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50 Years After Adoption, Woman Learns Her Birth Mother Starred in Her Favorite Childhood TV Show

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It’s natural for people who have been adopted to wonder who their biological parents are. Some search for years before finding out anything, and some never find out who they’re from or what their family history is.

But with DNA testing, it has become much easier to track that family line, finding not only parents, but siblings and other relatives, even when adoption records are closed.

Lisa Wright of Los Angeles, California, always wondered about who her mother might be. She knew she’d been adopted, and her adoptive mother assured her that her bio mom hadn’t abandoned her.

“My (adoptive) mom told me, ‘Your mommy loved you, but she was really young, and she knew she couldn’t take care of you,'” she told “Today.” “‘I wanted the baby so bad, and that’s why your mom let me take care of you. You weren’t abandoned. This was just the best thing for you.'”

Wright’s mother had had her at the tender age of 18, and the adoption was closed, so for around five decades all Wright could do was wonder.

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But she’d had a son of her own, and he encouraged her to get a DNA test so she could get some closure regarding her parent. She was 54 at the time, in 2018, and both of her adoptive parents had already passed away.

After sending in her test, she got a match.

“I get an alert, and it says, ‘This person is your uncle,'” she recalled. “So I just kinda reached out and said, ‘If you’re open to it, I would love to chat with you to see what all of this means.'”

“You know my heart’s like turning flips, he goes, ‘Tell me about yourself, what do you know’ So I said, ‘Well, I was born on Dec. 10, 1964. I was told that my biological mom was very young when she had me. She moved to L.A. because she wanted to be in Hollywood.’ And then he just stopped me right there.

“So then I’m thinking, ‘OK, here it comes. He’s going to say don’t ever call me again.’ And he goes, ‘Lisa, you’re my niece. We’ve been looking for you. We’ve all been looking for you.'”

It’s the news every adoptee wants to hear, but not all get to. Wright had family, and she could connect. And she learned even better news: Her uncle told her that her mother currently lived in Los Angeles.

Soon her mother, Lynne Moody, the woman she’d wondered about for decades, was calling her.

“A voice on the other end says, ‘Is this my daughter?’ And, and then I just went, ‘Oh, my God, is this my mother?'” she said. “She goes, ‘Yes, sweetie, this is your mom.’ It was just the most indescribable feeling.”

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Not everyone who reaches out to their parents gets to hear that they were wanted, or loved, or valued, but Moody told Wright all those things. She said she’d never had any more children, constantly wondered how her daughter was and desperately hoped she’d get to meet her someday.

“When she was born, they covered my face, my eyes, so that I couldn’t see her,” Moody herself explained. “But I could hear her cry. All I could say was ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, baby, I’m sorry.’ As a mother, you never, ever, ever forget. During those 50 years, all I did was try to learn how to live with it. I didn’t know if she was hungry, if she was alive, if she was happy, if she was adopted.

“When I found out that she was my daughter, at that moment, it was like I was giving birth. Because I lost my legs, I was on the floor in a fetal position, screaming and crying. I didn’t know how deep that hole was.”

Wright also realized that she’d had an unknown connection to her mother for years, because her mother had starred in “That’s My Mama,” a sitcom from the 1970s that Wright loved.

“I grew up watching my mother on TV and didn’t even know it,” she said. “‘That’s My Mama’ — that was our must-see TV. We all sat down and watched ‘That’s My Mama’ every week, and who knew? No idea. … And that’s my mama!”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking