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Making Miracles

Making Miracles

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Published by Trace A DeMeyer
An interview with ICARE founder Mary Weilding in Wisconsin, a pioneer in helping adoptees and natural mothers unite.
An interview with ICARE founder Mary Weilding in Wisconsin, a pioneer in helping adoptees and natural mothers unite.

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Published by: Trace A DeMeyer on Jan 07, 2011
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05/12/2014

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MAKING MIRACLES: An interview with Mary Weilding, founder of ICARE, one of thefirst adoption registries in the United States, based in Wisconsin.How did you come to choose the name ICARE, the Wisconsin Adoptee-Birth FamilyRegistry?
Mary Weilding
: It describes me. It also stands for Independent Confidential AdoptionResearch Efforts.When it was founded?
MW
: 1980What was the main objective?
MW
: To reunite those in search and end their inner pain at no cost to them.Are you adopted?
MW:
No. I am a birthmother.Did people mail you requests before the website was up?
MW
: Yes, and word spread by mouth who sent more people my way. Tell us about you and this search registry?
MW:
I have devoted 30 years to helping others, before and during the ICARE Registry. Ihave reunited 1000's of people over the years. I say
touched
their lives. I did the Pilot TV episode search for ´Find My Familyµ on ABC. I have reunited people of all walks of life and professions, including I helped to find my doctor's sister for her. I am aBirthmother and know the pain we feel/felt. I understand adoptees, having found myown birthdaughter first.How many family members have you helped?
MW
: Over the years I never kept a count. Success was far more important thankeeping numbers. Once a search was completed, I always felt the file findings weretheirs and I never kept duplicate copies. They were private and confidential, belongingto the person I was helping.Do you have a few reunions that stand out in your memory?
MW:
 The best is Kevin who ICARE REGISTRY is dedicated. I did the eulogy at hisfuneral.Mary, you·ve been doing this work 30 years?
MW:
Yes, finding my birthdaughter first and then realizing the methods (ALWAYS legal)would work for anyone.What lead you to start a registry for others?
MW:
It was a quicker easier way to reunite others without financial cost to them. MANYreunions have occurred because of ICARE REGISTRY.Do you do this with a team of people?
MW
: I worked alone most of the time with help now and then from my daughter. Overthe 30 years I was able to establish contacts (other Searchers) in all States exceptNorth Dakota. I was helping them for free and they did the same for me. I was always
 
 
trying to hold costs down for Adoptee or Birthmother. I never felt the need to make aliving and only charged expenses. We accepted donations, which often helped if someone else couldn't afford even a tank of gas orreimbursement.Are you working from an office or home?
MW:
HOME.Are you supported by advertising?
MW:
No. I only charged what it cost me. Often over the years I got stiffed because Itrusted too much, giving the information then waiting for reimbursement. As recentlyas my 2nd to the last search, I didn·t get reimbursed. But someone else will comealong and send in a donation, making up for the one who didn't. I think it all workedout in the end. Even if it didn't, I will never know because I didn't keep track. I left itup to God to guide me in giving.....It was a no-pay position, often unappreciated andtaken advantage of, which reminds me of many mothers. :)You did not make an income from all this work?
MW
: No, I really didn't but as one grateful person said Sunday night after matching aRegistry reunion,´«another jewel in your crown when you reach Heaven. Thank youfrom the bottom of my heart.µ OMG« that sounded so wonderful to my ears. I felt sogood inside. Reuniting two people and never leaving my chair!!!!I have been asked many times--what can an adoptee do when their records aresealed?
MW
: Contact the State Search Program or contact a Judge for a court order.If an adoptee wants to find their natural mother in Wisconsin, what do they do?
MW
: Contact the Wisconsin State Search Program but the adoptee will have to pay$75per hour and accept results based on Wisconsin laws in regard to release of information. The birthmother must be willing and sign an ´Affidavit of Consentµ whenshe is contacted. Or if an adoptee has their Adoption Social History from the State of Wisconsin - a separate charge - and with enough clues... I can do the search for myexpenses. There is NO provision in the Wisconsin State Search Program forBirthmothers but that's ok. I can do those or guide them to do their own. Of the 72counties in Wisconsin, 64 are searchable.Do you work in other states?
MW
: I mostly refer to other State Searchers or work through them to do a search.As a search angel, and if you've been doing this 30 years, you are among the firstever.
MW
: Yes, and proud of it!!!Did you read about Florence Fisher and ALMA or other notable adoptees when youstarted?
MW
: Yes. I read anything and everything I could find.It's tremendously important people utilize the search angels and registries.
 
 
MW
: I agree. Post everywhere you can and as often as you can. Utilize the State SearchProgram if you can afford it. Contact everyone you can find in the movement. Ask forhelp. Offer to help. Do what you can for legwork to keep costs down.Do you have someone running the website in your absence?
MW
: YES...two other people whom I trust to matchhave access and free rein.Did ABC·s ´Find My Familyµ television show utilize your services and your contactswhen they were producing their program? Why do you think the programdisappeared?
MW:
ABC only had a 6-week slot to fill after ´Dancing with the Starsµ concluded. ´Findmy Familyµ got those slots. I am hoping for its return as all the reviews were favorable.Have others mentioned your work with ICARE?
MW
: I did the pilot show for ´Find My Family.µ I am referenced in two privately writtenbooks and adoption blue books, adoption sites, etc. I had three featured newspaperarticles about me.Do you believe lawmakers are going to wake up and open adoption records inWisconsin?
MW
: Yes...but not in my life time. I am 65 and have terminal cancer. Hopefully withinthe next 10 years.What can we do to speed up the process?
MW
: Keep nagging your State Representatives. Keep it alive on Facebook or wherever«tell them your plight and your need to KNOW.Have you done any campaigns for opening sealed adoption files?
MW
: I lobbied and testified at every hearing in Madison, Wisconsin concerningadoption over the years and I got what we do have with the State Search Program. Iasked for the Sun.... and settled for the moon.From the ICARE website:
To Searching Adoptees without Birth name:
 We suggest that you contact theState of Wisconsin Search Program. When doing so, you will receive a Search Packet that must be filled out and returned by you. Thepacket will detail your options, whether it is just requesting your Medical/Genetic/andBirth family Social History or asking the State to actually do your Search and contact your Birth Mother to see if she is receptive to having contact with you. There is a feefor their service. Be sure and ask up front what will be required of you so that you willknow what to anticipate. You may qualify for a reduced rate based on need. Pleaseinquire. You can make your initial request for a Search Packet to:
Adoption Records Search Program
 P.O. Box 8916Madison, WI 53708-8916(608) 266-7163

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