When they go to church together, Sue's mother introduces Charlotte Staten as Sue's "first mother."
Three years ago, Staten's search for the child she had given up for adoption 28 years before ended. Birth mother and daughter were reunited and Staten is building a relationship with her daughter's family. While her other children have not met Sue, they write to each other.Staten's need to know what happened to the child she had given up for adoption lead to formation of LAMB, "Love thru Adoption Means Birth Parents." LAMB is a support group for members of the "adoption triad" - those who gave children up for adoption, the children who have been adopted and parents who have adopted.
LAMB meets the second Tuesday of each month at the YWCA, 322 E. 300 South, at 7 p.m. Later this month the group will be featured on an NBC news special with Tom Brokaw.
Shellie Robertson and her mother Maddie Close joined LAMB because they felt isolated. Robertson gave a child up for adoption almost 18 years ago. Later, wondering what had become of the child, she felt alone in her problem.
"Adoption is such a closed issue. There are a lot of emotional times, and you think you're the only one going through it. English doesn't have the words to describe it."
Her parents and siblings have been very supportive - but they couldn't really feel what she was going through. Members of LAMB could understand, comfort and inspire her.
Just weeks ago, Robertson and the daughter she had given up for adoption were reunited through letters. Robertson's keeping the relationship "low key" and not rushing things. After all, she said, it has taken 171/2 years to get this far.
Ann Larsen now has a grandmother and a sister she never knew. Adopted, she had long wanted to find her birth parents, but kept putting it off out of fear. New friends in LAMB convinced her that no matter what she found, it would be all right. The worst that could happen if she succeeded would be she'd know the family medical history.
When she told her adoptive mother she wanted to find her birth mother, it was "pretty rough at times. But she was generally supportive. I just had to tell her that it wouldn't change anything between us. And it hasn't."
She learned a lot about her birth mother: She was educated and accomplished. She had several college degrees. And she died more than 15 years ago, leaving Larsen's older sister, who has become a good friend.
As she raises her own children, Larsen is glad to have medical information that may make a difference to them.
Mostly, she's glad to have a support group of caring people who know and understand at heart level the issues that go with adoption.
This month, several LAMB members are going to the American Adoption Congress in Simi Valley, Calif. Next year, Utah hosts the event. For information about LAMB, call 298-8520.