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  • Erika Lee Kline

In Search of My Birth Brother.....Discovered & Found!



As far back as I can remember I had wanted a brother. All my life the only siblings I was aware I had were my two younger sisters, Emily and Laura. Never did I have any reason to question it. After my youngest sister Laura was born, I remember distinctly begging my Mom for a brother. The response I vividly remember her giving me were: ‘My tubes are tied’. I believe I asked her multiple times, not because I didn’t believe her, but even at that young age I knew that what could be tied could definitely be...untied. I didn't want to give up hope. The disappointment of my 6 year old self was so real that I still remember how it felt. I remember thinking many times throughout my life that it would have been really nice to have some male energy among the three hormonally crazed sisters. We really could have used it! Trust me.


My parents, Bill & Pat, were married for 22 years till they divorced in 2001. A couple of years after their divorce my Mom started to open up about her life, thoughts, decisions and ideas. I was proud of her for feeling so liberated. At this time I was 23 years old. As you get older I guess you realize that secrets just aren’t worth holding on to. Little did I know that I was about to find out something that would change my entire life. She revealed to me that she had birthed a child before me. All I heard, in the first few minutes that she decided to share this news with me was that I wasn’t really the oldest child that was the first to be birthed from her womb. She then proceeded to tell me that the baby she had was a boy! Oh the joy of those words, an older brother. Finding this out so much later in life did create some bitterness and anger. The fact that she held onto this for her entire life thus far must have been very hard for her, so at some point that bitterness and anger dissipated. I started asking her more questions. My Mom disclosed to me that she had a child while she was in the US Airforce and had to make the very difficult decision to go through with a 'closed' adoption. A closed adoption is a type of adoption in which the adoptive family and the birth parents share little to no contact with one another. It also means that identifying information generally remains confidential. The adoption agency was Catholic Charities. The name that my Mom gave her son was Michael Patrick. Of course the first question I asked was if she was going to look for him. She said that she wasn't planning on it, but believed that God would make it happen if it was supposed to.


I suppose I spent the next several years focused on my marriage and career. After my divorce in 2007 and several years of self-reflecting I decided June 2010 I decided to make a change and start anew. I met my sweet friend Honesty in 2010, she was my neighbor in the apartment complex I lived at in Dallas, Texas. Little did I know that Honesty would have so much to do with the rest of this story. In February 2011 Honesty started to tell me about something that she believed God was working on her heart about. She trusted that it was God showing her a special path he had her on toward adopting a child sometime in her future. We had a unusual ice storm occur in Dallas the 1st week of February. At that time I was working at Parkland Hospital in downtown Dallas. I wasn't gonna risk driving on the dangerous slick icy roads to go to work so I stayed home for several days. My neighbors and I took advantage of the weather by building snowmen together, playing games on the Wii, letting our dogs play in the snow and eating lots of comfort food together. Honesty hosted a chili bowl night at her apartment that Friday with 3 of our neighbors (Matt, Kristin, Tony) and myself. Little did I know that there were conversations we were gonna have that day would propel so much change. Matt told his own adoption story and how he reunited with his birth family and Tony also told us stories about being fostered when he was a child and a story about reuniting with his birth sister after a search for 10 years. Honesty told her story about desiring to adopt in the future. I just felt compelled to be a part of this discussion and talked of the brother that I had learned I had several years ago that I really would like to find one day. All my friends recommended that I start to ask my Mom about details of the birth like date, place of birth, etc. and then start a search of my own. That’s just what I set out to do that very same weekend.


I have a very visual memory. If you tell me something I'm likely to forget. If you send me an email or a message I'll have a better chance of it landing in my memory bank, LOL! Sooooo I decided to text my Mom and request the key information that would start me on the journey.


What date was your son born? What name did you give him? Where was he born?


