Sunday, July 8, 2018

Step into my shoes and walk a mile with me

Step into my shoes and walk a mile with me, the journey has been long and the road was not easy, but  by the grace of God and the help of some amazing people I made it. 

A few years ago a day like today seemed impossible. I just spent 9 days at my sister's house. Our kids are best friends like cousins should be. We all have a lot of time to make up for but we are defiantly a family....finally.  I was sitting at the kitchen table and the kids were all sitting around and my sister was cooking and everyone was talking and laughing and it felt like complete chaos, I loved every second of it. It felt like a family should be and I never wanted that moment to end.

So many of us take these small moments for granted. I will never do that again. I spent many long years trying to find out who I was and its better than I ever could have imagined. I could have never made this dream come true without the help of everyone who supported me and shared my story. Because of all of you my story was heard by the right people who could help and make my dream a reality. There were so many times that  I thought I would never have my questions answered and your inspiring messages kept me going. The road was long and hard and lots of time my supporters carried me along my journey. I am eternally grateful.

For many years I have been asked when I was going to share my story with the world. I always said "I don't have an ending yet." and once I had the ending I still had so many questions that I needed answers to. I am still learning more every day, but the time is here, the time is now!! I am ready to share this story and inspire others to NEVER give up!!

I am starting with releasing a book in a few months and it will be followed by a movie. Abandoned Vol.1 will tell the beginning of the story. It is a heart wrenching, inspiring story of love and abandonment. It will defiantly pull at your heart strings.  My hope with this movie is the same as it was when sharing my story through this blog. It is to give hope and inspire others. If I can do it, you can do it! Nothing is impossible, even if it seems impossible!

Making a movie is a costly project for production. We plan to travel with cast and crew to Oklahoma. We plan to recreate 1978. I promise you won't be disappointed! I have started a Gofundme account! I am asking if everyone could donate something, even if it's $1. Everything helps and gets us towards our goal.  I would have never made it this far without you and together we can bring hope to those across the world.

If you would like to donate $1000 or more I have some donation packages for you ( things like- executive producer, movie extra, advertising, name in credits)  you can email me at abandonedvol1@gmail.com for more information.

I'll be sharing more about production as it progresses. For now I just ask that everyone share this story and the gofundme page and please donate if you can.


Visit my GoFundMe page for more information and to date!! Please share!!!
I know that with love and support anything is possible!! Thank you all so much!!




Thursday, February 16, 2017

GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN!

It has been a very long time since I posted a blog. Most people know my story by now.
I was abandoned when I was a new born baby. I spent almost 20 years searching for my biological family. Using DNA with the help of CeCe Moore I found my family in December 2015.
The first person to reach out to me from my family was a second cousin named Steven. A few days later his sweet mother, my first cousin Cili reached out to through email. Cili was wonderful. She told me all about my dad and my cuban side of the family. She was such a blessing in my life.


Finding my family was bittersweet. The bitter part was that both of my parents are deceased. That was so hard! After 20 years of wanting more than anything to meet my parents, when I finally found out who they were it is to late. The sweet part was that I had FOUR FULL SIBLINGS!! What a sweet blessing. I was so surprised to find out that I had siblings, especially that they were all my full siblings.

Cili and I decided that it would be best if she let the family know about me. I wasn't sure how they would react or feel about me. Cili contacted my sister, Dora, first.
Cili told me: Quote from Dora: "If she is indeed my sister, she has all our love and we will accept her as one of us, unconditionally."
 Dora and my other sister Celina agree to take a DNA test. That night Dora emailed me.

It was December 22, 2015:
I am not going to share the full email, but this is how it started. These are the first words I heard from my sweet and loving sister:
Hi Amy,
     I am so excited and nervous to write to you.  I guess I should start by introducing myself and telling you a little bit about my family, a family I believe you belong in. 

She told me about my brothers and my other sister. She told me about my parents and how they both died. She told me about all my nieces and nephews. Then she said:

 I hope that gives you a little knowledge of who we all are.  I definately want you to get to know more about us, but that is a good start.  From the information I have seen about you online I see that you also have a beautiful family of your own.

