Dorothy (Dot) Yturriaga - Founder and CEO
In the late 1970s I read an article in the San Jose Mercury News about a woman who had recently met her biological father, and who would be at a meeting where others could learn about options to search for their family members. As an adoptee I had always wondered about my birth family, so I decided to attend. It was one of the first times I met other adoptees, and as the meeting was ending and it looked like there might not be future meetings in our area, a few others and I decided there was a need to start a search and support group.
Thus, Search-Finders of California came into being. That was in 1977, and by the late 1980s/early '90s we could see attendance of 100-plus people at the monthly meeting. In parallel to this introduction to the world of searching, I got started on my own search.
I found my birth name in the county records and then found a birth cousin in Portland, Maine, who happened to be the family 'genealogist'! My cousin helped me make the first contact with my birth mother, though it became clear soon afterwards my birth mother was not interested in getting to know me.
Because of that rejection, it took me many years to get the courage to contact my birth father's relatives. Once I did, however, it has been well worth it as I have regular contact with several siblings, some even being local. Being raised as an only child, it's been great finding family and some who look like me.
Ronald Bristol - President
I found my birth mother in 1995 in Grants Pass, Oregon. I believe everybody has the right to search and meet those affected by the triad. It has brought me great peace and understanding to meet my birth mother and brother.
The roller coaster we ride during the searching and finding process has been a smoother ride with the help and support from Search-Finders. I personally believe that searching is the easy part compared to the support needed after finding family members.
Kris Dollard - Vice President
I was born in San Francisco and adopted shortly thereafter into a great adoptive family. Growing up I probably always wondered about my birth parents, but I never thought that searching was possible or something I was interested in doing. In 1992 I had a health issue arise that led to the questions "Where did that come from?" and "Are there any more surprises down the road that I need to know about?" In July of that year, I discovered and joined Search-Finders.
By November, I had contacted my birth mother, and I have maintained contact with birth family members since then. I have continued to stay on at Search-Finders, both to help others with searches and for the incredible camaraderie and support that is available.
Marilyn Bailey - Treasurer
I came to California bearing a secret that I was an "unwed mother." The hardest thing I ever did was to give my son up for adoption. Years went by wondering about him and hoping one day to meet him. Then I joined Search-Finders of California. They helped me to find my son and provided encouragement and support for me to make that important call.
He was glad to hear from me and I was thrilled he wanted us to meet. Our relationship continues to grow stronger through the years. I am grateful for his adopted mother for giving him a loving and supportive home and family. I'm grateful also to Search-Finders for everything they do to help all of us in the triad.
Ruth Indiveri - Hospitality
In 1954, I had a baby out of wedlock and was forced to put him up for adoption in England; shame on me! Fast forward to 1997; inspired by TV shows of reunions, I was lucky to meet up with Dot of Search-Finders and tell her my story. She told me to write (again) to the adoption society in the UK as the records were open there. Later that year my son, Simon, was found and our letter-writing began. And a few months later I received a call from him.
The best news ever was our discovery that we are both Jehovah's Witnesses; this could be a unique situation, but we are quite settled in our relationship not only as a mother and son, but as a sister to a brother.
We have met several times here in the US and in the UK, and we communicate regularly. We both would like to know where the birth father is. Does anyone out there know a James Smoak who was with the USAF in England in 1952, 1953, and 1954?
Linda Davidge - Membership
I grew up in New York City where original birth certificates are still not available to adoptees. I always wanted to know who my birth family was. I found Search-Finders of California in 2002 and in 2006 was given the name of a searcher. She found my birth mother who was 85 and living in Redwood City! I got to meet her plus a sister and brother. Then in 2015, through the Ancestry DNA test, I found out the identity of my birth father who is buried right here in San Jose! I also have another sister and brother through my father. It turns out both sides of my family are from California and I just moved here in 1998! Knowing my family history and living blood relatives is something I dreamt about most of my life and now it's a dream come true. Thank you, Search-Finders, for starting the ball rolling!
Janice M. Gimelli - Board Member
My name is Janice M. Gimelli and I have 3 beautiful adopted children. My husband and I were married in 1955. In 1959 we were told that we probably would not be able to conceive a baby. We decided to adopt. We were young and inexperienced. With some good luck, and the help of a local attorney, we became parents of a 2 day old beautiful baby girl in January of 1960.
We adopted a cute and charming 11 month old little girl through the Santa Clara County Adoption Agency in 1962. We wanted a boy and again we went through the Santa Clara County Adoption Agency. We adopted a lively 3 month old baby boy in 1966. We felt very blessed to be able to adopt 3 beautiful and healthy children.
Wendy Dunham - Secretary