DANVILLE — Alfreda Louise Johnston says she spent the last five decades wondering what happened to her little 1-year-old girl who was taken away from the then-teenaged mother on the front doorstep of her Danville home in 1961.
Did she have a good life? Does she have a family of her own now?
At the end of November, Johnston had her answers.
Danville native Ted Osborn, 66, knew he had been adopted as a newborn. What he didn’t know, until just a few months ago, was that he has a 69-year-old brother in Arkansas and a host of half-siblings. He met his older brother for the first time in October.
A change in Illinois’ birth certificate law late in 2011 made these two reunions possible.
Through the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Division of Vital Records, adopted individuals older than 21 can order a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate for $15, which now gives their biological parents’ names that previously had been redacted.
According to statistics provided by The White Oak Foundation — which provides free and at-cost search assistance to Illinois adoptees and their birth and adoptive families — Illinois issued 2,973 new or amended birth records per adoption in the first three quarters of 2012.
Mom and daughter reunite
Marsha Woodard and her husband, Richard, usually go out to dinner with friends on Friday night somewhere in Danville, so the evening of Dec. 28 seemed perfectly normal to Marsha … at first.
“Usually we don’t know where we’re going to eat until that day, but he (Richard) knew for days we were going to Red Lobster, which I thought was funny,” she said.
Arriving first and by herself at Red Lobster, Marsha was seated in the more private back room rather than at a table in the general dining room, and when Richard and their friends showed up, they insisted Marsha sit in a different seat.