August 5, 2008

A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words...

Daughter finds birth parents after 29 years

By KENNY MAPLE/Index-Journal staff writer
Published: Sunday, August 3, 2008 11:29 PM EDT

It took a heart attack, years of searching and a brave phone call, but Kimberly Ramsey has found her birth parents.

For the parents and their other three children, finding Ramsey is much like instantly adding a new member to the Kelly family.

For Ramsey, finding her parents is something that she can’t even describe.

“It was an indescribable feeling,” she said, shakily. “I was so excited, but there’s not a word to describe the feeling of finding your family.”

Ramsey was born Nov. 15, 1978, and put up for adoption. About 2005, Mike and Teresa Kelly began searching for their daughter, but the process was slow and yielded few concrete results.

On July 3, Ramsey began the search as well, but it took a massive heart attack to prompt her to do so.

After the attack, Ramsey’s adoptive father, Les Stewart, encouraged her to search for her birth parents, something she’d considered her whole life. Once she got started, the process was quick on her end.

“I was really lucky, they left me a really good trail of information along the way so I was able to find them real quick,” she said.

Ramsey now had the name and was able to look up the phone number. She called Stewart. Obviously a little nervous, Ramsey asked her adoptive father to place the call.

Teresa remembers that call quite vividly.

“He asked me, he says, 'Are you Teresa Kelly?’ I said yes. He said, 'Did you give a baby up for adoption in 1978.’ And I said yes.”

The birth mother was stunned.

The adoptive father and birth mother talked a while, and then later Ramsey made a phone call of her own.

“I think we ended up talking till after one o’clock in the morning,” she said.

The two also exchanged pictures through e-mail. That’s when Mike returned home from work.

His wife plopped him down in front of the computer, with the picture of his long-lost daughter on the screen. No warning or anything.

They began to talk on the phone as well. Ramsey’s husband, Kevin, said the parents and their daughter used up three cell phone batteries that night.

Pictures were also exchanged of Ramsey’s brother Joey and her sisters Jennifer and Jessica Ponder, who is now married.

When the photo of Jessica popped up in Ramsey’s inbox, her husband said, “You can’t deny that. That’s your sister.”

The Kelly family was in awe of the similarities. Ramsey was in awe of her “new” family.

But now she had to meet them. The family, from Greenwood County, arranged to do so in Rock Hill, where Ramsey lives with her husband and their two children -- Kharman, 7, and Kameron, 3.

The tearful reunion occurred at the Stewart home on July 19.

“It was awesome,” Teresa said. “You wait a lot of years and you hope that day comes and it came.”

“It’s a new person to love in your life,” Joey said of his sister. “It’s kind of neat to do that, to learn that experience all over again.”

On Sunday, much of the extended family met Ramsey for the first time, at a picnic shelter on Lake Greenwood. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and others all met the girl who was once lost and then found 29 years later.

“It’s just a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve got somebody else out there,” she said.

Copyright © 2008 - The Index Journal

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