A 72-year-old Indiana woman is hoping that a Christmas miracle will help her find the long-lost son she gave up for adoption in 1963.
When she was 19, Geraldine “Jerri” Kramer gave birth to a healthy, curly-haired boy on June 10, 1963, in Indianapolis, but was forced by her parents and her priest to give him up, she told ABC News today.
“They said [he] was not welcome in their home,” Kramer said.
But Kramer said she always wondered and prayed about her first born, whom she named Jack after her father. She said there has been a “hole” her family since she last saw him.
“I went along with it,” Kramer said, adding that she bonded with the infant when the nurses let her hold him. “But, now I’m sorry [I did].”
Her younger sister was the only other family member who knew about her first pregnancy, Kramer said. She would visit her at the St. Elizabeth Girls Home in Indianapolis, where young girls would stay to receive maternity care.
But in 1988, when her eldest daughter contemplated giving up her third child for adoption, Kramer showed up to the hospital and revealed her secret, telling her she would regret it.
“It was the single most important thing to ever happen to me,” Marie Henson said.
Not even her husband, Joseph, whom she married in 1966, knew about the baby boy she gave up three years before they wed, Henson said.
“He’s always been supportive and compassionate,” 49-year-old Henson said of her father when he found out about the baby. “It’s just as important to him to find him, for her sake.”
Kramer’s declining health inspired her to ask her children to help find their older brother, who would now be 52 years old.
A meme created with a photo of her five children created reads, “If you were born 6-10-63 you’re our older brother; we’re looking for you.” The post been shared more than 41,000 times as of today.
The picture was taken on Thanksgiving day.
Since Indiana is a “mutual consent state,” agencies need consent from both parties in order to unseal the adoption records. If Kramer’s first born has not registered for mutual consent, they will not release his information unless he has died.
Henson said she “will not stop” until she finds her brother.
“I hope he’s had a wonderful life with great adoptive parents,” she said. “But I think there’s room in the heart for more people who love you.”
Kramer’s 43-year-old son, Marc, told ABC News he thinks his oldest brother would “click instantly” with the family.
“It would fill a void,” he said. “We would love to be able to give this to her.”
In addition to her five children, Kramer has eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She said she’s “anxious” to find out if she has more.
All of Kramer’s immediate family lives in the central Indiana area, Marc said, calling his family "tight-knit."
"Maybe I know him," he said of of his oldest brother. "Maybe he lives near me."
Kramer said she already knows what she would say if she saw her first-born again.
"I would tell him that I’ve loved him for years and years and years,” she said.