Adoption: Are You My Mother?

Adoptees and birth parents move mountains to find one another

Patricia Szymczak was 36 years old when she decided to pursue a quest she had contemplated since childhood: finding her mother. Adopted in infancy, Szymczak, a reporter with the Chicago Tribune, attacked the task as if on deadline. She knew the woman's name and hometown from a 1953 Illinois adoption decree, obtained when she turned 18 from her adoptive mother. Szymczak called the local post office, found a retired mailman and got him talking about the family -- her family. She contacted old neighbors, who led her to friends. Some had seen the woman, who now lived out of state, at...

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