News / USA

Mother's Day Has Double Meaning for Adoptees

As adults, some have forged relationships with their birth mothers

Daphne Molnar with birth son Lonny Smith, who she gave up for adoption more than 40 years ago.
Daphne Molnar with birth son Lonny Smith, who she gave up for adoption more than 40 years ago.

Multimedia

Susan Logue

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the special woman who gave birth to and raised us but, sometimes, that is not the same person.

Although things are changing, there was a time when a woman who gave up her newborn for adoption never expected to see her child again. But more and more adults who were adopted are seeking their birth mothers.

People like Lonny Smith, who is leafing through a family photo album with Daphne Molnar. He has only really known her for two years, but more than 40 years ago, she gave birth to him.

"All of my memories. All of my Christmases, all of my birthdays are with my adoptive family," says Smith. "It was never an issue of ‘I want to get away from them.’"

But Smith, who grew up with two brothers who were also adopted, was curious about his biological family.

"My dad has always said that if anyone was going to do a search it was going to be me, because I was always the snoop."

He thought about it for years. When the mother who raised him gave him a nudge and a check to cover expenses, he contacted the agency that arranged his adoption.

Molnar, who is now married with two grown children, remembers the day in 2009 she received a call from the agency, telling her they had a letter for her.

"It was on the 31st of March. I call it the day of enlightenment," she says. "I never knew what I was going to do at that moment. I envisioned it being a knock on the door, but I said, ‘Of course I will take it.’"

Within two days, she and her son were exchanging e-mails on a regular basis. They met a few months later.

For Molnar, who was just 18 when she got pregnant, the reunion has been a healing process.

"This is a hole in my heart that I have lived with my whole adult life," she says. "I never told my mother. I never told any of my family. I never told the boy, so I was pretty alone. I had told my family that I was going to California with a friend of mine who moved there."

Instead, Molnar moved in with a family that the adoption agency placed her with. They gave her room and board and took her to the doctor, while she did house cleaning and cared for their children.

Now, 40 years later, she questions her decision to give up her son.

"The thinking of that time was that these agencies were doing you a great favor," says Molnar. "They were fixing your life for you, that you just need to turn away and go for it. Don’t look back. I think there is some question to that."

Licensed social worker Linda Clausen agrees. "You can’t forget. You gave up a child, there is no way you can forget."

Clausen helps people like herself, who were touched by adoption. "I gave up two sons. Both had dark hair and whenever I saw a dark-haired boy I would actually follow people down the street."

Clausen reunited with her sons, who were born in 1961 and 1963, about 20 years ago.

Brian Dorfmann, the youngest, recently started a job in Washington. He has been staying at Clausen’s home in Washington, D.C., several days a week, and returning to his wife and children in New York on weekends.

He and his birth mother were both searching for each other, but he was the first one to call.  It was, he recalls, one of the strangest conversations he has ever had.

"Who is this person? What do you say to her? What is she saying to me?" Dorfmann says. "What do I expect and how do I feel? The emotions start rushing all around."    

Not too long after, they agreed to meet in Washington.

Linda Clausen has forged a 20-year relationship with Brian Dorfmann, after giving him up for adoption in 1963.
Linda Clausen has forged a 20-year relationship with Brian Dorfmann, after giving him up for adoption in 1963.
"We met at the train station," Clausen recalls. "We just sat down, and I started asking questions, but I’d start crying the minute I heard an answer and I really didn’t hear the answers, because I just couldn’t believe he was in front of me and we met. It was just amazing."

Twenty years later, they have a comfortable relationship. "Linda was at my wedding. And she was around when my children were born, and she is Grandma Linda," Dorfmann says. He is also looking forward to moving his family to Washington soon, so they will see even more of each other.

As for Lonny Smith and Daphne Molnar, although they reunited just two years ago and live more than 1,500 kilometers apart, they have gotten together seven times already.

"And my family has been very, very open to Lonny," Molnar says. "They just adore him. In fact, he is going to sing at my daughter’s wedding next year. And he had my son come out and stay with him for several days."

They have become an extended family. And although he doesn’t call her Mom, Smith says he will be sending Molnar a Mother’s Day card this year. But they also have a holiday for just the two of them - March 31 - the day they first found each other.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid