A Hopkinsville, Kentucky, woman is on a mission to find her birth mom. Janel Adkins believes her mom may be in the St. Louis area. She shared her story on Facebook. As the post gained popularity online, she got an unexpected answer to her prayers.
"Family is just everything," Adkins said.
Adkins has sons, siblings, and two loving parents in her family. However, there is a void.
"I was placed in a foster home at five days old and eventually that family adopted me at three years old," Adkins said.
She was born in St. Louis County. As a young girl, she and her adoptive family moved out of state.
"One day, I asked my mother, 'What is my biological mother's name?' And she told me and I started looking in St. Louis phone books," Adkins said.
But Adkins didn't meet her mom. Fast forward to December 2017 and Adkins turned 40 years old. The search was back on.
"We're going to find her," she said.
She wrote "I'm looking for my birth family" on a poster board and posted a photo of herself holding it online.
"Well, I thought only 50 people might share my post," she said.
Thousands of people shared it and it reached Jefferson County resident Debra Ferry. Ferry lives in Herculaneum, Mo., but 5 On Your Side caught up with her at her father's home in Richmond Heights.
"I looked at her post and I'm reading it and I'm like oh my gosh that's Sue's kid," Ferry said.
Ferry's cousin once dated Adkins' mom. And Ferry knew she had proof.
"I had to go down, sit down on the floor, and go through one by one all the different pictures before I found those two," Ferry said.
She found two photos of Adkins' mom, Susan McCool, at Ferry's grandmother's house in Maplewood. The photos were from 1971.
Ferry shared the photos with Adkins.
"It's the first time I've seen her," Adkins said. "She was beautiful."
Ferry and McCool lost touch decades ago, and Ferry and Adkins may not be related by blood. However, they consider themselves family now.
"When you have family and friends to share your life with, your astounding times and your heartbreaks, it just makes the biggest difference in the world," Ferry said.
Ferry is planning a family reunion of sorts for next summer and Adkins is invited. Adkins hopes to meet even sooner than that, and above all her wish is for her mom to be there, too.
A man named Matthew Patton organized a GoFundMe to cover the cost of the search.