A recent story on ABC’s late-night news program, Nightline, tells the story of Teresa Stinson’s search for her birth mother. She grew up in the Grace Brethren Church, Middlebranch, Ohio (Jeff Brown, pastor), and is the daughter of Tom and Charlotte Horney. A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete story and watch the videos as broadcast on Nightline.
Daughter Given Up for Adoption Reunites With Mom After Decades of Searching
Teresa Stinson said she had spent her whole life wondering who her birth mother was and why she was given up for adoption 47 years ago. But what she didn’t know until recently was that her birth mother had been searching for her for decades.
Christine “Chris” Shirley, now 66 years old, had often wondered what had happened to her baby girl.
“I gave up hope as the years went on, because I thought, ‘well, when she was in her 30s surely she would want to know … who her birth parents were,’” Shirley told ABC News’ “Nightline.” “And in her 40s … I was giving up hope.”
But it was her daughter, Teresa, who found her first.
In December 2013, a bill was passed in Ohio that opened adoption records between 1964 and 1996, allowing 400,000 adoptees born in the state a chance to request their birth certificate for the first time ever. The new bill made Ohio the newest state to allow adoptees to have access to their original birth certificates. Birth parents were given a one year period to request that their name be redacted from the birth certificate. Once the period expired, adoptees could request their birth certificates. Currently, only 12 states have open adoption records laws.
Betsie Norris of the Adoption Network Cleveland fought for over two decades to unseal the adoption records in Ohio.
“It’s been surreal,” Norris told “Nightline.” “When the bill finally passed after it having so many times that it went down in flames … it finally sunk in that this is actually really, really, really happening.”
Two of those adoptees were Teresa Stinson, 47, and her sister Vanessa Navis, 44, who were both adopted by the same couple and grew up in Middlebranch, Ohio. Both came from different birth parents and said they had a happy childhood, but always knew they were adopted and had questions.
Click here to read the complete story and watch the videos as broadcast on Nightline.