Mom's response:

'He was born on **-**-****

'I named him Michael Patrick'

'He was born in Charleston, South Carolina. I’m pretty sure he was born in the air force base hospital. I don’t know how much he weighed. I remember that they placed him on my chest after he was born, I kissed him 5 times on the forehead, then they took him. That memory is emblazoned on my mind. I cried for days and days following his birth. I also sent for my Dad. He came and comforted me. Yes it was (hard). I don’t recommend it. I believe he had a good life. Catholic Charities who I went through said he was adopted by a family with a Mom, Dad and 4 year old brother. He lived in Georgia, in a brick house with a fireplace just south of the South Carolina border near the coast. I never forgot that either. You now know everything I know. I pray that I can see him someday. '


That's all I needed for the search to begin.


On Sunday, February 6th I signed in to an Adoption Registry to post a search for my brother.


Adoption Registry Connect;

This is to confirm that your adoption registry listing has been posted:

In search of my half brother, born as Michael Patrick, son of Pat (x), in Charleston, SC. He was born on (x). That would make him 33 years old now. He has 2 other half sisters other than myself who would like to make contact with him.


I literally received this response the very next morning, Monday, February 7th. All of the rest of the following events below occurred Monday, February 7th.


You have received a response to the genealogy query that you posted. Scroll down to see the reply.


Here's the response:

-----------------------------------

Hello, I suggest that your mother post on the South Carolina Adoption Reunion Registry. I can send you more info on how to register.

There is a private SC Registry also to post on.

Your brother might be registered, already.

-Jack

Manitowoc, WI

9:00am


Hello, this is Jack again.

I found a male adoptee posted on the Private SCARR Registry. Control #3311 is searching for his birth family. This might be your brother!!.

Do a keyword search for the South Carolina Adoption Registry. You can actually see the post for Charleston, SC. There are two females and one male listed for that date. What do you think?

Jack

Manitowoc, WI


Immediately after receiving Jack's messages I went and looked at the post on the SCARR registry and posted an inquiry there.


Literally around 2 hours later I received an email from the Webmaster of the SCARR website stating:


'The birth mother needs to complete a registry form. WE need some way to contact her and compare the info to the registry entry you are asking about. You shouldn’t have a problem with the registry for or the guest book, If you do, please let me know. But the registry form is what we need from her in order to compare the info. When your search is completed and you are reunited, please let us know we will mark your entry as reunited.' -Linda Cecil, SCARR Webmaster


My Mom and I were out shopping together that day and were fortunately together when Linda's message came through. At the time my Mom was a bit overwhelmed with me informing her I started the search for her son, my brother. I placed her on the phone with Linda before she could back out. My Mom looked like she had seen a ghost. Apparently Linda was reading to her the information she had about my Mom from Catholic Charities. Later we found out that my brother and his wife retrieved the 'non-identifying' information from Catholic Charities 7 years prior when they first started to look for our Mom and provided it to the SCARR registry.


Linda called me later in the day after my Mom had submitted the registry form and told us that this was 99% a match. She had already contacted Mom’s son (my brother) and his wife. She asked if it was okay if he called us. Of course I said 'YES'. She said that she wants me to be prepared because there are several parallels between him and our family.


She told me 'I have to tell you your brother's name was so that you know who’s calling. Are you ready for this? His name is ‘Erik’.


I was thinking: What??? How??? His adoptive Mom gave him the name Erik??? Unbelievable.


The other few things that were also similar are that both him and our Mom played the Baritone horn in the marching band, were both in the United States Airforce and Erik's daughter is left handed, just like our Mom.


By the evening of February 7th, My Mom, Sister Emily and I were Skyping with my brother and his wife! It was incredible how much he looked like my Mom and her brothers. We later found out from his Adoptive mother that February 7th was the day she adopted him in 1978.


Of course I had to let Jack from Wisconsin know what had just taken place. It wasn't until I found my brother that I was extremely curious who this 'Jack Nasep' person was. Read on...


My email:


You won't believe it. A representative of South Carolina Adoption Search contacted me today via phone. She connected us with our brother!!!


Our Mom was here tonight with one of my sisters and we did a phone conference with him!! It was surreal and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart! You really helped speed this along. Within two days of searching I found him!


It's true..It's really true!