Then she really touched my heart:

 I believe that you are at least my half sister, maybe full sister.  I dont know or begin to understand how my sister ended up in that phone booth in 1978.  I wish I could tell you why, but I want to tell you Sorry! From the bottom of my heart, I would never want to have lost a sister!  I find myself spending the whole day just lost in thought, asking over and over, how is this happening.  I have prayed so many times today asking for an answer. I just dont know when or how God will give us this answer.

Then she told me about the type of loving and caring people that my parents were. Dora loved our parents very much, as did everyone who knew them. Then she said what i had waited 20 years to hear:

 I guess what I really want you to know is that we do believe that you are our sister and we already love you.  I cant explain what must have happened, but I can tell you that the 4 of us would never step away from you and are really excited to have a new baby sister!  I don't wanna come on to strong and I still have a lot of feelings and emotions I have to sort out. I really cant wait to hear from you.  I hope we can be the family you have search so long and so hard for. 
Your sister (I just know it)

I waited 20 years to hear that my family loved me and I heard it from Dora first. I responded to the email immediately and we have emailed then text or talked everyday since I received  this email. Dora is the rock of this family. We all go to her. She listens, she cares and she loves. She is the best! 

The DNA tests came back and Dora and my beautiful sister, Celina, are confirmed full siblings. It just confirmed what we already knew. 

I am no longer Baby Maybelle! I am AMY BARRIGA!! 

I have 4 amazing siblings.  I wanted a sister my whole life and I have two! I can't believe it. They have became more than sisters, they are my best friends. I love them so much and there is nothing I wouldn't do for them. My brother Recardo is equally amazing. He has became the greatest man in my life. I haven't got to meet my brother, Albert yet, but he is an amazing man too. I love hearing all the stories about them growing up with our mom and dad. They are an incredible family and I am beyond blessed to be a part of it. 

In August I flew to New York City to be on the Dr. Oz show. He was interviewing me about using DNA to find my family. I was beyond surprised when Dr. Oz asked me if I thought that my sisters would be watching this at home. I said yes. He said "They're not, because they are here." After 8 months I finally got to meet my sisters/best friends face to face!! It was one of the greatest moments of my life. 
Here is the link to the show. 

http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/cracked-dna-spit-test-reunion-woman-abandoned-birth?video_id=5165853448001

Thank you so much to CeCe Moore and the Dr. Oz show for making my dream come true! 

Below is the moment I saw my sisters for the first time. We joked later about how I choked Dora. But when I hugged them I never wanted to let go. I would give anything to pause time right here. 

After the show Dora, Celina and I spent the whole day exploring Manhattan. It was truly one of the greatest days of my life. It was like we had been together our whole lives.


Dora saw the Cuban restaurant in Time Square. We had to go there and eat and have a drink. It was so good. I will visit this restaurant every time I return to New York. 


The horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park was so magical. We laughed and made memories that I will never forget. 

We barely slept the whole trip. We made a million memories. 

The worst part of the trip was when we all had to leave. We had to go back to our own homes all the way across the United States from each other. But we decided that we would take a sister trip every year and make it a tradition. Even though we wanted to return to New York again, we decided we should go to Miami next time. We hoped to visit Cuba together someday. 

In December I was so blessed to be able to travel to Alabama to spend Christmas with my family. It was when I arrived at Dora's house that I learned that she was sick. I was completely surprised.  My heart broke seeing her in pain. She wasn't sure what was wrong, but the doctors suspected cancer. 

I told Dora that it was Ok. God just brought them into my life, he was not going take them from me this soon. We have plans. We have memories to make. We have years to make up for. Dora, Celina and I are going to be three peas in a pod. We have so much life to experience together.  I just knew she was going to be ok. SHE HAS TO BE!! 

A month ago the news came that she had cancer. But the doctor gave her so much hope. We knew she was going to beat it and be better and healthier than ever. She told Wayne, her husband, that after she beat it she wanted to do a sister trip. I just knew it would be this summer. 

My sister got so sick. She couldn't eat. She couldn't sleep. She was in pain. But Barriga women are strong. Even though she was sick, she NEVER gave up! She was always full of HOPE! She was always full of LOVE!

