Laura Stover finds her father 2010.10.20

Written by David Green.

laura_stover.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

The fact that Laura Stover was adopted was never a secret from her. For as long as she can remember, she knew that her parents, Charles and Phyllis Sandusky, obtained her from a foster home when she was a baby.

The secret lay in the identity of her birth parents.

She wondered about them from time to time, and after high school she started reading about how a person could track down birth parents.

The words “Social Security number” figured large in the process and Laura had none.

A few years went by before she decided to begin the search. That occurred about seven years ago and the effort led to communication with her birth mother.

A document from the adoption agency listed only general information. Her closed-adoption birth certificate let her know she was born at Detroit’s Botsford Hospital so she asked for the medical records.

Laura knew it wouldn’t provide all the information she needed, but she hoped for the best. She received a photocopy of the original records, with names whited out before the copy was made.

About a week later, a stroke of luck aided her search. Someone at the hospital made a mistake and mailed the copy with the white correction fluid. It was easy to see the names by holding the paper up to the light.

What she learned first was the name of her grandfather because her mother was still on his insurance coverage. She soon learned he was deceased, so she next obtained his death certificate.

There was her mother’s maiden name, but that was only half of what she needed. The certificate listed a brother of her mother and an internet search led to him. When Laura called, he promised to inform her mother about the phone call.

“She called me back in about a week,” Laura said, and they’ve had intermittent contact ever since, although her mother isn’t yet interested in a visit.

Laura was given the name Randy K by her mother and learned they went to Cody High School together, but that was all her mother would offer—not even the full last name. They weren’t even dating by the time her mother discovered she was pregnant.

Laura found a website with listings of Cody classes and in with the Class of 1974 she found a Randy with a last name that started with “K.”

“This is how I found my birth dad,” she said, “by looking through the Cody website.”

It was just a year ago when she came up with a name and phone number, but she didn’t call right away.

“I gave it some time because I didn’t know what to say,” Laura said. “I didn’t want to cause problems with his family. I had to prepare myself for finding out that maybe he didn’t want to know me.”

She finally made the call, but the number was disconnected.

Additional searches showed that phone number and listed a wife and children. Laura also found a separate listing for his wife.

“Should I call that number?” she wondered. “Does she know?”

This seemed to be her only hope.

“I rehearsed a few things I would say and I said I was trying to find some classmates of my mom,” Laura said.

However, it was a man who answered and Laura left her name and number, wondering if she would ever get a return call.

She did call back and asked if Laura was searching for big Randy or little Randy. Laura said it was someone around 55 years of age.

“I already knew what you were going to tell me,” the woman said.

When they were dating, Randy told her about his child given up for adoption, and he told her that he would really like to meet her some day.

The two were no longer married and Randy had left the state in search of employment after being laid off from the Detroit Public School system.

Once again, Laura received a promise that her message would be passed on, and then she waited.

The call came in April—April 28, to be exact, one day before Laura’s birthday.

“It was kind of like a birthday present,” she said.

Laura told him the tale of her search and he mentioned there were 900 students in his graduating class at Cody. That made her success all the more satisfying.

Randy came for a visit in June to meet his long-lost daughter and to meet his “new” grandchildren. He looked through Laura’s scrapbooks to get a slice of her life growing up in Morenci, and they all had dinner together at the Sandusky house. Laura’s adopted parents were strong supporters of her search.

The meeting brought closure to Randy’s longings as well as Laura’s.

“I had two photos of you as a baby,” he said. “That’s all I’ve had for 35 years.”

All he knew in 1975 is that the adoption met two qualifications that the birth parents requested—the new parents would be college educated and involved with the Lutheran Church. And he also knew she was off to live in a farmhouse.

With only those clues, he didn’t expect to ever meet her unless she found him.

Laura’s family continues to grow. In addition to the three siblings she grew up with, she has other brothers and sisters from both her mother and father that she’s yet to meet. She also keeps in touch with her foster parents even though she spent only the first month of her life with them.

She’s made it clear to both of her birth parents that she has no regrets about their decision to choose adoption.

“I’ve had a great life,” she’s told them, quite satisfied with how things have turned out. It’s just a curiosity that’s driven her search.

She’s hoping her birth mother eventually decides to meet. Perhaps some day her mother will have the same feeling that her father expressed on a card attached to flowers: “Thanks for not giving up.”

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016