I would truly like to send you a picture or two when we reunite! Him and his family will be coming to visit soon.


Thanks again!


Jack's response:


Erika, that is just wonderful. I would love to see the photo of your reunion.


2011 is going to be a great year for you and your family.


Erika, you are most kind.


I am 65 years old, and have been married for 39 years to my wife, Helen. We have two grown children and one granddaughter. Basically, I am a hobby Genealogist. Twenty nine

years ago, I was asked by a family friend (adoptive father) to help find his daughter's birth mother...he heard that I tracked people. We found the birth mother in a short time. His daughter told her friend about me. Her friend was adopted, also. Her friend asked for help in finding her birth family. We found her birth family. She told a friend etc. Word of mouth was the means of getting involved in more searches. With the advent of the Internet, my search communications expanded. I did not keep track of the number of reunions, until January 2007. My wife, Helen, asked me to get organized in my paperwork, so I cleaned up the files and started to separate the "finds." Starting January 2007, I have assisted in 232 confirmed reunions. In my opinion, all were fated to happen.


Meeting so many wonderful adoptees, adoptive parents, bio-siblings, and birth parents over the years, my volunteering has never grown dull, or boring.


I am so happy for you and your family. Jack


My mother's email to Jack:


Dear Sir, You have changed my life. I am so full of joy at having received my son back into my life. It is still surreal and overwhelming to me. I have looked at him and see that he is truly my relative. I can't thank you enough, you are a true angel in my life and I will not forget the kindness you have bestowed on my family and I.


Thank you.


Patricia


More interesting parts to the story are that my brother started a Facebook Group a month before our reunion. After the reunion he actually added me to this group.


Erik added you to the group "Searching For My Birth Mother 10/18/1977 Possible Name Michael Patrick"


Group description:


Dear friends, I am in search for my biological mother. Please forward this to all friends to branch this across the entire U.S. I was born on October **, 19** at Charleston Naval Hospital in Charleston, SC. My adoption agency was Catholic Charities. Both birth parents were active duty Air Force and in early twenties. Both parents were possibly of Irish descent. I was given the name Michael Patrick at some point in the process. This may be a possible lead as it may in fact be my biological name first and last. Again, with as many friends that each of us have, please share this with everyone.


'Hi Erika,

Erik wants to be friends with you on Facebook'


My last email to Jack:


Thanks Jack!! We are so blessed! Erik came to Dallas and we had an Irish weekend with a St. Patrick's Irish parade and a St. Patrick's Day triathlon. We miss Erik already and are going to fly out in April to see him and his wife graduate college and meet my niece Cloe Mae (3 at the time, now is 13 years old).



Mom, Erik, Emily & I the weekend we reunited - March 2011

Mother and Son 2011


My Brother Erik 1978

Adoptive Mother Sandy with Erik - 1978


My niece Cloe (6 yrs old) & I -2014

My niece Cloe, Erik's daughter - 2018

Our Birth Mother Patricia, Erik's adoptive Mother Sandy - May 2011



May 2020 - Pandemic Siblings!

As many of you already know, my brother lives here in California, has for many years. He is the main reason I am now living here as of four years ago. We are only living about an hour away from each other. Since moving here I have discovered I have 13 other relatives, on my Dad's side of the family, that live closeby!! Erik and I have grown so much over the past 10 years in our relationship as brother and sister. I am so proud of him and the man he has become. Such a wonderful and successful Father, Son, and Husband. I've also gained a whole bunch of new family members, for which I am eternally grateful!! And I am blessed with a beautiful sister-in-law and niece!! My heart is overflowing!



Stay beautiful, unique and inspired


--Erika Lee Kline lives in beautiful Pasadena, California. She is fitness minded & enjoys hiking, biking, paddleboarding and wall climbing. She is a fully embodied Empath, a human rights advocate, ballroom/Latin dancer, a student of human behavior and an MI Practitioner. She is a Pediatric Diabetes Nurse working in Los Angeles at a Children's Hospital. You can find her on Clubhouse, TikTok & Instagram.

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