At the age of five, my mother told me I was adopted. Since then, I wondered who my birth family was. Not for wanting to replace the parents who adopted me, but because of a curiosity that could only be satisfied by finding the people I share a biological connection with. For many years, information was pieced together from family stories, as well as adoption documents found in my father’s office desk.


The search came up with few answers until 2010, when it was sparked by a change to Illinois’ adoption laws. The new law allowed adoptees to obtain their original birth certificate with identifying information. Along with this, access to online DNA services have given answers to many of the questions I had. For now, this search and project continue to find answers and create new stories.


This project tells my family’s adoption story using photographs, family archives, and important documents brought together in a book. Each image is paired with an essay giving the viewer a clearer, more complete understanding of this adoption journey.  These components blend visual art, family archives/artifacts, documents, and written autobiography in a way that makes for a unique storytelling experience.

(Click on each image for more)


Brian Garbrecht - Youre Adopted 2020
"You're Adopted" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Hinsdale 2020
"Hinsdale" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Lakewood Restaurant 2019
"Lakewood Restaurant" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - First (Day) Home 2020
"First (Day) Home" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Uncertainty 2020
"Uncertainty" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Marissa 2019
"Marissa" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - Baptism 2019
"Baptism" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - 9th Grade 2019
"9th Grade" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - Springfield 2020
"Springfield" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - The Law Office of John Cerveny 2020
"The Law Office of John Cerveny" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Home I Never Knew 2020
"Home I Never Knew" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Debbies Friend 2020
"Debbie's Friend" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Father, Son 2019
"Father, Son" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - What He Left Behind 2020
"What He Left Behind" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - John W. Garbrecht 2020
"John W. Garbrecht" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - Internet History 2020
"Internet History" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - I Love You Alot Mom <3 2019
"I Love You Alot Mom <3" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - Ode to Mom 2020
"Ode to Mom" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - At What Point Do Things Become Clear? 2019
"At What Point Do Things Become Clear?" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - Deborah Cerveny 1963-2014 2019
"Deborah Cerveny 1963-2014" 2019
Brian Garbrecht - Grandpa David 2020
"Grandpa David" 2020
Brian Garbrecht - In Bloom 2020
"In Bloom" 2020
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