Adoptees discuss quest to find lost families

January 25, 2011 3:08:04 PM PST
Everyone is still talking about Oprah's secret half-sister, who was revealed in an episode watched by nearly a half-million people on 6abc.

But for many people, the quest to find a long-lost sibling is more than just a compelling story - it is their own story.

"Money could never compare to finding your birth family," said Alice Miceli of Tabernacle, who found her adoption papers when she was just seven years old. Since then, she's wanted to know who her birth parents are.

"You want to know who you are, you have no idea who you are, no idea who you look like," Miceli said.

? After more than three decades of exhaustive searching - before the internet was an option - Alice learned her birth parents' identities. Her dad had died and she was never able to locate her mother. However, she found and met a half-brother and sister along with an extended family on the West Coast that welcomed her with open arms.

? "They had parties for me when I went out there, they took me all around California and met all the other relatives and it was really great," she said.

? Bob Hafetz of Warrington tells a different story. After his adoptive parents died he began the search for his birth family. He learned his mother, who gave him up at 16,?was dead and his two half-brothers were drug addicts. When he contacted his father he hung up the phone.

"My first impression was I actually got to speak to my father and hear his voice. He went in to a panic and got very angry and fearful. It's sad but it's all I have, so I'm grateful for that.

? A counselor who works with adoptees, Bob wrote a book called "Not Remembered, Never Forgotten."

? "Searching is frightening and in most cases you're not going to find what you expect to find, but you will find the truth," said Bob.

? Bob and Alice Miceli say finding birth families can be a roller coaster ride because the high they feel after first connecting with birth families can, and often does, lead to rejection and disappointment.