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Abandoned On Doorstep Over 50 Years Ago, Woman Reunited With Clark County Family
By Kevin Fox
There is no denying that the holidays are more about family then they are about something on sale or cranberry sauce. And there is also no denying that some families find loved ones separated by many issues, such as employment or deployment. But imagine, if you can, finding out that you have family that you never knew about. Or imagine, also if you can, that you are adopted and searching for your biological family and finally finding them. So now you know what this story is about, an individual looking for her family and a family trying to find out if they have family out there…somewhere that was only rumored to exist.
Angela (Fowler) McKannan of St. Francisville begins the story. My grandmother was Maxine Fowler and you really have to know her to fully understand this story, but I will tell you that there were certain things, which she simply would not talk about. A few years before my father (John Fowler) passed away, he told us that he had over heard grandma and her sister Marg (Margaret) talking one day. And Aunt Marg had said to her, “Now Max, you just cannot give away a baby!” This would come up in conversation with dad, but never around grandma. So we really didn’t know what to do with that knowledge and to be honest there were times when we didn’t put a whole lot of stock in the story. But then we saw a caption in The Media’s “Early Files” and it read,“ A baby girl believed to be about 24 hours old was abandoned on the door step of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Mitchell of Alexandria Sunday. The baby is hospitalized and is in satisfactory condition.”
That was in the 50-year news.
Grandpa and grandma lived right next door to the Mitchells. We remembered what dad had said. But this came out after he had passed away. So we started to think about ways to find out more about this baby that had been left on the doorstep. A year or so ago my sister was in town and talking to a lawyer and asked about adoption records. He stated that those records would be sealed, but he encouraged us to look on the Internet. And that’s where it all started. We just typed in “Baby left on a doorstep
in Clark County Missouri” and right there it was. So I went to the Sever Library and on microfilm I found the actual article from the Media from November of 1959.
From there we proceeded to the Internet again and went to adoption.com. There was an anonymous ad concerning the date of November 7, 1959. It also read, “ I was abandoned on a doorstep in Clark County Missouri and I am desperately looking for my biological family, signed, “A”. We went further into adoption.com and found another ad where Angie Birdsong (her name at that time) and I am looking for my biological family.
Once we found out her last name we went to mylife.com and found her. But at this point we do not have a picture, but it made sense to us so we (Angela, Janet (Fowler) Cantonwine, Joyce Fowler, and Deb Fowler) talked it over. We went on Facebook and Deb found Angie and sent her a friend request. Once you are approved you can send a message. Deb’s message was explaining who she was and a phone number. Angie called her immediately.
Deb called us up and said, “We have found our Aunt”. There is no doubt that she was the baby that was left on the doorstep. We actually met her face to face along with her adoptive parents on July 10, 2010, at Denny’s in Wayland. There was no doubt that she was family and there were a lot of tears and hugs. She doesn’t look so much like us, but she is a dead ringer for grandma. After our meeting we took her to Alexandria to show her where she had been born and where she had been left.
We have no idea why grandma or grandpa gave her up or even if grandpa knew. We do however have no doubt she belonged to grandpa and grandma. Angie is 14 years younger than grandma’s youngest son Uncle Don, who was also born on November 7. There are just some questions that will never be answered and none of us know the circumstances. But we are sure that they had their reasons.
We have become very close via Facebook and we went to Texas to see her where she was living at that time. And we have also seen her in southern, Missouri since she has moved back. But there is no denying that we are family. We just always felt like there was someone out there. I wished that dad could have lived long enough to meet her, as he would have loved her just as much as we do. Angie has met her sister Dorothy and they get along great. But it’s impossible not to love her as she is just one of the Good Ole Boy Girls who does it all such as shooting and raising dogs. But we are very proud of her and ourselves for finding out the truth. It’s also sad that grandma wouldn’t acknowledge her, but as I said previously she had her reasons. But we are just thrilled to have Angie in our lives!
Via a phone interview Angie shared her story. “First of all I think that it’s very important that adopted children be allowed to find out who are their biological parents are. And it’s also as if you are a second-class citizen when you try and make that attempt. But I was lucky in that I was always told that I had been adopted and that I had come from Clark County. Now the part of the story I had been told that was in error was that I had been left on a doorstep in Kahoka, when in fact it had been Alexandria. I also knew that after I was left on the doorstep that I was taken to the Graham Hospital, but since it has closed there is no way to find the records there. From the hospital, I went to Kahoka where I lived with a Kirchner family while the court decided what to do with me. (According to Angel, the Mitchells wanted to adopt Angie and she felt that the court felt it might be better if she was taken to another county) From the Kirchners, I went to a foster home in Kirksville, before being adopted and lived in Moberly. I love my adoptive parents, but as I got older and had children and wanted to know some family history as well as medical history. So I begin searching and I traveled to Kahoka and was sitting in a coffee shop and talking to folks. Someone told me that I looked a lot like Fowler and when I asked where the Fowlers were from I was told Alexandria. From there I went into the Media office and looked up where a baby had been left at a doorstep in Alexandria. I went back home and when I posted what I was looking for and was contacted by a family member of Alexandria Mayor Bob Davis and she said she would help me in my search as well as Bob. I met them and talked with them and found out about the Mitchells as well as the Fowlers and was told that Maxine Fowler lived in Wayland in a senior apartment. I drove to the apartments and found out which one was Maxine’s. I went to the door not knowing what to expect and after I knocked on it Maxine simply invited me in. I felt very strong at that time what everyone had told me about my resembling Maxine was true and I felt she was my mother, but kept that to myself. I told her my story about wanting to find my biological family and she listened without saying a thing. I also added my reasons for wanting to find out. Again she said nothing. Finally I just came out and said that quite a number of folks felt that I was a Fowler and that she was my mother. This she flatly denied. However the strange thing is that she shared with me some Fowler family history and some medical history. I felt that if we were not family why take the time to tell me all of this. I left thinking and pretty convinced that I had found my mother.
Some more time passed and unbeknownst to me the Fowler girls were looking for me. And then I got the text from Deb that day and called her back immediately. I cannot tell you how happy I am that we were united.”
An emotional Angie closed with, “The Fowler girls are beautiful and priceless. It is my blessing in life to have them!”