compare her physical features. Pat and Ron knew some day the questions would begin. As difficult as it was they sat down with Megan and told her the story of her birth. Megan seemed to understand with the simple response, “OK. Can I go outside and play?”
By the time she was 14 she asked her parents if she could ever meet her biological parents. Again, it was another very difficult situation for her parents to ponder. It was decided they would help her try to find her biological parents. They searched on line. They poured through all the documents they had accumulated since her birth. They made countless phone calls. But unfortunately, three years later they made little headway. The trail seemed to be lost. Megan wondered; are they looking for me? Do I have any brothers and sisters? If so, do they look like me? The questions were endless for her.
As luck would have it
Fast forward three years. Megan was still asking the same questions with very few answers about her biological parents. She began asking her parents if they should hire a private investigator. She searched the internet and found me on line. My office is in the same town that Megan and her family live. Megan showed her mom our website, and as luck would have it, Pat and I were already acquainted through various business events in and around our community. Some weeks later, Pat and I happened to attend the same business function. As we talked she told me about their search and asked if I could help. I suggested she call my office in the morning and we could set a meeting to discuss the options available to her.
At 10 o’clock the next morning Pat called. As we spoke she mentioned she had a file with all the information that she had gathered over the years regarding Megan’s adoption and her biological parents. During the brief phone conversation I asked several questions regarding Megan’s adoption and the biological parents. Pat gave what little information she recalled.
As we spoke I described the obstacles in front of us regarding adoption privacy. Biological parents and children have privacy provisions given to them by law that shield them from unwanted contact. Additionally, I explained seventeen years is a long time. It’s not uncommon for people move, die, divorce, get remarried and so on. Also, memories tend to fade over time. For Megan’s benefit Pat was cautious but hopeful. Megan was optimistic and anxious to get started. We set an appointment for an hour and a half later for her come to my office with Megan and the adoption file.
Release the hounds
Since I had known Pat for some time and my morning was clear I decided to make some initial inquires using what little information I already had. What the heck, let’s see what I find before they come into the office. Experience has taught me over the years; never discount any leads no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time. I had the biological parents names, their ages, the hospital information and last known address although more than 10 years old.
I let my fingers do the initial walking. As a licensed private investigator, secure databases are available to us that allow access to repositories of information gathered from countless sources around the world. One just need know how and where to look. Although human intelligence and contact will always be necessary (and often required), you have to love cyber research! What used to take hours and even days of searching archives at the Hall of Records, a skilled researcher can now obtain in just a few minutes.
Within twenty minutes I had a name and phone number of a woman who appeared to have a possible link to the biological mother, but she lived several hundreds of miles away from the biological parents last known address. What the heck, I called the number. She was a very nice woman and quite friendly. As we talked for a bit I selectively revealed my reasons for calling her. Her prolonged silence was not a good sign. She knew something, but what? Then I realized; I was speaking to the biological mother’s new mother-in-law. She went on to explain that her daughter-in-law moved there about 17 years ago and married her son. It seemed to be my lucky day. The woman gave me her son’s cell phone number. She mentioned that I may have to leave a message because he was a Deputy Sherriff in a nearby county and he may be on duty.
I made the call and she was right, I had to leave a message. Ten minutes later Deputy Steve returned my call. I informed Steve who I was and why I was calling. Steve listened. Then he asked the million dollar question: Is this about Megan? I told him it was. Now it was his turn to ask questions. Privacy issues notwithstanding I gave enough information to keep his attention. His reluctance to give me any information, if he had it, was understood. I gave him my office phone number and California State license number and told him to “check me out.” He said he had to make a few calls and he would try to call when he could. We disconnected. At that point, I wasn’t sure that I would be hearing from Deputy Steve for some time. But, about thirty minutes later Deputy Steve called back. This time he had his wife, Leeann, Megan’s biological mother on the phone with him.
Leeann’s voice was shaky. She was obviously very nervous. As we spoke for a while she began to relax. With her husband’s gentle approval, Leeann sadly described the circumstances surrounding the decision to give Megan up for adoption nearly 18 years before. As we talked I explained to Leeann and Steve, Megan had been looking for her for many years and she wanted nothing more than to talk. I explained the final decision was hers whether I pass her information to Megan. Needless to say, Leeann was a bit overwhelmed. She said she wanted to speak to her husband, and could she call back later? I assured her it was okay. It was a lot to absorb for one day.
Is this a dream?
As arranged, Pat and Megan walked into my office promptly at 11:30 am. Pat and I exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes before she introduced me to Megan. Megan was intelligent, articulate, polite and understandably nervous. I was in the midst of describing the morning’s series of events, as they related to her case, when my direct phone line rang. The caller ID indicated an out of state caller. I excused myself to take the call while Pat and Megan retreated to the office waiting area.
Deputy Steve was on the line. He said Leeann had agreed to talk to Megan. They wanted to know how to proceed. My reply was; “If you like, you can talk right now. They are sitting in my waiting room.” I explained that by coincidence they had just arrived for a pre-scheduled appointment.” I’m still not sure if he fell out of his chair or if he was just plain shocked. He was silent for a couple of minutes. I could hear a quiet discussion in the back ground. When he returned he said Leeann was ready to talk. I put him on hold.
I asked Megan and Pat to come back into my office and have a seat. I asked Megan if she wanted to talk to her biological mother as I held the telephone receiver out to her. The look of shock, fear and disbelief crossed her face as she looked to the mother that raised her. Pat looked to me and I reassured her it was real. Pat nodded her approval to Megan. Megan took the phone.
I left my office, closing the door behind me.
In the two years since that day in my office, Megan and her “new family” have spent a few holidays together. Leeann and Steve came to Megan’s high school graduation. They continue to talk on the phone and get together when they can. Oh, in case you’re wondering; Megan has a sister two years younger. She has blonde hair and blue eyes.
At Huntting Investigations, 90 minutes still stands as the record for finding a missing person.