Finding Family Via Facebook Shares Michelle Escobar

Facebook users! You’ve seen those “One million likes and I can go to prom!” or “Like this before Facebook stops being free!” pages hanging around. As annoying as some of those posts are – especially because a few likes won’t stop war or famine – they’re still there. Jenessa Simons saw how popular these campaigns were and started one for herself to find her biological parents.

Jenessa was adopted when she was 3 days old. She grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and lived well with her adoptive family. Jenessa always knew she wanted to find her biological parents, but she had one major obstacle. Because she wasn’t 21 yet, she couldn’t submit papers to the state regarding vital statistics. Jenessa took to Facebook and saw how certain pages got so many views and people responded with eagerness to help. Why shouldn’t she be able to do the same thing?

As soon as she turned 21, Jenessa filed to find her parents, but that would take a really long time. She took a risk and posted a picture of herself and a sign sharing her search and asking people to like and share. “Everyone on Facebook’s been posting posters like, ‘One million likes and I get a puppy,’ and I thought, ‘Hey, these are getting shared around. I’ve seen kids get likes and get a puppy, so I should probably give it a shot,’” she said. With the help of her Facebook friends and their friends, her picture went viral! As of the 30th of January, she had more than 12,000 likes and 133,600 shares and because of the views, she got a response from her birth mother within 2 days!

What was her biological mother’s reaction to her instant success in finding her? “Mostly shock, I think. She was just very surprised. It was kind of intermittent messaging each other, but she said she told her extended family and they were all completely ecstatic that I had gotten hold of her.” Little did Jenessa know that her biological mother lived not too far from where she grew up. Her mother also informed her that although she and her father are not together anymore, he was also surprised and happy to hear from Jenessa. Her biological mother explained that she was expecting Jenessa at 16, too young to be a wife and mother, which is why she gave her up for adoption. “Obviously they both cared enough about me to say, ‘We need to give her a family that’s stable, and she can come find us later,’ which I appreciate more than anything,” she said.

Jenessa is relieved and thankful for finding her real parents. She has a young son of her own now, which is why she started the search in the first place. He knows where he came from and Jenessa wanted the same for herself. She now has a new family to know and love, as well as her adoptive family and her son.

Image via KSL

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  1. Overall I think this article is great, and really interesting. I have just one issue though; “Jenessa is relieved and thankful for finding her real parents.” I think it would be better suited to use the term biological parents as her “real” parents are the ones that raised her. That’s just my opinion though. Super creative way to find a person though!