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Cheryl when just a baby

 

Sorrow and Pain of Loss

When my eldest daughter Lisa was 15 years old, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I still had two younger daughters at home and limited financial resources. Sadly, the decision was to give the little one up for adoption. As the years went by, we wondered about her; did she have a good life, was she happy, did she know she was adopted, was she still alive? All of these things crept into almost every conversation my daughter and I had together. Every February 20th, her birthday, my daughter and I would talk about these things. We wished her a Happy Birthday wherever she was, and kept hope in our hearts that somehow, she would know that we loved her. We wished that the lost could be found.

I Wrote A Story About This

Some years ago, I wrote an article in hopes of locating this child, titled “Were You Born on February 20, 1975?” I hoped she or someone who knew her would read the story, but nothing came of it. We had to take comfort in the adoption agency’s assurance that she was adopted by a “professional family.” We only knew her birth date and where she was born, but nothing else. There was no way to find her, since the adoption was through Catholic Charities as a “Closed Adoption,” which meant that we were given no information about her adopted family. We took some comfort in the thought that she had gone to a family that would be able to give her the kind of life opportunities that we could not. Would the lost EVER be found?

Years Pass With No More Information

Still, as the years passed, Lisa and I wondered about her. We wanted very much to know if we’d done the right thing by putting her up for adoption. Was she loved, did she have good health, was she happy, did she know she had another family out in the world somewhere? We contacted Catholic Charities but were told they could not divulge any of the information. We knew from the start what “closed adoption” meant, so that was not a surprise. They said only if the child came to them seeking information would we be allowed to know anything. We registered with them as wanting to know if she inquired, but never heard more from them. We did not know if the lost would EVER be found.

A Title Change Cost Views

So, I wrote my story in hopes that my granddaughter or someone who knew her would read it. Later, when re-writing the story, I changed the title to “My Missing Granddaughter,” thinking perhaps that would get more attention on the internet. But it was a mistake to do so, because people thought that a tragedy had befallen our family; a child had gone missing through foul play. We see these stories all the time about so many children and even adults go missing and are never found, or are found to be victims of terrible deeds. It’s a miracle (the Elizabeth Smart story and a few others) when they’re found alive. So unintentionally, my story took a wrong turn and got no results, and few views. At this point I believe the lost would never be found before I died. I could only hope that she would be, before my daughter died.

News During Family Reunion

Last year in September 2016, at a family reunion, during a conversation about genetics, my niece Sue casually mentioned that she had sent her DNA to 23andme. She did this for a number of reasons, never thinking of what would eventually unfold. She said that 23andme had told her that her DNA indicated that she had a second cousin, and did she want to connect? She said yes, and was waiting on a reply from the other person. She was really amazed, because her mother was an only child, and in order for her to have a second cousin it had to be from her father’s side. Her father, Calvin Wilson Brown, is MY late brother. Any of my grandchildren or my other brother’s and sister’s grandchildren would be her second cousins. She thought she knew all of them. But then I told her the story of our adopted child and how it was that we did not know who or where she was. She told me that if she received a reply from the woman whose DNA had shown her to be a second cousin, she would let me know.

Identity Revealed – Modern Day Miracle

Several months later I received a Facebook message from Sue that a woman had connected to her through her DNA registry as her second cousin. She gave me the name of the woman, and added that she found her Facebook page. I typed in the name she gave me and I could not get the same page to come up. Finally, I googled the name, and it came up. Not only that, but she was listed on another social media site besides Facebook, where I am also a member. I immediately went there, typed in her name and up came her profile and photo. The photo took my breath away because she resembled my daughter. Not only that, but when I went to her information it gave her birthday…..February 20, born in Las Vegas, NV and the name of the hospital, which I had never released in my original story. My heart was pounding! This had to be her, it just had to be. This was truly a modern day miracle, that out of all the people in the world, we believed we may have found one of our own blood.

Cheryl, my beautiful granddaughter

 

We May Be Related

I contacted her and said, “I think we may be related, because your DNA said you are related to my niece Sue Brown. I think you may be my granddaughter who was adopted at birth.” I sent a photo of my daughter at 15 years old, along with my story. She responded “Is that my mother?” and after I cried for a few moments, I wiped my eyes and I told her “Yes, I believe she is.” We began a conversation and I think we were both a bit stunned at the revelation, that finally, 42 years after her birth, we’d finally found her. I gave her my daughter’s phone number and then called my daughter. As we both cried together over the phone, we felt sure that we had finally found our beloved child.

The Dream Comes True

Today, on July 18, I actually came face-to-face with my beautiful granddaughter. She came to Las Vegas to visit her adoptive mother, and made a point of stopping to see me. She is beautiful, sweet, wonderful, and it will take us so long to make up for lost time. Can you imagine trying to squeeze 42 years into a couple of hours? No, we couldn’t either, so when we have our family reunion in August, we are hoping she will be able to be there to spend more time with us. Oh and my daughter has two granddaughters from Cheryl, so now I have two more great-granddaughters! What a reason to celebrate!!!

My granddaughter Cheryl and my two beautiful great-granddaughters Ashton and Maddee

 

A Modern Miracle Come True

And to think that this all came about because my niece Sue decided to submit her DNA! I will forever be grateful to her and to the site she chose, for giving us this opportunity to connect with our precious family members.

If you too, are missing a member of your family, due to a “Closed Adoption,” please know there IS hope of still finding that person. DNA is a modern day miracle that can bring you and members of your family together.