OWN’s Pam Slaton found herself working off the grid this episode of Searching For. Pam could relate to her first case, Aimee Hoff. She understood what it was like to never know anyone who was related to her. When she had her OWN sons, she finally felt it…being able to look into a relative’s eyes and feel connected. The show then took us on a journey of lost friendship and gratitude for those who help us along the way when Reina searched for her long-lost friend.
First the show began with Aimee Hoff from Thousand Oaks, California. Aimee always knew she was adopted. Her mother told her at the age of 18 she would be able to get her adoption information. Looking forward to that day, she spent her life excited about finally knowing. Hoping to find her birth parents easily, she was devastated when the information she received didn’t tell her much. She did learn that she had three older siblings that were raised by her birth mother, complicating her story.
Wanting to identify, she felt disconnected on some levels with her own family…an outcast that didn’t quite fit in. With Pam’s help, she was hopeful that she would be able to find her birth mother. Pam began with asking Aimee’s adoptive mom, Tess, a few more questions in hopes of finding some more clues. Apparently she had held a few details back. Tess was aware that Aimee’s biological mom had originally expressed interest in knowing a Aimee as she grew older. Her biological mom wanted Aimee to be able to meet her at the age of 18 and hoped that Tess would send pictures. Fearful they would change their minds, Tess didn’t send the yearly updates. Disappointed that her mother didn’t share this with her, Aimee understood. It is hard to share your child with someone…especially someone that you worry could take your child away.
Searching For…offered up a triple shot of emotional drama this week. A tough guy looking for his brother, a woman looking for a teacher who inspired her to do great things and Pam Slaton’s middle school teacher who made a difference in her OWN life.
The first story involved a good ole’ Italian boy, Carmine Azzato. A professional wrestler from Brooklyn, New York, was searching for his brother. His mother, Camilla Panetta, gave birth to a son, Denis, at the young age of 16 and her father had her place her son up for adoption. However, she stayed on the same street her whole life…just in case her son ever wanted to find her. Struggling with not wanting to interrupt her son’s life, she choose to not look for him. Before she passed away from breast cancer, she changed her mind and hoped to find him. Unfortunately it was too late. Now, 5 years after his mother’s death, Carmine was determined to find his brother. [read more…]
This week on OWN’s Searching For…was different than anything we had seen on Searching For. The second case on this week’s episode involved the fiance of a hero. Mike Eisenbraum enlisted Pam Slaton’s help to find his big brother, Larry’s long lost love. Larry was a medic in the Navy during the Vietnam war. There he met and became engaged to a nurse, Pat Moloney. On leave and very much in love, Larry shared the great news with his family before he left for Vietnam. In 1968 Larry’s mom was greeted in the driveway by two men. There she learned her son had been killed…only 6 weeks after he turned 20. Pat attended the funeral. It was the first and last time the family saw her. Wanting to know more about her, Mike was hopeful that Pam could bring them together 42 years later.
After weeks of searching, Pam was able to find Pat…whom was eager to talk to Mike. After years of not wanting to feel intrusive, Mike finally made the call. Now living in Florida, she was open to meeting with anyone in their family. Mike and his family were thrilled. 2 weeks later, Mike flew to West Palm Beach, Florida to meet with Pat. He shared the story of how his brother died….saving the life of a wounded marine by shielding him with his own body. A true hero. The story brought tears to Pam’s eyes. [read more…]
This week’s episode started off with twenty-eight year old Desirae Roller. She had a unique search that she desperately needed Pam Slaton’s help with. When she was young, her parents divorced and agreed upon shared visitation. However, at the age of 2, Desirae’s father picked her up and never brought her back. Her mother did everything she could to find her daughter. Her father moved her to Arizona. Around six years old, her father was pulled over by the police. From jail, he called her mother and asked her to come and get their daughter.