Six weeks after I left her house at Christmas, Dora was sicker than I ever thought possible. Last night she went into cardiac arrest. 

I want more than anything to be there with my sister right now. But there is no way I can. I spoke or messaged her every day since that first email. I saw her on two different occasions (one in New York and once at Christmas) I am eternally thankful for those two times that we spent together. 

We were suppose to have more time! I am angry! I just found my family how can she be taken from me so quickly? 

Dora is the most loving, caring, considerate and kind person I know. She taught me so much about my family. She accepted and loved me since day one. She didn't just say she loved me, she showed me everyday too. I could talk to her about anything.  We made so many plans of things we wanted to do. 

I am writing this with a heavy heart. I want everyone to know that Dora is one of the greatest people in my life!! Please don't take life for granted. People can be taken from you in an instant! My sisters and I thought we had a lifetime together. The tears won't stop and the pain inside is unbearable. Writing has always been my outlet to reality. I will be writing about Dora the rest of my life. 

I still have two amazing brothers and 1 amazing sister. I really want to get to know Albert and his family more. I am going to spend as much time as I can with Recardo and Celina. I want Celina and I to still take those sister trips in honor of Dora. 

I am thankful for the last 14 months that I got to know Dora. Thank you God for allowing that! 


Rest in Peace my sweet and beautiful big sister! You taught me so much in such a short time! I love you more than words can express. 

Dora Barriga Lassister- GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN! 



Friday, November 21, 2014

Video Blog and Surgery





It seems like once again things have taken a stand still in my search. This isn't surprising to me. It seems to be the cycle of my search.

I had surgery on Monday to have my gall bladder removed. I have been having problems with it for a couple of years, but just found out recently it was my gall bladder. The doctor wanted to take it out and even though the thought of surgery and removing an organ from my body was scary, I  went ahead and did it. The surgeon said that my gall bladder was twice the normal size. Right now I am recovering and ready to feel normal again. I have been researching everything about life without a gall bladder and gall bladder disease.

 Gall Bladder disease is more common in females and it is hereditary. There is that word- Hereditary!! It is a scary word to me, because I have NO family medical history! I have 3 daughters. I have always been afraid that I would have something that I could pass on to them and not even know it ran in my "family." I pray my girls never have any problems with there gall bladder. If I had known that this was a condition that ran in my "family" I could have done things in my life to possibly prevent this surgery. I am thankful that this is not a life threatening illness but I am saddened that it is a reminder that there is so much about me that I don't know.

Heredity can be as simple as eye color or as complex as cancer. Whatever the case may be I have no clue what I have inherited or could pass on to my kids. Honestly that is one of the scariest parts of being adopted, the unknown. I still have hope that some day I will find my family and finally be able to fill out that family medical section of my medical paper work….

I decided to take my search a step forward and start a video blog. I get a lot of messages with tips and ideas for searching. I also get a lot of messages from people searching and asking me for ideas and tips. I am going to use this video blog to share my story and what I have done in my search, what has worked and what hasn't worked.

I know it can be overwhelming searching for someone. Starting is the hardest thing. I hope my video blog can gel people that are searching as well as help get my story out. I attached the first video to this blog. I plan to do one every week, although I will admit that life gets busy sometimes so I may miss a week here or there, but I plan to stay on track.

I have so much support from my followers and I would just like to give back. Please watch my video and share it. If I can't find my biological family, I would at least like to help someone else in their search.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Great time with Tad and Lindsey

http://www.mix96tulsa.com/Player/102388481/

^^^^^^^^^ Above is the link to my interview with Tad and Lindsey on Mix 96.5^^^^^^^^^

I learned when I was a youth pastor about "divine connections". These are connections that you make with people that you know are destined by God. For example two great Pastors that I know, met and developed a friendship and then the two joined their ministries together to host one of the most amazing youth Rally's I have ever been to.  I have had many divine connections in my life. Sometimes you know instantly that you met someone for a reason, other times you don't learn until much later.

