March 27, 2005

Stories about the impact of the internet

We invite people who visit our web site to take our survey and tell us stories about how their internet use has affected them.

One of the most interesting insights we have gotten in the nearly 2,000 postings to our site came last week from a middle aged man who wrote:

I found ‘Experience.’

“[I have] too many anecdotes to write here about my coming into contact [online] with other individuals whose lives were transformed by LCEs (Life Changing Experiences) and/or disease. My views can be encapsulated like this: ‘I came to the Internet to look for Information, instead I had found “Experience.”’”

I have started posting some of the more interesting stories that have come our way, with the permission of the authors. Here are some of the stories that have been submitted in recent weeks:

An adoptee’s family union

“About three weeks ago I was able to contact my birth sister. I am a person who was adopted and although I knew that I have two birth sisters, a friend took it upon herself to volunteer to be an intermediary and to contact one sister who has a website. My sister and I have been happily chatting by e-mail since she agreed to be in touch, and for me this is something that I’ve hoped for for about twenty-five years. I am still amazed that after all this time we’ve finally found one another… and I’m thrilled at the way it seems to be working out!”

[Added material to the adoptee’s story at 6:05 AM 3/28/05:

Many adoptees are using the internet to help locate birth relatives. Alaska and Kansas have pretty much always allowed adults to receive a copy of an unamended birth certificate with all the true names and dates in place, but within the past few years Oregon, Alabama, and most recently New Hampshire have changed their laws to allow this. Still, adoptees who were born in the other forty-five states cannot access this basic information about themselves at all. The internet has been a great help to all of us in many ways as we put together a bit of this and a bit of that to solve the puzzle of our identity… as well as to talk with others who are searching and some wonderful folks who will do research locally for those of us who have moved away from our birth state.]

An amazing picture

“My son and his wife told me they were having a baby by sending a jpg of the sonogram. The subject line read: family photo. The message said: We think you’ll really like this recent family photo.”

Making connections — By Sam Post

“We were contacted by my grandfather’s brother’s grandchildren (our cousins). The two brothers (grandfathers) had immigrated from Eastern Europe separately at the turn of the century. They both died years ago, but they were not in touch with each other in this country, and the families had never connected. The cousins in Ohio had the same last name as our family and found my mother on the internet. Here in North Carolina, we had a large Thanksgiving gathering with cousins we had never met from Ohio and California. They are just as crazy as we are. I’ve had many other great reunions (including other cousins, in Russia; and old roommates, classmates, etc.), but meeting the cousins mentioned above is the most ‘amazing.'”

Checking up on an ex

“I found out that my ex-boyfriend had apparently not done well in law school, since he’s now selling cars.”

Old flame

“This isn’t my story, per se, but it has had a big impact on my life. Eighteen months ago my father died, fairly quickly from liver cancer. He and my mother had been married, very happily, for 55 years. My mother was very sad, and to make matters worse, lonely. In September my mother went to some ‘high-school reunion’ website, and got in touch with some of her old friends, including a guy she knew in High School. Last month they got married. They are both 78. My mother who had lived in Kansas for the last 55 years, is now living, very happily, in Maryland. Rather amazing, and, quite literally, all due to the internet.”