Interviewed on Ozark

Sharon Interview(Springfield, MO) — A surprising revelation by Oprah Winfrey shined the spotlight on adoption. On her show, Oprah announced she'd reunited with her half sister who their mother gave up for adoption.

Two local women who share an adoption journey have turned it into a support group. Their stories are different, but they're united in the emotions of those experiences.

They are using their knowledge to help others in the journey of finding their biological parents or children. Hearing Oprah's announcement, Sharon Fieker Cummins and Judy Mills knew they would forever be connected to the icon.

"Oprah talked about her mom going through the shame and Patricia, her half sister, talked about not wanting to hurt Oprah," says Cummins.

Sharon Cummins was 21 when she gave her child up for adoption in 1969. It wasn't until 16 years ago that she finally reunited with her daughter, Lori Smith.

"We never discussed, and all of 25 years of grief all came pouring out," she says. Since then they've shared a wedding, grandchildren, even their story in the book titled "I Choose This Day: Mournings and Miracles of Adoption."

"It's such a roller coaster ride," says Cummins.

Judy Mill is riding the other end. She was given up for adoption when she was 18 days old. Eight years ago she found her siblings, but unfortunately her birth mother had passed.

"There are missing pieces out there and I think we, as adoptees, need to have access to that information," says Mills. To help others put those pieces together, the two started Adoption Triad of the Ozarks. It's a support group for those in the same circumstance.

"We've both been reunited, so we've got the entire process worked out," says Mills.

They'll even help people search for their loved ones. Filing in the holes, even those like Oprah never knew they had, in order to mold the past with the present. Missouri's adoption records are closed, and both women say that creates a struggle when trying to reconnect. They're working to change that.

The support group meets on the third Monday of every month in Room PDR2 at Mercy Hospital, 1235 E Cherokee, Springfield, MO, at 6:30 pm.


Best of the Year


From Tate Publishing

Published by Tate Publishing