Operation Identity: 25 Years
by Mary Hanson
Identity started a few years after I moved to Albuquerque in 1973. I was
here when Sally File and the others started this group.
Actually, when I moved here, no one in Albuquerque
knew me or knew of my sons birth and adoption ... unless I told them.
My son had been born and adopted in 1969 in New York, so Operation Identity
could have been there for me in 1979, but I didnt know I needed them,
so I didnt look for them. And thus I didnt tell many my story
and was alone with my thoughts.
One day, not too many years ago, I found Operation
Identity. I attended a few meetings before I shared my story. At the time,
it was hard to realize that people at that meeting did not judge me. It took
another year or so to come back, my pain was so great.
The folks still were there only to hear each
other, to make suggestions how each of us could heal, suggest steps to search
for lost ones and to celebrate reunions. The group gave each of us the time
or space needed in our personal journey to accept and respect our own experience
and support our right to search and reunion.
My pain is less now that I have shared and
know I am not the only oneand not alone. I hope the group will be there
when I find what happened to my son, alive or dead, wanting to know me or
not, and any of the other possibilities of reunion.
And if my son and I never meet, this group
will be there for me, too. I meet new folks at monthly meetings and listen
to new stories; learn of new ways to search and ways to deal with my own
In this group, there is room for my own thoughts
about adoption, open records, and social reform. I am glad that, 25 years
ago, Sally File and others had the sensitivity to see what this group could
do for themselves and for others. I applaud their honesty and courage to
be open with their own experiences. I am grateful to others, leaders and
attendees, whove kept the monthly group meetings for others. Thank
What has Operation Identity meant to me?
A safe haven for peers to
share birth, relinquishment and search experiences.
Support for all triad members: first parents, adoptees and adoptive
Information of changes to law, social attitudes and search sources.
The library continues to offer new material. In fact, some of our
peers are writing and sharing their own experiences for publication helping
others to understand they are not alone.
The quarterly newsletter keeps us informed of what is happening in
the group, with the literature, laws, conferences, and many more topics related
to adoption issues.
Most of all Operation Identity offers friendship with the chance to
shed personal shame; honestly and openly renew relationship with our selves
and someday in reunion. Congratulations to Operation Identity for 25 years
of being there for each other!
Excerpted from the July 2004
edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 2004 Operation Identity