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Following the SIG meetings at 9:30 a.m. and a short business meeting from 10:30 a.m to 11:00 a.m. PDT, Dr. Penny Walters will present
"Searching for Ancestors When You're Adopted"
Some girls or women feel unable to look after their baby or feel forced to give the baby up. Some babies were given to relatives to look after, others were fostered or adopted, or abandoned. Subsequently, people have gaps in their personal history and may want to find out about their biological family. This session will discuss the practical realities and the excitement and pain of researching a "new" family. Some relatives don’t want to be "found," others have been desperately searching for years. Most people can ask family for information about their relatives, whereas adopted people often can’t. We will look at the invaluable information that can be revealed to adopted people through DNA testing, and the resultant matches and ethnicity estimates, to supplement any paper trail. Reunions may not go as well as expected, so some adopted people can find a lot of satisfaction in finding other relatives, or constructing an ancestral tree, all of which can help with identity and a personal narrative. Penny will reflect briefly on her own adoption story, and discuss the variety of ethical dilemmas that can arise when searching for relatives or ancestors, as described in her 2 books, Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy and The Psychology of Searching (Amazon). We will also discuss how people can sensitively help adopted people with their search.