My name is Sherri Ann Tredway, and a year and a half ago, I thought I was a just another woman who had been abandoned by a parent or parents and then adopted around 13 months of age by the only parents I had ever known. I had been privy to this information since I was six years old thanks to my seven-year old cousin, who couldn’t keep a secret. Anyway, my adoptive momma confirmed that it was true, and it didn’t really seem like a big deal. She told me that they really wanted a baby and she couldn’t have one, so they were able to choose me. I honestly felt lucky to have a family who “chose” me to be part of theirs. I grew up in the country, on a farm in the Midwest, with close and extended family and lots of friends from our small town and county. We weren’t rich, but we certainly had everything we needed. I had my own room, we had plenty of food, clothing, we went to church, had pets, and later I got a car. I finished high school, met my husband my Junior year and we got married right after I graduated. Typical midwestern country life.
However, the tragic loss of my adoptive momma 4 years ago brought me to my knees, and then some. That horrible event was the catalyst for my desire to find my own biological family…although I didn’t start searching right away.
If anyone had told me back then that I would be where I am today, I would have thought they had lost their ever-loving minds?!
I did therapy, grief counseling and more therapy. Moving on…or whatever you want to call it, has been extremely difficult for me. I avoided. I hid. I traveled. I stayed excessively and increasingly busy. I started new projects. And I floated along…until I didn’t.
In the fall of 2016, after the end of a legal battle I will write about another time, I decided to try to find my biological family….I was most interested in learning if I had any siblings out there. I attempted to get my adoption records from vital statistics…That was next to impossible if your records are sealed. And mine were. All I could get without the involvement of attorneys and more legal fees was Non-Identifiying information which basically tells you NOTHING!
So in December of that year, around Christmas time, a digital ad for DNA Detectives caught my eye while I was looking at Facebook. I asked to be accepted into the group and was approved. I started reading about these people who had used DNA Tests to find their families, many with good success. After my birthday, which was as difficult as ever, I decided to post something on their page about surviving another birthday. How again, no one came or called to tell me they had beeen wondering about me or thinking about me or just hoping I was alright. I mentioned something in the post about being abandoned. I almost immediately got a private message from CeCe Moore, Genetic Genealogist, who is a pretty big deal these days, but I had no idea of this at the time. She messaged me to tell me that I needed to request to be included in another Facebook group called “Foundling Finders”. I didn’t want to appear unknowledgable, so I told her I would make the request.
But first things first….I needed to know exactly what a Foundling was? The definition I googled said it was “an infant that had been abandoned by its parents and is discovered and cared for by others. (waif, stray, orphan, outcast)”. Wow! I didn’t want to be one of those…that sounded dreadful, but I guess I am. So I requested to be part of the Foundling Finders group and was almost immediately approved and welcomed in a post by CeCe Moore herself. She encouraged me to read other foundlings’ stories and to feel free to tell my own if and when I felt comfortable.
What I couldn’t believe, was the extremely warm welcome I was getting from these other group members (there were only around 420 people in the group world-wide, so it was a pretty select group). They seemed interested in me and were open and sharing information about themselves. It seemed to be a very “safe” place to talk about your own abandonment story. There were some beautiful success stories of searches that brought families together and then there were some really sad and even dark stories. But what I noticed most was the support and kindness no matter how the story went. The other members were there to lift one another up. The empathy and understanding was over-the-top.
So after a few days of reading and watching the page, I shared my own story including what had happened to my adoptive momma (that’s another story for another day) that caused me to start my search! I was literally blown away by the people who commented, gave advice, offered support, assistance, whatever I needed. But doing a DNA test was the first step. So I ordered an ancestry kit and the rest is history!
I hope you will return so I can tell you how much this has changed my life…and how it has changed me!! And the many things that I have learned in the process. It has definitely been the most adventurous journey I have been on…and it still continues today.