Adopted daughter's pain puts mom on crusade

March 08, 1997


Staff Writer

As a teenager, Linda Evosevich tried to run away from home and experts tried in vain to ease her emotional pain.

"I would hold this child of mine when she cried and said, `Mom, I'm unhappy and I don't know why,'" said Evosevich's mother, Fay Shaffer of Hagerstown. "No one ever suggested it was because she was adopted."

At age 34, married and living in Baltimore, Evosevich now believes she was mourning the loss of her birth parents. She has been unable to find them after two years of searching.


Shaffer, 63, wants to educate people about the heartache felt by adoptees like her daughter. They are deprived of knowing their roots or even basic medical history.

That's why Shaffer testified in favor of a bill that would open adoption records in Maryland.

Del. Frank S. Turner, a Howard County Democrat who was himself adopted, has proposed making birth records available to birth parents and adopted individuals age 25 and older.

To protect those who want to remain private, birth parents or adopted individuals could object to the disclosure of the birth record or declare they don't want to have any contact with the other person.

The bill is co-sponsored by three local delegates - Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, Louise Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington and Robert McKee, R-Washington.

Medical advances linking diseases to genetic causes make it crucial that adoptees learn their medical histories, McKee said.

Sharon Price of Rocky Ridge, Md., spent seven years searching for the baby girl she gave birth to at age 15.

When she found her daughter, the woman chose not to have a relationship with Price.

But Price, 47, doesn't regret the search.

"I had no way of knowing how my child felt,'' she said. "I would have spent the rest of my life and my last dime to give her the information she needed."

If Maryland's adoption records had been open, it would have saved Price the seven long years of anxious searching, she said.

Price said it would have been better to know as soon as possible that her biological daughter did not want a relationship with her.

Price, who runs a support group for birth parents and adult adoptees, said closed birth records only add to the pain of the separation.

"Part of the anger is from not having that right," she said.

Price said she didn't even have the choice to keep her baby. Social workers deemed her too young to be a mother, she said.

Open adoptions, where the birth mother stays in contact with the adoptive family, were rare.

Today, open adoptions are encouraged, said Monique Sekula of Frederick, Md., who gives classes to families considering adoption.

"If it's kept open from the beginning, there's no questions," Sekula said.

Sekula, 35, and her husband, James, 43, adopted their daughter Corrina, 3.

The Sekulas stay in touch with Corrina's birth mother, who lives in northern Virginia. They have information about the birth father, in California, who chose not to have a relationship with them.

"Adoption is a wonderful, wonderful way to form a family," Monique Sekula said.

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