Des Moines, Iowa (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION) – Families are full of stories – some happy, others sad, and some never told.
“It was 1969,” recalls Tom Taylor. “I asked my girlfriend on New Year’s Eve if she would ever marry me, and in February she called me and said,‘ Guess what? I’m pregnant. “
Taylor and his fiancé Barb told no one. A few weeks before her birth, they decided to give the child up for adoption. “It was awful,” Taylor said through tears. “We cried all the way. It was really hard. “
He said on their child’s birthday they were told she had died.
“It was awful,” he recalled. “Not only did we have a secret that she was pregnant and gave birth to this child, but now we have lost him and could not tell anyone. … It was terribly difficult. “
But she did not die. Around the same time, Peggy Jacobson wanted another child after years of miscarriage.
“My husband said they called and they have a baby for us, and I said,‘ What ?! ’” she said.
They were thrilled with the news that they needed to be adopted, and when the girl grew up, they made sure she knew the truth about how she got into their family.
“I always knew,” Cheryl Stillman said. “There was no time for me to be imprisoned and told. I just always knew. “
But her parents kept the secret, continued to live and gave birth to two more children.
Stillman grew up, married and had children of her own. She was not looking for a family until last summer.
“My girlfriend, who is also adopted, made a post:‘ Today my sister went down in Iowa history, ’” she said. “The whole thing was in this group of women who were pushing for legislation to get adoptees in Iowa to get original birth certificates.”
She immediately told her husband, who is also adopted. Filled out the documents and waited.
“When we opened the documents, and then it all started,” she said of the day. “When you open this envelope and see the names, and see two names on mine, it was very emotional. We both cried. “
Then they grabbed their mobile phones and started searching.
“He found the obituary of my mother. I knew as soon as he turned his phone and I saw her photo. I just knew. I saw myself in her, ”Stillman said. Continuing to read, she learned more. “My husband’s name was that was on my birth certificate. It absolutely took my breath away. They stayed together. I have a brother and a sister. “
In a few moments Stillman was able to see photos of his biological family. She was dizzy. Her heart exploded. A few days later she began to turn to Tom Taylor, her own father.
“I thought, ‘Who the hell is Cheryl Stillman?’ “I thought someone was really messing with me because I didn’t know she was alive.”
Sure he had been deceived, Taylor did not respond to any of Stillman’s messages – or to the message of the search angel she contacted.
“I consider myself a doula reunion,” Michelle Spear said. “I’m the person here to help make the meeting as easy as possible.” It helps people search for and connect with their biological families.
Stillman’s biological brothers and sisters at first shared their father’s skepticism.
“Well, of course I didn’t believe it, did I?” said Scott Taylor. His sister Jennifer Frecking felt the same way when she heard that they had an older biological brother.
“It was very emotional. I didn’t believe it. I defended myself a lot for my dad, ”Fracking said.
Tom Taylor was also still receiving messages from Stillman.
“I got the third message and it was her birthday – and it was a photo [his wife’s] grave with flowers. And in the message she says, “I found my mother’s grave. I’m talking to my mother here, I’m praying with her and I asked God to encourage you to accept me. ” And that’s what happened, “he said. “I knew. It was a turning point. “
By then, Stillman’s biological siblings had seen her photos and birth certificate. They knew they were looking at their older sister. Called Dad.
“I think our exact words were,‘ We know about Cheryl and we’re all right. How are you? ” Said Scott Taylor.
“And I hung up!” – The father intervened.
After the shock passed, Taylor continued to exchange messages with the search angel. Frecking remembers the last exchange.
“She said, ‘She’s on a hairpin wants to meet you guys.’ So we think maybe a week or two and she said, “What about tomorrow?”
Everyone was nervous. But that feeling evaporated the moment they bonded.
“It was instantaneous,” Frecking said. “Instantly. I ran down the porch to hug her. ”
Their father described it as surreal. “I cried, cried and cried,” he said. “The mother in front of me of this individual was amazing. I saw my wife in her. “
Now there are no more secrets for this family – only stories to share.
“It’s amazing,” Jacobson said. “It only adds to our family. Because of this we are all a big family. Cheerful family.