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Adoption Ambassador Shari Ulrich

Shari Ulrich

Shari Ulrich enjoys a rich career as a singer songwriter, music educator, and film producer. In 2007, her life became immeasurably richer, when she reunited with her son, 39 years after his birth. Shari’s recollections will touch your heart.

Adoption entered my life inadvertently, like so many young girls over generations, when I was 15.

Though, at the time, I naively assumed my boyfriend and I would marry and raise the child, I fortunately had a strong mother who knew better what would lead to a good future for both her daughter and the child, and while giving me the illusion the choice was mine, made it clear what that choice needed to be.  After a one-hour visit with my son, with his father and my mother present, I tearfully handed him off to a foster mother and on to his adoptive parents through the Children’s Home Society in San Francisco.

Needless to say, I spent my life wondering of his fate – hoping someday I might accidently encounter him, but feeling it was not my place to potentially disrupt his life by hunting him down, and of course anxious about the “what if’s”.  As my daughter, born 23 years later, grew up I realized he might feel exactly the same, and one summer day in 2007 I impulsively posted something on a reunion website.  Although he wasn’t searching for me (for the same reasons), a Search Angel swooped in and within a day I was talking to him on the phone.  “So how’ve you been?” I jokingly asked as if I’d just spoken to him the previous week.  He laughed heartily and I know we were going to be just fine.

Our connection was instant and unquestionably life long, and the solving of the mystery was healing beyond compare.  Having very full lives (he is an architect with a fantastic wife & 7 year old daughter), neither of us realized the size of the missing puzzle piece until the hole was filled.  It indeed fit perfectly, and our families have bonded in ways I could never have imagined.  He recently remarked how he can’t remember a time that my daughter and I weren’t in his life.  He and his “new sister” adore one another, and the relationship I have with his mother who raised him is incomparable in my life experience.  I admire and appreciate her beyond words. 

Since sharing my story in song, I have had hundreds of people share their stories of adoption with me.  Adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, those searching and those found, and all those family members and friends who have shared the path with them. It has been an unexpected realization that adoption touches SO many lives and families and a further journey to comprehend the profound gift it is in our human experience to provide the love and care that is our birthright to a child who would otherwise be deprived of such a critical gift.  I am tremendously supportive of the important work of the Adoption Council of Canada.