My middle daughter started gymnastics at a gym in Stillwater when she was 7 years old. She was a natural and started on the competitive team after only two months of gymnastics. Before long my youngest daughter started gymnastics as well. She was much younger and just started on a recreational level. My girls had some great coaches while they were doing gymnastics. I was friends with some of their coaches. One sweet girl named Alicia.

Alicia was a student in college and she was a great coach because she could show the girls what she wanted then to do, be stern, but caring at the same time. My girls adored Alicia. She carried my youngest daughter all over that gym! We were very sad when she graduated and left, but she and I remained friends on Facebook.

Alicia taged me in a post last week on Facebook.  Lindsey from Tad and Lindsey Mix 96 wanted to get in touch with me. Alicia's fiancĂ© works with Lindsey's husband. Small world? No, divine connection!

I went to Tulsa on Thursday to interview with Tad and Lindsey on their morning show. I started to get a little nervous when I got on the elevator, but once I met Lindsey's smiling face I was at ease. She took me to meet Tad. They were so cool that I forgot that I was being recorded.

Tad caught me totally off guard when he said the first question that he was going to ask me was totally uncomfortable. Then he asked why I didn't accept his friend request on Facebook. It was a great ice breaker for sure. I really enjoyed visiting with Tad and Lindsey. They were so nice. I am so thankful to them for taking time and allowing me to share my story with their listeners.  I am so thankful that my daughter took gymnastics 5 years ago and had a coach named Alicia who's  fiancĂ©e works with Lindsey's husband!! I am thankful to Tad and Lindsey for having interest in my story. They were so kind that they gave me some mega ride passes. My kids are super excited about that. 

Sharing my story is my biggest chance of finding my biological family. Everytime it is shared I have another chance that someone in my biological family will see it. Please share this blog and ask your friends to listen to me share my story with Tad and Lindsey. Everyone that hears is another chance.

Thank you so much to everyone who keeps sharing my story!! I have only gotten this far because of you!


HUGE thanks to Tad and Lindsey and Mix 96 for allowing me to share my story with their listeners.

Psalms 139:16 All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Open Doors

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/abandoned-at-birth-baby-maybelle-looks-for-her-mother/article_f9213d25-9498-57ee-93d9-0e6e436f6a48.html#user-comment-area



Joyce Meyers said "Having patience is not just the act of waiting, but waiting with a good attitude." When you have been searching and waiting for the same thing for 18 years sometimes it's hard to have a good attitude about it. I can honestly say the past month I have had the best attitude in my search to date. The amazing support that I am getting is such a blessing.

First KFOR ran my story online. I still don't know who ran it or how they even heard about my story, but I am extremely grateful to whomever it was.  After KFOR shared my story activity on my blog and Facebook page picked up. I was contacted by the Tulsa World. I went to Tulsa for an interview, and it was the best part of my search so far.

If you didn't get to see the story I attached the link at the top of the blog. Please take time to read and share the story that Michael Overall wrote. There is also a video that John Clanton put together. I love how they shared my story. On the website is a baby picture of me. I was so shocked when I saw it. The only baby pictures that I have seen of myself before 6 months old was printed out from microfiche. I believe this may be the same picture, but only zoomed out and clear. I am so thankful to the Tulsa World for sharing that picture.


This is my newborn baby picture. I am guessing this picture was taken by a photographer at the Tulsa World when they ran my original story in 1978. After 36 years I am beyond excited to finally have this picture! It's funny how the little things mean so much. I finally have a baby picture to compare to my girls.

I read the article and saw this amazing picture online before the story ran in print. There is a video with the article. I love this video. I love the footage from the fairgrounds. This is the video that I would love for my biological mother to see.

I was even more surprised when I got the paper on Tuesday.


I wasn't expecting front page!! I can not thank the Tulsa World enough!!

The only way I know to find my family is for them to find me. I am putting myself out there to be found. I don't know who they are, but I am making sure they know who I am. The Tulsa World has helped me with that. I am believing that this piece the Tulsa World did is going to get me closer than I have ever been before.

