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October 26, 1990 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-10-26

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Illustrat ion by Jonatha n Carlso n

parents, believing it was for
the best, told her what she
calls a "chosen baby story."
Her father had died; her
mother, pregnant, con-
tracted leukemia and had to
give up the baby for adop-
tion. Her adoptive parents
selected her. Ms. Servetter
had always figured her
natural parents were dead.
But she began to worry. Isn't
leukemia hereditary?
When faced with the ques-
tion directly, her adoptive
mother revealed the truth.
Ms. Servetter's birth mother
was an unmarried, preg-
nant teenager, who did not
die of a fatal blood disease.
Since that revelation, Ms.
Servetter has been gather-
ing bits and scraps of infor-
mation about her biological
mother. At age 18, she filed
a consent form with the

Michigan Adoption Central
Registry — a state social ser-
vices clearinghouse in Lan-
sing that can potentially
match biological kin
separated by adoption. But
no luck.
She knows she was born at
Crittendon Hospital on Oct.
12, 1961. She knows her
birth mother was a
Detroiter with reddish-
brown hair and brown eyes.
The family was in the scrap
metal business at one time.
She has some sketchy
medical information.
But she wants to know
more. She wants resolution.
For Ms. Servetter, the in-
ability to get her questions
answered is disheartening.
"I feel I can't get on with my
life. It's kind of overwhelm-
ing at times. Jewish Family
Service can't give me the in-

formation, but somebody
knows my original name."
Not all searches are so dif-
ficult. Susan Goodman's
story has a happy ending.
The 35-year-old bank ad-
ministrator found her birth
mother 11 years ago.

Mrs. Goodman grew up in
New York City as the only
child of Holocaust survivors.
"I always knew I was
adopted, felt I was a little bit
different," she says. "I
wondered about my
biological mother and I was
open about it. But I felt kind
of guilty. The last thing I
would ever have wanted to
do is hurt my parents by

The wondering was an
undercurrent in Mrs. Good-
man's life; like tides, the in-
tensity of interest would ebb

and flow, occasionally bubbl-
ing to the surface.
"There were times in my
life when I would focus in on
this and was very in-
terested, but it wasn't a con-
sistent interest. I would see
women who looked about
the right age and I found
myself asking them ques-
tions. At one point, I
thought one of my cousins
might have been my natural
The birth of her first child
was the turning point in
Mrs. Goodman's curiosity,
"because I held him, and it
was the first time in my life
I had ever touched anyone
who had any sort of
biological connection to me,
who actually looked like
She contacted an adoption
research and reunion

organization in New York
called the Adoptees Liberty
Movement Association
(ALMA). Mrs. Goodman had
been given a key piece of in-
formation by her adoptive
parents — her birth name.
She submitted it to ALMA's
database, but a connection
would only be made if her
birth mother had submitted
corresponding information.
Although she made the
gesture, Mrs. Goodman is
unsure if she would have
engaged in an all-out search
if this attempt failed. The
thought was too scary.
"It has been ingrained in
me by society at large that
somehow I was doing
something awful."
As it turned out, Mrs.
Goodman's birth mother
was an ALMA member. She
came to every ALMA



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