“It’s been a long journey, but it ended good,” she said. “I always wanted her to have a good life and a good family. That’s what I mainly wanted.”
For Osborn, finding out his biological parents’ names was the key that led to the discovery of an older brother, R.E. Stancliff, in Russellville, Ark. But Osborn admits he didn’t have any preconceived notions of what he hoped to find or have any idea what his new birth certificate would reveal when he requested a copy of it early last year.
“When they (State of Illinois) opened it up, I didn’t know about any siblings. I didn’t know anything,” he said about obtaining his birth certificate.
“I was told at an early age that I was adopted, and I think that’s the right thing to do. I wouldn’t know where to look if my adoptive family had kept it a secret.
“I already had my original birth certificate with my adoptive parents on it but not my biological parents,” he added.
Osborn’s biological parents, who are both deceased, were Robert Reece Stancliff, an unemployed 24-year-old who had just finished his service with the Marine Corps, and 22-year-old housewife Charlotte Lucille Knowlton. The couple from Helena, Ark., already had a 3-year-old son, R.E., at home when their infant son was born in 1946.
No one knows why the couple chose to give up their newborn, but the decision brought the Arkansas couple to Danville, where there was an “unwed mothers’ home,” Osborn said.
“I was the only one given up,” Osborn said of his biological family that also boasts five half-siblings on his mother’s side and five half-siblings on his father’s side.
Once in Danville, the infant boy was adopted shortly after birth by Danville couple Harold and June Osborn. Years later, the couple also adopted Osborn’s sister, Linda Lucas Anstey, who is the Vermilion County auditor.