Lindsey Bauer, morning show host at Mix 96 in Tulsa has invited me to be on her show tomorrow morning.  I am excited. I have never done radio, so I am nervous, but I am so thankful for this opportunity. Any chance to share my story is a chance my biological family will see it. If you can listen to Mix 96.5 tomorrow morning.

Thank you for all the encouragement! I could not have made it this far without you!! Your words of encouragement and prayers really do keep me going. Thank you for all your suggestions and ideas to help me in my search! I am so thankful to everyone who shares my story!! God is opening doors for me that I never thought possible. I will continue patiently (with a good attitude) moving forward to where ever God leads.

Since I first started Maybelle page on Facebook in March it has been a wild ride. Sometimes I want to give up and sometimes I want to press forward. I always come to the same conclusion. It is all in God's hands. The desire of my heart is to meet my biological mom, in God's timing. So I will continue step through each door that God open's for me.


Friday, August 29, 2014

36 Years Later I Return to Where It All Began

When I think back on my story and this journey it feels like I started it a million years ago. When in reality it was only 18 years ago that I found out I was abandoned. I was told that there were newspaper articles about it. My search literally began at the Tulsa Library looking on micro fish in 1996. It was so hard and frustrating looking through the micro fish film and not really knowing what you were looking for. My husband and I spent hours looking.
       

I found this picture, and my heart sank. The Tulsa World, Tulsa Tribune and Daily Oklahoman have played a vital role in my search. All the information I have came from the newspaper articles. I am forever indebted to them. If they had not covered my story in 1978 I would literally know nothing. 36 years and 2 months after the above article ran I was honored to be contacted by the Tulsa World to do an interview.
I was beyond excited when I arrived at the Tulsa World. This is were my story was first told. Now I had the opportunity for the Tulsa World to let their readers know about my search. 


Last time my story ran in the paper I didn't have a voice. I was dependent upon the investigators to speak for me. This time I wore the mic.
 I was so excited for this interview. Of course,  I was nervous. I never know what they are going to ask and I always try not to cry. I am much better at writing about my story that I am talking about it. lol
 I met with Micheal Overall at the Tulsa World on Tuesday. He took me to the photo shooting room for the interview. There I met John Clanton, the multimedia producer at the Tulsa World. I wasn't expecting the cameras, but it was fun. Once Michael started asking me questions I forgot the camera's were even there.
After the interview, my husband and I met them at the Fairgrounds. I can honestly say this was the most peaceful moment of my entire search. 36 years and 2 months ago I was left in a phone booth by the Sky ride at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. 
We looked at old footage from 1978 and tried to figure out exactly where the telephone booth was located. We think we have a real good idea. We even found an old phone line mounted to the Skyride. It is amazing how much the fairgrounds has changed in 36 years. I was so surprised to find out how close Bell's Amusement park was to the Sky ride. Michael and John knew a lot about Tulsa and it's history. They definitely know a lot more about Tulsa in 1978 than I do. I was so thankful for what I learned when I was there. John took some pictures of me there. As I stood there I felt so much peace. Being there and trying to picture what it was like in 1978 is defiantly the coolest thing I have done in this search!!

I am so excited to see the piece that Micheal and John put together. I am so thankful that they chose to run my story. My story will be in the Tuesday edition of the Tulsa World, and online at Tulsaworld.com
I will also share the link on my Facebook and blog. I pray that someone in my biological family sees the article. How cool would it be if the first place to share my story is the one that leads me to my biological family?

I also wanted to share that Kfor.com ran my story. I didn't even know. I was following a lead I got and I googling it and my story came up. I was so shocked and excited. I don't know who at kfor saw my story and decided to run it, but whoever it was THANK YOU!!  If you haven seen it, I shared it on my Facebook. That story that kfor ran totally explains the increased activity my Facebook page has received in the past couple weeks.

I have received a lot of messages from people with information they may think is helpful.  I have followed all leads. I also consider all suggestions. A man shared a story about how he used DNA to help him find his biological family. I am going to try it. I already have my DNA test from Ancestry. I am going to do the 23andme and familytreeDNA test. Once I have all the results I am going to take them to a genetic genealogist. If it doesn't help me find my family I will least learn a lot of stuff about myself.

