Age 24 Woman Adopted by Her Former School Resource Officer: 'I Really Wanted a Mom'

Combined Shape

Shay Roberson had a difficult life in her early years. One of six children born to a crack cocaine addict, she and her siblings were constantly being taken from their mother and moved around through relatives and foster care.

At some point, a relative decided to make it official and adopt the other five kids — but not Roberson. Roberson would always have a biological mother, but she’d never really received the nurturing, mentoring and caring figure every person needs in their lives.

Until she met Ginnie Wing. Roberson was in sixth grade when she met Wing, who was a school resource officer at East Middle School in Brownsburg, Indiana, that Roberson attended.

Because she was in and out of foster care (she passed through a dozen homes within a decade), her teachers became her support system. They did all the things a good parent would do, supporting her and attending events.

But Wing was more than that. She’d check in on Roberson to see how she was doing. She was approachable and warm, and Roberson soon sought her company daily.

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“I just always thought she was pretty cool,” she told the Indy Star. “I don’t know, she was just a dope person.”

“My only interactions with police officers were always bad, so whether they were coming to my house or, you know, in my neighborhood or removing me from my parents.”

The sentiment was mutual, as Wing took a shine to Roberson. There was something about that girl that just called to her. When Roberson started at Indiana University, it was Wing (and a counselor) who celebrated with Shay and went to the parents’ meeting at her request.

Even through college Wing kept in touch with Roberson, sending her starter supplies and making sure she wasn’t wanting for anything major. Wing’s husband Matt, a Brownsburg Police Department sergeant, saw what his wife saw in Roberson, too.

“It’s clear that she’s an amazing person that just has a light about her that lights up a room when she walks in,” he said. “She’s hard not to love, really.”

Roberson graduated with a degree in applied health sciences and started working in Washington D.C. Wing became Brownsburg Community School Corporation’s police chief.

But their friendship wasn’t over yet. During a conversation, Wing commented off-handedly that they should have just adopted Roberson. Roberson wondered if that were still possible, and knew of another adult who’d been adopted when she was over 30.

Matt Wing also primed the pumps by hearing from a friend in his 60s who wished he’d been able to have parents, and still felt a severe absence in his life.

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So Roberson decided to take a leap and ask Ginnie Wing something a little bit crazy. She texted the two sentences to her former resource officer: “Can you think about adopting me one day? I really want a mom.”

She quickly added, “You don’t have to respond just think about it.” But she didn’t need to worry — the reason Wing didn’t respond immediately was only that she was driving.

“Sorry, I was driving,” Wing texted back. “You know I would in a heartbeat.”

On April 20, 2018, Roberson became part of the family to the delight of the Wings and their children, who also said this was a long time coming. Now Roberson’s last name is Roberson-Wing and they’re legally family.

“If something would happen to me or my husband, that she’s ours and we’re hers,” Ginnie Wing said. “And we wanted that to become official.”

“Where she came from and where she’s at now is amazing. And I think she didn’t let her circumstances define her,” Matt Wing added. “She defined herself. And kind of beat the odds.”

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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