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this baby girl deserved a better life than what she could offer at the time, Jane made the unfathomable decision to give her up for adoption, deciding that a closed-end adoption was the best route for her. Her little dimple-chinned baby girl lived in a foster home for about four weeks while Jane made the decision. Jane received a treasured picture of her baby taken during this time that she kept with her throughout life. This baby’s adopted parents received an amazing Christmas present when they adopted her on December 23rd, naming her Kelly. Kelly always knew that she was adopted, her parents open about it and informing her of it at an early age. She always had a curiosity about traits she might have received from her biological family. Whose nose did she have? Whose distinct voice did she have? Though her adopted family was a wonderful, loving family, she realized that there were people out there that she shared traits with, such as her love for animals and travel. Her adopted family was always very supportive and offered to help her look for her parents if she ever had the desire, though she never really did, until she found herself in her forties and started to think about her biological family from a mother’s point of view. Wanting her biological family to know her life turned out great and concerned that her biological mother might be worried about her, Kelly decided to find and contact her. She originally considered sending a post-card but decided to contact her biological mother by phone. Her search began. The Search Kelly felt a blend of curiosity, excitement and fear as she began her search. Throughout her life, she imagined her biological parents to be world travelers, singers or possibly lawyers. During the search, reality set in and she realized that her biological parents could also be bad, sad or unsuccessful people. She often questioned herself in the search and considered not pursuing them, afraid that she may be making a mistake. As soon as Kelly initiated the search it became a family affair and her mom, dad, aunt and brother jumped in and began helping. She connected with someone in an “adoption underground” who had birth records for California through 1990. She found her birth listing that gave her mother and father’s last names and her given birth name, Shawn M. Kelly contacted the adoption agency for non-identifying information, a process taking several phone calls and months, resulting in numerous pages of information about the families, though no names or addresses. Six months later, Kelly’s mom made the breakthrough, stumbling upon Grandpa Bert’s obituary that mirrored information from the agency, leaving little doubt. They had a name – Jane Pugh, and Kelly’s brother found a phone number. Kelly waited a few more months, until her birthday, when she felt like it was the right time to reach out to Jane. Making the Call Sitting in her car in the Pier One Imports parking lot on her 42nd birthday, the location chosen for its cell phone reception, Kelly gathered up the courage to call Jane. Several negative scenarios flooded her head: her birth mother had Kelly at a young age and had gone on with her life, she hadn’t told anyone about Kelly, Kelly was destructing her birth mother’s life or she didn’t want to have anything to do with Kelly. The thoughts terrified her. Kelly’s adopted mom had flown to New York to be with Kelly that day while she called Jane, for support whether the response was good or bad. She spent time shopping at Pier One giving Kelly privacy to make the call. With her heart racing and feelings of hope, anxiety and fear rushing through her, Kelly called and hung up several times before the call went through, unable to complete the call. Taking a deep breath, she steadied her hands and dialed one more time and let it go through. Jane’s husband Merlyn answered the phone and said that Jane wasn’t home, asking if he could take a message. Kelly told Merlyn that Jane doesn’t know her, but she wanted to ask her about something she might know about. “Well, Janie knows quite a bit about a few things,” Merlyn responded. “She’ll be back in about a half an hour. This isn’t one of those sales calls, is it?” Kelly told Merlyn that she would call back. She had to go through the whole daunting process all over again! We all laughed as Kelly described the phone call and Merlyn’s response, able to imagine the situation. Making Contact Kelly anxiously waited in the Pier One parking lot before dialing Jane again with shaking hands and her heart pounding in her ears. Jane answered this time. Kelly clearly recalls the details of the call. vTHE JOURNEY continued on page 10 Willcockson Eye Associates, P .C. Quality Eye Care, Close To Home • Best quality medical and surgical eyecare for you and your family • State of the art cataract surgery • Expert treatment of diseases such as glaucoma, eye complications from diabetes, and macular degeneration • Extensive selection of frames, styles and lens options at The Spectacle Shop, LLC. 415 W. 3rd, Yankton The Spectacle Shop, L.L.C. Call 605-665-9638 Karen E Dickes, D.O. Board Certified Ophthalmologist Medical and Surgical Eye Care Brady W. Betten, O.D. Optometrist Medical Eye Care Gregory A Kouri, O.D. Optometrist Medical Eye Care Gregory Osmundson, M.D. Ophthalmology Ltd. Medical & Surgical Eye Care HERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2017v9

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