EDITOR'S NOTE: In a two-part series, one local man's search for his birth mother has an incredible result. In part one, the search is launched.
NEGAUNEE - David Bond always knew he was adopted. For most of his life, he wasn't planning on finding the woman who gave birth to him. He pauses when asked why that was.
"I was always happy with what little I did know," he said. "I thought that would be enough. I was worried that if I found out more, it could turn out bad."
Finding Family graphic by Bill Harris
So for the first 43 years of his life, he didn't look for more information. Then his wife, Amy, convinced him to let her look for his birth mother.
The result of that search has been nothing short of amazing.
This story starts when David was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on March 29, 1970.
"I have always known I was adopted," he said. "And it was the same with my sister, Mary Jo, who's three years older than me. She was adopted by our parents when she was 2 years old."
He knew he was adopted on June 26, 1970, when he was not quite 6 months old.
"(My birth mom) had me for a little while, then gave me up when I was about 2 months old," he said. "I was in a foster home, but not for very long."
His parents, Bill and Jo-Ann Bond, adopted both children in Wisconsin, where they were living at the time. They moved to Negaunee in 1972 into the house in which David still lives, now with Amy and their children Taylor, 14, and Tucker, 12.
Despite a happy childhood, he doesn't have strong memories of his growing-up years.
"From what I can remember, we went on vacations and things like that," he said. "My dad was a school principal and my mom was a (registered nurse) so she went in and out of afternoon and weekend shifts. My dad was gone a lot because of responsibilities he had at school.
"Most of my time was spent outside, with my friends. I was in Cub Scouts and Little League and things like that and my parents were very supportive."
The Bonds adopted him, but David said he's not 100 percent sure why.
"I think my mom couldn't have kids. My dad was from such a broken home. His dad gave him to his sister to raise. I think that's why they were so upfront about my being adopted," he said.
Jo-Ann Bond's side of the family was Italian in origin, plentiful in number and loving in nature. David had a happy life with his adoptive family, but then his father, Bill Bond, died the day before David's 14th birthday and his mother passed away when David was 23.
David - called Bondo by just about everyone - and Amy met at their workplace, The Mining Journal, more than two decades ago and have built a wonderful life together.
"After we had the kids, I wanted to get the medical history information," Amy said. "I would ask Bondo if I could look for his birth mom and every time I asked him, he'd say no. But I swear to God I had a feeling that she was out there and she wanted him."
This past October, she asked Bondo again about doing the search and he said yes. Amy got to work (see sidebar).
"When it came time to fill out the paperwork, there's one box on the form that asks you if you want to know everything. If you check that box, you have to write a short statement of your intentions," Amy said. "I wrote explaining Bondo had a happy childhood, and he's happy now but he wanted to know more."
With that one little check mark, Bondo let go of the fears that had quietly held him back from doing such a search.
"This was done with a purpose," he said. "Especially with having lost so many people in my life, I had put up a wall. Now I was accepting the search. The wall had come down some."
Including a lot of work on the Internet, Amy started her search in October. Less than two months later, the phone in the Bond home rang. It was 3:40 p.m. Jan. 21.
"I said hello and the woman from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families didn't even say hello back. She just said 'we found her,' " Bondo said.
The agency could not tell them more than that without the birth mother's permission but that did not take long either.
"On Jan. 21, we got the call they found her," Amy said. "On Jan. 31, we got the call that (the birth mother) had returned the paperwork.
"We had her name."
And they had her contact information.
Coming Friday: The Bond family learns about the woman who gave birth to David and she shares her story with The Mining Journal.
How to search?
NEGAUNEE - Amy Bond checked with her husband, David, before starting a search for his birth mother.
"I had asked him before, but he said no," she said. "I asked him if it was OK and this time, he said yes. That was in October."
When her efforts began, they nearly were all consuming.
"I started on the Internet, going to every single adoption website I could find where I could put information," Bond said. "When I was at home, I was on the Internet. During my lunch breaks at work, I was putting information out there."
And she was amazed.
"I was shocked to find how many people dedicate their lives to helping other people with these searches," Bond said. "I would get random emails from people who would like to help out. It was incredible.
"Then one day, I got an email from a guy named Mike who said 'I think I found her." He had found information on a baby named David who was born in Milwaukee the same day as my husband," she said. "But it turned out that David was born in a different hospital. Crazy."
But something else Mike offered turned out to be the key.
"Mike told me to get non-identifying paperwork done, because that gives you so much information," Bond said. "When you do that in Wisconsin, the agency can give you non-identifying information."
The non-identifying information is that which does not have names or anything that will reveal the birth mother's identity.
David Bond had been adopted through Catholic Social Services, so the Bonds sent in a request for any non-identifying information they could get through Wisconsin's Department of Children and Families.
And for a fee, information is what they got. Jan. 21, David Bond got a call from the agency that his birth mother had been found.
What came after was tons and tons of paperwork.
"Everything was documented," David Bond said. "Back then there was a lady talking (to his birth mom) and she talked about the way she felt. The names are blacked out, but the woman wrote down everything that was said."
On Jan. 31, they were notified the birth mother had returned the form allowing for her complete information to be shared with the Bonds.
"To be honest, I had been a little apprehensive when I heard there was a fee involved. It was $75 an hour for them do to the work," David Bond said. "But it turned out they sent us a refund as they didn't take that long to work on it. It cost us $112.50, not bad at all."
Amy Bond said her research told her while each state has its own system, most adoptees can get at least some information, most often for a small fee.
"Whatever state you were adopted from you can get non-identifying information," she said.
David has found his birth mother and that has motivated someone else close to him.
"My sister Mary Jo is now looking for her birth mom," he said.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.