With Open Adoption Records, New Jersey Police Officer Tracks Down and Meets Birth Mother | NBC 10 Philadelphia

With Open Adoption Records, New Jersey Police Officer Tracks Down and Meets Birth Mother

After being adopted at birth, Megan Keller utilized New Jersey's open adoption records to find her missing link

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017)

    Long Beach Township Police Officer Megan Keller has a four year old son, but up until last month, she had never met her own biological mother. She was adopted at birth after her mother had her at 18.

    That all changed when New Jersey passed a new state law that unsealed adoption records. Keller was one of more than 1,000 adopted adults are now in possession of their birth records after submitting applications of the request, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. 
    With the new tools at her disposal, Megan took advantage. Now, something that she was unable to attain for decades- her original birth certificate- arrived by mail. 
    “I sometimes pinch myself, ‘Wow, did that really happen?’” Keller said. 
    The new paperwork revealed her mother to be Alicia Combs, who currently lives in North Carolina. After years of being in the dark, Keller took advantage right away and booked her travel to visit her biological mother last month. Despite never meeting, Keller says the experience did not make her feel alone. 
    ““It was just hugs and tears. It wasn’t like meeting strangers, though.”
     Combs was overwhelmed by the sudden discovery after dealing with her decision all since she was 18. 
    “A rollercoaster of all kinds of emotions. All the pain of when I put Megan up for adoption came out but then all the joy of her finding me.” 
    There’s also more than meets the eye. While Keller resides in Surf City New Jersey, she also found her long-lost sister Jenna to be living in Surf City, North Carolina. 
    “I don’t use the word coincidence anymore. Everyone’s connected.”
    Driven by her goal to fill her family’s medical history, Keller set out on the quest to find that missing piece. She says her adopted parents, Kathie and Jim Cochrane, pushed her towards that goal and never discouraged her. 
    “I would never deny her the right to find out her roots,” Kathie said. 
    The reunion has inspired Keller to intertwine the branches of her family tree. The Cochranes are set to meet the Combs in May. She has also already booked a return trip to North Carolina next month, where she plans to meet a second sister and grandmother. 
    “It’s really been quite a whirlwind,” Keller said. 

    That all changed when New Jersey passed a new state law that unsealed adoption records. Keller was one of more than 1,000 adopted adults to receive a copy of their birth record after the state started taking applications, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. 

    With the new tool at her disposal, Keller finally had her answer.

    “I sometimes pinch myself, ‘Wow, did that really happen?’” Keller said. 

    The new paperwork revealed her mother to be Alissa Combs, who currently lives in North Carolina. After years of being in the dark, Keller found Combs on Facebook, and within weeks the two were able to meet.

    Keller described the experience of meeting her mother for the first time as liberating.

    “It was just hugs and tears," she said. "It wasn’t like meeting strangers, though.”

    Combs was overwhelmed by the sudden discovery after dealing with her decision to put her daughter up for adoption since she was 18. 

    “A rollercoaster of all kinds of emotions," Combs said. "All the pain of when I put Megan up for adoption came out but then all the joy of her finding me.”

    But that wasn't the only reunion for Keller. While Keller resides in Surf City, New Jersey, she also found her long-lost sister Jenna to be living just outside Surf City, North Carolina. The two also met on her visit.

    “I don’t use the word coincidence anymore. Everyone’s connected," Keller said.

    The goal to filling her family’s medical history sent Keller on this quest. She says her adopted parents, Kathie and Jim Cochrane, pushed her towards that aspiration and never discouraged her.

    “I would never deny her the right to find out her roots,” Kathie Cochrane said. 

    The reunion inspired Keller to intertwine the other branches of her family tree. The Cochranes are set to meet the Combs in May. She has also already booked a return trip to North Carolina next month, where she plans to meet a second sister and grandmother. 

    “It’s really been quite a whirlwind,” Keller said.