Mainstream Staff Member Finds New Family Using Social Media

Social networking sites are doing more than just allowing people to communicate faster and easier; they are reuniting lost family members with loved ones they would have otherwise never known. Thanks to Facebook, my childhood wish of having brothers and sisters just came true.

I never thought I would get emotional over information I would find on the internet. However, after sending five or six Facebook messages to a person I had never met, I found myself faced with the sudden realization that I was no longer alone and the only child of a single mom.

I found my sister and one of my brothers thanks to their Facebook pages and the friends list. Because one of these relatives had a very unusual name, I was able to find her quickly and through her friends’ list locate the sibling I was searching for. This type of search might now prove to be more difficult due to Facebook recently improving security settings for its users, so I am glad I started my search before these changes went into effect.

Just knowing that I had siblings to go search for is another story.  Fortunately, unlike most people, I have a mother who once worked as a P.I. She tracked down my biological father, enabling me to meet him as an adult for the first time. During my conversation with him, two younger brothers and an even younger sister were revealed to me.

At first, I was in a state of shock. My excitement was so overwhelming I could not contain the most enormous smile my wife had ever seen.

What started out as research under pressure from my wife to find seriously needed family medical history had just became a Facebook reunion.  My quest to be accepted by family suddenly took a giant step.

My biological father and I lost contact after that first meeting -- he moved without letting anyone know -– but through the power of Facebook I was able to re-connect with him again. Social networking has produced more communication with him than I had ever experienced in my entire life. My questions were finally getting answered. At that moment, social networking became truly remarkable to me.  So remarkable that I hopped on a United Airways flight to North Carolina last week.

I soon found myself welcomed by the smiling faces and open arms of my brother and his fiancé. 

My brother’s gigantic heart was easy to detect, and he earned my respect for accepting a person he didn’t even know into his home.  Our similarities were overwhelming;, we both love to BBQ, we both drive a jeep and, funny enough, neither of us spend much time on Facebook. I never thought we would be so much alike.

Who would have guessed my little brother, who doesn’t have a high school diploma, would be the one to teach me about acceptance and the real meaning of unconditional love for family. Thanks, Facebook.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.