ELLINGTON - September 18, 2011, was a very special day in the history of the Charles Nieder family.
Not only was it Charles' 90th birthday, but it marked the day he was reunited with his youngest brother, Peter, who was adopted shortly after birth 76 years ago.
The Nieder's family of origin had been blessed with eight healthy children. But when the wife died while giving birth to Peter, Nieder felt the circumstances were impossibly against him being able to care for an infant, and raise another child. Peter was adopted by the Yeager family shortly following his birth in Silver Creek on May 20, 1935.
Brothers Bill Nieder, Peter Yeager and Charles Nieder were reunited recently after being separated by adoption 76 years ago. The reunion occurred at Charles Nieder’s 90th birthday celebration.
P-J photo by Sue Ann Fish
Peter's adoptive mother told him of his adoption when Peter reached the age of 12. She never told his adoptive father that Peter knew of his adoption.
"I guess she didn't want to hurt his feelings, but she thought I should know," Yeager explained.
Records show that adoption proceedings began the July following his birth, with the adoptions becoming final in August of that same year.
"I always wanted to look for my birth family, but what options or resources does a 12-year-old have?" he continued.
Back then, adoptions records were sealed. Only recently, within the last few months, was he able to see the records, which contained the names of his birth parents.
"When I saw that my mother's death date and my birth date were the same, I understood what had happened. With my advancing age, I wanted to see if I had family out there and be reconnected with them,'' Neider said.
This is a successful adoption story.
"I had a wonderful relationship with my adopted parents,'' he said. ''They were good parents."
Ironically, in his adoptive home Yeager was raised as an only child.
"Imagine my delight in discovering that I had eight siblings!" he said.
The other children in the family knew that their baby brother had been adopted, but, like him, had no means of finding each other.
The story grows even more interesting at this point.
Peter had married a delightful woman named Joanne, and relocated to the Elmira area years ago because of his job. The couple has a friend who dabbles in genealogy as a hobby.
"This friend of ours got online, and with the names from the adoption records, found the Nieder family here," Joanne Yeager said. "We began to make some phone calls, and, as they say, the rest is history."
Out of the eight siblings, only four remain. There are two sisters who live in the western United States, and due to their advancing age and deteriorating health are unaware that their baby brother has been found.
The brothers, Charles, 90, and William, 81 and of course, Peter, 76, were having a wonderful time talking together and getting to know each other.