Adopted woman finds birth parents through Facebook — then helps another woman find family


On Jan. 27, Jenessa Simons, a 21-year-old Utah woman who was adopted more than two decades ago, posted a picture to Facebook asking for help in finding her birth parents.

“Everyone on Facebook’s been posting posters like, ‘One million likes and I get a puppy,’ and I thought, ‘Hey, these are getting shared around. I’ve seen kids get likes and get a puppy, so I should probably give it a shot,’” Simons told KSL.

Two days and 124,000 shares later, an old classmate of Simons’ birth mother saw the post and put the two women in touch.

“She sent pictures of me as a baby that my mother had given her,” Simons told ABC News affiliate KTVX-TV.

As the story got picked up my national media outlets and Simons story gained more attention, she decided to use the publicity to help others searching for long-lost relatives.

“This page has gone crazy and I would love to turn it into a resource for others to help find birth parents,” she wrote.

Simons’ Facebook miracle seemed impressive enough — but could it happen again? That question was answered when Natalie Jarvis, a women from the other side of the country, shared her own appeal on Simons’ wall.

Natalie Jarvis Facebook Appeal

Just days later, Jarvis shared the update “He is found! Thank you everyone for your support.”

Dozens of others have shared their own pictures and stories on Simons’ Facebook wall. Although there are services in place to connect birth parents with children (and siblings, as is Jarvis’ case), they simply don’t connect as many people as the mega social network that is Facebook. It’s pretty incredible to think that Facebook can be used for something other than political rants!

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  • spottedgiraffe

    I don’t really know how I feel about this. Some parents may not want to be found and its not really fair to track them down and put them through stress.

    • This is my thoughts exactly. I know back then adoptions were not nearly as open as they can be today, but really I bet the parents were counting on that.

      • W

        Actually back then, many birth mothers (or parents) had not really a choice. Many were more or less forced or lured into placing their children for adoption. They usually did not have the possibility to demand an open adoption. To assume all birth parents want to stay anonymous is very wrong and a terrible thing to say. Adopted children are humans not trading goods – you can’t deprive them from normal human rights and make decisions regarding their life without them. What is the harm in getting an e-mail or a phone call one day and agree to a short meeting for coffee?! Many birth parents are happy to be found and the others won’t die from it.

        • Its not a terrible thing to say. These people are from the 80s and 90s NOT the 30s- 50s so back off.

  • Jean

    I hate it when people romanticize the idea of their birth parents like many adopted kids do. Its just not realistic. Personal experience.

    • tab

      i 100% agree. most stories like this don’t have a happy ending, mine included. i found my birth parents 10 years ago and they wanted nothing to do with me.

    • ohhhhno

      Yep. Found out the hard way that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be

    • W

      I am very sorry to hear that your birth parents turned out to be a disappointment. I agree that you should better not “over”romanticize the idea of birth parents – but I still think that it is good if adoptees have the opportunity to get the names of their biological parents and meet them. Some birth parents will be happy and willing to reconnect and if they don’t: at least you know then, hopefully get closure and can move on.

  • burkey

    I’ve always thought adoption is an awesome thing especially in the case that the birth parents would simply not be able to make a good life for their child. It just seems like no matter what the intentions or circumstances were that the child will almost always still long to find their birth family. It’s only natural but it makes it seem so sad.

  • johanna

    well many parents also didn’t have the option to have an open adoption years ago and I’m sure they would love an opportunity like that.

  • They will turn this into a reality show a la Catfish