Thank you for all the messages the past couple of weeks. I love when people share their stories good and bad. They give me hope, but also warn me to proceed with caution. Your prayers are defiantly felt. The Bible says in Matthew 18:19 "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." Thank you for agreeing with me. God's timing is never to late, its always right on time!!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Because of YOU the search keeps going

I am beyond blessed to have such special people whom I don't even know helping me in my search. Let me explain what I mean-
After my story aired on Channel 6 in Tulsa nothing happened. My blog got fewer and fewer hits. My story wasn't being shared on Facebook anymore. I wasn't getting any new friend requests. I never heard from Troy Dunn. No new matches on Ancestry.  Just like every other time I have searched, all leads just stopped.
I had two choices. I could keep going. I could keep asking people to share my story. Honestly, I didn't want to ask again. I didn't want to impose on people. Most of my friends had shared my story and some multiple times. My other choice was to stop. Not give up, please understand I will never give up. Just stop and trust in God. I always say that this will happen in God's timing. In Psalms it says" God wrote the story of our lives before we ever came to be." So I made the choice to stop and trust that God is in control.
This was easier than I thought. It was summer and my girls were home. We had an amazing summer. We traveled and spent a lot of time together this summer. I even got a huge unexpected opportunity that could turn into a major blessing for me and my family. (that is a whole other story) I stayed blessed and busy, so it was easy to keep my mind off my search.
I didn't  check Maybelle's Facebook very much through the summer. A couple of weeks ago I started getting emails that I had friend request. So I accepted them through the email. This past week I noticed that my story was being shared. I had 70 friend request this week. I am not sure how many times my story has been shared since I still haven't actually logged into Facebook.
Then yesterday something amazing happened. I got an email that was a message someone sent me on Facebook. I started to read it and I was in complete shock. The message was from a reporter from the Tulsa World. He said he and his editor were intrigued with my Facebook and blog. He asked if I would  do an interview. My excitement shocked me. I was more excited about this than I remember being excited any other time someone wanted to do my story. I called him immediately.
After I talked with him I realized how awesome this is. Other times people wanted to do my story it was because someone I knew had contacted the reporter. This time I have no idea how this reporter heard about me. Did he see my story on TV? Did he stumble upon my blog or did someone I don't even know share my story and he saw it? I am going to ask him, but I am guessing God lead someone to share my story and this reporter saw it.
I have defiantly had my griefs with social media. Often times I have just wanted to delete it all and throw away my smart phone. Sharing my story on Facebook has had its ups and downs. I have learned that there are mean crazy people in this world. But I have also learned that there are caring and loving people in this world too. These extraordinary people have blessed me so much.
 For most of my life I have felt so alone in this search. I knew I had the amazing support of my husband and children. They understand how I feel better than anyone else can. My husband lifts me up when I feel like I can't go on. Having their support has been amazing. But I always knew that we couldn't do it alone.
Everyone who has shared my story on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube have blessed me more than you can ever know. I don't feel so alone in this search anymore. Some people classify themselves as search angels, but to me every single person who has shared my story, read my blog, and messaged me your support and encouragement,  are all my search angels. When I had stopped you kept going. When my thoughts and emotions had to rest, you didn't stop. And now because of you I am getting my story shared in the Tulsa World! I am so thankful to all of you!!
I want to share one more thing with you. I think I have blogged before about a book I remember my brother reading me when I was little. It was called "Why was I adopted?" I loved that book and the time that was shared reading it to me. I never knew what happened to that book after I got married. I looked it up on amazon this summer.
                                                 
I bought it! I was like a little kid again when  I received it! I sat down and read it to my husband. lol 

Sometimes it is the little things you do in life like reading a book from your childhood that can bring the most joy. My search angels have brought me so much joy by doing a little thing like sharing my story!

Now I am going to log onto Facebook and share this blog with my amazing friends and see what God has in store. Thank you in advance to everyone who shares this. I notice every share and I read every comment and message you send me. Your words of encouragement mean so much. I know someday someone is going to share my story and my biological family will see it!! It's all in God's timing!