The New York Foundling, one of New York City’s oldest and largest child welfare agencies, is planning a reunion for those children – now grown – who have been adopted through their services over the years. The following is excerpted from a much-longer article by Jennifer Peltz, published in the February 16, 2009 edition of onenews.com.
Alberta Sorensen grew up knowing nearly nothing about her origins – not even her true birthday. What she knew was a Manhattan building and a nun her adoptive parents proudly took her to visit once a year.
Decades later, the memory is still strong enough to pull her across the country. At 78, the Walnut Creek, Calif., resident is one of dozens of adoptees planning to attend a first-time homecoming in October for those adopted through the New York Foundling, one of the nation’s oldest and biggest child welfare agencies.
“I guess you could call it a sense of identity – ‘Yes, that’s where I was,'” said Sorensen, who eventually got to know her birth parents’ families.
She is among more than 90 people who responded when the Foundling began an unprecedented drive to reconnect with its adoptees. About 65 of them have said they will or may attend the reunion, which will mark the organization’s 140th anniversary, executive director Bill Baccaglini said.
The Foundling’s various programs now help roughly 7,500 people at any given time, with the federal, state and city governments covering most of its $95-million-a-year budget.
Services now include the work of two full-time staffers who handle requests from adoptees looking for their birth parents.
Sorensen began searching in her 40s, after her adoptive mother’s death. She had only her original name and birth date, which she hadn’t learned until age 15. As far as she knew, her life story started with her arrival at the Foundling, at 16 months.
It took 20 years of poring through public records and placing heart-pounding phone calls until the retired elementary school teacher identified her late birth parents. Their relatives have explained that she was surrendered for adoption amid marital problems between her parents.
…Eventually she found herself in city birth records and linked her love of singing to a grandmother who sang opera…
For other adoptees, the Foundling is beginning enough.
Read the PDF file announcement from the New York Foundling website.