SUBMITTED BY VIC ANGLIN –
Placed in Foster Care just a few months after birth, Sheryl Davis never knew her birth family, and knew only foster homes until she was finally adopted at the age of 8 to Mena, Arkansas’ Wade and Susie Eddins.
Sheryl, now 48, is married to Mena’s Wendell Davis, and they live with Sheryl’s daughter, Kelli Maxey, at the Twilight Ranch just outside of Mena, Arkansas, on the Ouachita River where it meets the Iron Fork River.
Sheryl said she has always wondered about her birth family. Her mother and father, and even siblings. “I didn’t know very much about them,” she said. “Only my birth last name and that possibly a brother and a sister existed who were very close in age to myself.”
For her entire life, Sheryl was told that each of her siblings in her family was put up for adoption for a different reason, and that she was dropped off one night at the neighbor’s house, “and they never came back to get me,” she said of her birth-parents. At least that was the story Sheryl had always been told.
Finally, with the encouragement of her husband, in November last year, the two of them hired an agency out of Florida. “And within four-and-a-half months we had names, dates, pictures, telephone numbers and addresses,” she exclaimed. “The agency called my sister first for me, and then I was on my own to call the rest of the family.”
Sheryl said her sister has chosen not to have a relationship with her because of religious reasons, but that she has made contact with her brother also. “Mike, my brother, is from California, and has already come to Arkansas to visit, almost as soon as he found out I existed,” she stated excitedly. “There’s really no words. Not when it’s something you’ve thought and wondered about all your life – and now he’s standing right here in your living room!”
She continued contacting more family members. “And then I contacted Judy, my biological mother, and I wrote a letter to Ron, my biological father.” Sheryl said she had to find out the truth of why she was put up for adoption. “It turns out that my birth parents were like orphans themselves because they had no support from family,” she said. “They couldn’t feed me and people were stealing food just for us to eat. The courts gave them a certain amount of time to make the home suitable but they couldn’t, so they had to give me up.”
Birth-mother Judy and Sheryl have gotten to be very close and they talk on the phone every day. After some time passed with communication as key, a strong relationship has also developed with birth-father Ron. Sheryl and Wendell couldn’t wait to see the new-found family so they planned a trip to Michigan to visit. When they returned, Sheryl’s excitement couldn’t be contained. “There’s no words for what took place in my heart while on that trip,” Sheryl stated. “I’ve waited for this for 48 years!”
“The first thing I noticed is what a handsome man he is,” she said of her birth-father, Ron. “He had very loving and kind eyes.” She could see the guilt in those eyes, though, and she reaches out to him in compassion. “I think he was just scared is all. I told him, ‘you’ve just put three of your children up for adoption, and that’s not a crime – it’s not like you put us in a dumpster. And we’ve all turned out very, very well,” she stated confidently. “And I want others to know.”
Sheryl hopes her story will encourage others. “This is not so far-fetched that people can’t pursue finding their birth-family,” she said of others in a similar situation as hers. “There’s a lot of people wondering out there. And then again, a lot of people may find their birth family, then get together and go their separate ways, but that’s not us,” she continued. “We’re building relationships that will last.”
“My journey is not over, it’s just now starting,” she said. “But actually my adoptive parents (Wade and Susie Eddins) are the ones who have made me who I am,” she added. “They encouraged me all of my life.”