Her mother went into daycare that day….asking her daughter if she knew who she was. She did! Desirae didn’t hear from her father again until she was 11. Her family received a call from the hospital saying that her father desperately wanted to tell her he loved her and was sorry. Still so young, all she could do was cry and tell him that she loved him. Her father, Bruce Leonard Ritchie, died within hours. Unable to know her father, Desirae was hopeful Pam could help her find relatives from her father’s side of the family. [read more…]
OWN’s Pam Slaton lends her expertise to a brother and sister team this week on Searching For. Cindy Sullivan and Ken Hyman were both adopted out together and are hoping to find their biological parents. Cindy shared that her son, Brendan, has Cystic Fibrosis. With this…both of them hope their biological mother will be able to provide medical information about their family. Feeling lucky to have been both adopted together, they hoped to share that sentiment with her. After their mom died, they found their adoption papers in her safety deposit box. The papers told them their real names….Susan and John Beecher (not sure on the spelling). In hopes of finding out more, the siblings set out to meet with Pam in her hometown of Lumberton, New Jersey.
What a treat…the siblings were met by Pam’s mom, Ann. We haven’t met her before and we really didn’t this time either.. Whether meeting their mom or even learning her name, Ken and Cindy were hopeful. Pam pointed them both to get their hands on their original birth certificates…as the state of Maine had just opened up adoption records. The documents should show her full name, the state she was born in and her age. This information would make Pam’s job a lot easier.[read more…]
As Michael Dixon knows Searching For one’s OWN biological father can be difficult, but with the help of Pam Slaton…anything is possible! Like many children, Michael grew up without a father. His mother shared with him at an early age that his father was James Cornelius who had come from Athens, Georgia. All he knew was his father had been in the military and was married at the time Michael was born. Since Michael’s mother passed away taking any additional information with her, he asked Pam to help him find the missing pieces.
Excited to “bring closure to a lot of uncertainties” in his life, Michael shared his story with Pam. His mother was a single mom had been in the military. She eventually met someone and married…brining Michael a step-father. However, Michael quickly found that this new man was not the father figure he had hoped for. Pam knew this search was important for Michael. [read more…]
This week Searching For’s OWN Pam Slaton shared her personal story. We are constantly reminded of how Pam started her journey because of a negative experience she had with her OWN search for her biological mother. Finally we understand how it went so wrong.
Although Pam used a service, everyone knows that doesn’t guarantee a successful reunion. When Pam called her biological mother for the first time, her mother denied her. Then when Pam confronted her on it, her biological mother got defensive and angry. All that leading to the hurtful words of “I never thought about you”, “I don’t care about you” and “I don’t know what you want from me”. It was devastating and absolutely heartbreaking for someone who had hoped to find the mother she had lost.
Suddenly it was all a little clearer…on this show (and in life) Pam does her best to protect each person from feeling what she had felt so many years before. Pam believes that with each search, a little piece of her is healed. With all the wonderful work she is doing, not only is she healing herself…but she is healing so many others. [read more…]
Searching For’s Pam Slaton met Juliet Forde at a party for the Felix Organization…and wanted to help turn her disappointments into success! Juliet last saw her mother, Nicole, when she was 5 years old. She will never forget that day. After a trip to the park, her mother stopped in and bought Juliet a shiny red bike. As she gave it to her, she told her that this was the last day she would she her. Her mother placed her into foster care the next day. Both physically and emotionally abused in foster care over the years, Juliet had to put up walls to protect herself. Now…will she be able to let Pam help her?
Pam needed to know that Juliet could handle the search process. She was truly worried about how this would affect her. Unable to trust anyone…this was going to be hard. In order for Pam to feel Juliet was emotionally strong enough for this search, she arranged for her to meet with a psychologist. Feeling defensive, Juliet agreed to try. After the initial meeting, Dr. Jeffrey Gardere agreed to donate his services and continue to work with Juliet during her search. He told her “you are not defined by the horrible and terrible things that happened to you. You are defined at the end of the day by how you work through them”. Juliet came out feeling good about the first session and moved forward in her search. [read more…]