Friday, March 18, 2016

One Year Later: An Adoptee Reconnects with Her Birth Mother

Julie Mooney was one of 400,000 adoptees who were able to legally access their birth certificates for the first time in Ohio one year ago thanks to the advocacy efforts of Adoption Network Cleveland. The change in law that allowed adoptees born in Ohio between Jan. 1, 1964, and Sept. 18, 1996, to access their birth certificates was a first step in a new direction for Mooney — she lost both of her adoptive parents and wanted answers about her origins. Having access to her birth certificate meant she could finally connect the dots and discover the secrets of her past.

Cleveland Magazine
followed Mooney on her life-altering journey to find her birth mother Lyssa Marie Kappel* over the course of four months for the feature, "My Name is Julie," published last August. The reunion wasn’t without obstacles, but through a long-awaited healing process, the two created a bond. Mooney also discovered she had two younger siblings.

“After print, the story got even better because then Lyssa opened me up to her whole family, but it took that to get her to that point,” says Mooney. “I finally bit the bullet and got over everything as hard as it was. I’m so much more confident in my life. So many positive things happened after that whole event.”

Distant at first, Julie and Lyssa are now close. 

"I went to spend Christmas with them and it was awesome," Julie says. "I felt like a new puppy at Christmas. The holidays are a hard time anyways missing my parents. I was just thinking, What are the odds that you lose your parents and you get a second chance at family? It was absolutely amazing."

This weekend, March 18-20, Adoption Network Cleveland is hosting an annual three-day conference at the DoubleTree in Westlake to celebrate and honor adoptees and the various roles adopted parents and birth families have in their lives. Events include talks, workshops and performances. 

By James Bigley II

* Cleveland Magazine changed her name to protect her identity.

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