Tag Archives: true story

True #adoption story… Alice Collins Plebuch #truestory #adoptionreunion

In 2012, Alice Collins Plebuch sent away for a DNA test… just for fun. She thought what happened next was a mistake.

Alice Collins Plebuch [photo: Yana Paskova for The Washington Post]

Plebuch had been raised by her Irish American catholic parents but her father Jim, the son of Irish immigrants, had been raised in an orphanage and his past was unclear. The test results from Ancestry showed half her DNA was related to the British Isle, which she expected. The other half was a combination of European Jewish, Middle Eastern and Eastern European. At first she wrote a letter of complaint, but then after a conversation with her sister they agreed she should test again but with a different company.

As she waited for results, the sisters wondered: had either their mother or grandmother had an affair? Or had she been adopted? This seemed unlikely given the character of their mother and the large maternal family with lots of cousins and siblings. Their father’s family was more of a mystery. Jim’s mother died when he was a baby, his father John was unable to cope so Jim and his two siblings were put in an orphanage. John Collins died when Jim was still a child and he had limited knowledge of his family. But Alice and her sister Gerry Collins Wiggins could not understand the Jewish link.

So Plebuch asked two male cousins to have their DNA tested; meanwhile Plebuch’s second test results, from 23andMe, arrived. They were consistent with the first result. Her DNA included Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry from areas such as Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania. Her brother Bill was also tested with 23andMe and his results revealed the same ancestry; a relief, they were full brother and sister after all. So the queries now focused on their father; how could an Irish American have Jewish ancestry? Looking at family photographs, Plebuch realized her paternal grandfather looked nothing like no one in her immediate family.

What followed was a painstaking analysis of data and genomes from potential cousins, identified by DNA. The DNA of one cousin, Peter Nolan, the son of John Collins’ sister, showed he was not related. So John’s sister wasn’t actually his sister. The only conclusion was that Jim’s father was not related to his own parents. Jim’s birth certificate showed he was born in the Bronx on September 23, 1913, with this they wrote to his orphanage which confirmed he had been sent their by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. They considered the possibility of adoption, mis-spelling or mistaken identity, but got nowhere.

The final breakthrough came via a message on 23andMe. A stranger had received a result that she was related to Pete Nolan. She was expecting her results to be more Ashkenazi, not Irish. The long trail of painstaking research led to this answer: two babies were accidentally swapped at birth, a Jewish baby went home with an Irish family and an Irish baby went home with a Jewish family.

Read the full story in the Irish Times.

If you like this true story, try:-
Ramiro Osorio Cristales
Eileen Heron
Emmeline Pankhurst 

If you’d like to share a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Alice Collins Plebuch #adoption #truestory #DNA https://wp.me/paZ3MX-1V via #AdoptionStoriesBlog

True #adoption story… Ramiro Osorio Cristales #truestory

Ramiro Osorio Cristales is now 41 years old. When he was five, he was asleep at home with his parents and six siblings when the Kaibiles, Guatemala’s US-trained special operations unit, arrived in the village of Dos Erres. That name is now famous for the massacre that followed. Osorio’s father was killed and he was separated from his mother and siblings.  When they left the village, the soldiers took with them Osorio and a three-year boy called Oscar. The attack began on December 6, 1982, and lasted for three days. In 2018, Osorio gave evidence in court against former soldier Santos López who was not just accused of the murder of Osorio’s family and neighbours, he was also Osorio’s adoptive father.

Ramiro Osorio Cristales - photo bbc.co.uk

Ramiro Osorio Cristales [photo: bbc.co.uk]

Back at the soldiers’ base, López began to take an interest in Osorio and Oscar, feeding them from his own rations. When López told Osorio he was taking him to live with his own family in Retalhuleu in south-west Guatemala, Osorio thought he had found a new family. But the boys were taken to the Kaibil Training Center and dressed in tiny army uniforms. Growing up, Osorio was forced to call López ‘Dad’ but was mistreated; put to work, malnourished and beaten. In 1998 when he was 22, Osorio escaped by joining the army.

His true identity was confirmed by DNA when he learned some of his family were still alive; uncles, aunts, cousins and his maternal grandmother. He learned his true identity thanks to work by the Families of the Detained-Disappeared of Guatemala [FAMDEGUA], which was investigating the Dos Erres massacre. Osorio later emigrated to Canada.

On 22 November 22, 2018, López was sentenced to 5,000 years in jail: 30 years for each of the 171 deaths that he was held responsible for, and another 30 years for the murder of a girl taken away and later killed.

If you’d like to share a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Ramiro Osorio Cristales #adoption #truestory #warchildren via #AdoptionStoriesBlog https://wp.me/paZ3MX-1G

#Adoption #Mystery ‘Relative Strangers’ by Hunter Davies

The sub-title of Relative Strangers by Hunter Davies is ‘A history of adoption and a tale of triplets’ and it is a fascinating read if you are at all interested in family history and adoption. Yes, there is some history, but Davies keeps you turning the pages by telling in parallel the story of three babies, triplets, separated at their birth in 1932.

Hunter Davies

May 18, 1932. Kate Hodder gives birth to triplets – rare in those pre-IVF days – and dies the next day. Her husband, jobbing gardener Wills, is left with the three babies plus six older children. He cannot cope. Two go to live with grandparents, and four go to Barnardo’s. The triplets are adopted separately, with seemingly no effort made to keep them together. They live their lives, until finally reunited in 2001. The process of their lives, the changes to adoption law, and the roles of real people such as Thomas Barnardo and Pam Hodgkins, founder of adoption counselling service NORCAP, is told seamlessly by Davies.

Florence was the first to be adopted. Aged eight months, she went to live in Devon. Adopted by Emily Davy, a single mother who ran a guest house, Florence’s name was changed to Gill. She had a happy, secure childhood. She found out she was adopted aged 13, told in the playground at school.

May was adopted aged two, and her name changed to Helena Mary. Adopted by a clergyman and his wife, along with another adopted girl Pam. From the beginning, Helena knew she was adopted, knew she was one of triplets. But information was minimal.

John William was adopted last of the three, at the age of three and a half, by a grocer in Beverley, Yorkshire. His name was changed to David, he was not told by his parents that he was adopted.

This is an easy read about a fascinating subject, Hunter Davies handles the complicated storyline with ease.
BUY

If you like this genealogy mysteries, try:-
Pale as the Dead’ by Fiona Mountain
The Storm Sister’ by Lucinda Riley
The Blood Detective’ by Dan Waddell

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Three babies separated at birth in 1932: RELATIVE STRANGERS by Hunter Davies via #AdoptionStoriesBlog https://wp.me/paZ3MX-1C