A woman who was abandoned in a dumpster as a baby is searching for the person who saved her life.
In January 1983, Amanda Jo Jones’ birth parent wrapped her in a blanket and deposited her inside a dumpster near the Prado Business Mall in Atlanta, Georgia. A stranger (or strangers) rescued her, she went into foster care, and was adopted by a family who remain her parents today. Now, 36 years later, Jones is searching — not for her biological parents — but for her guardian angel.
“I want to thank whoever found me because they changed so many lives by being in the right place at the right time,” Jones tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
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Jones only knows scraps of her life story gleaned from old newspaper articles and the faint memories of her 68-year-old parents Kay and Wayne, who adopted her at three months old. “They were told ‘something about a dumpster,’” says Jones.
The couple raised Jones, and her adopted sister Stephanie, in Palmetto and never hid any childhood details.
“My mom read me a book called ‘The Adopted Family’ and she shared bits of information,” Jones tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I kept asking questions and by the time I was 6, I understood that my mom didn’t birth me.”
Because adoption records in Georgia are sealed, both to the public and the adoptee, Jones doesn’t know much about her birth. She could petition the county court to open the records, but she lives two hours away in Atlanta and dusting off files that weren’t stored electronically is difficult.
What we do know, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is that Jones was brought to Northside Hospital, where nurses named her “Jan Winter” for the birth month and the season. “Foundlings [abandoned babies] are called Jane Doe and often the staff wants to give them identities,” explains Jones.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, two women oversaw Jones’ case: Sandra Milholin at the Fulton County Department of Family and Children Services and detective Joyce Vaughan of the Fulton County Police Department, whose LinkedIn profile states she is retired.
Paying $35 for a letter from The Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry provided Jones with non-identifying information. One week after birth, Jones was fostered by a family until the age of three months, during which they allegedly named her Crystal Alicia Fairchild.
Then Wayne and Kay did a “pseudo-adoption,” first fostering Jones, then adopting her after her first birthday. They re-named their child Amanda Jo.
Jones and her husband of five years are happy parents of a son, 9, daughter, 3, and son, 10 months old. But a June news story rocked her life: The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office in Georgia discovered a bloody newborn with her umbilical cord attached to her body, wrapped in a plastic bag in the woods.
“I saw that baby on TV and wished I could adopt her,” Jones tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “One less child would grow up feeling abandoned.”
In March, Jones paid for two DNA tests and hired a “Search Angel” to learn the identities of her birth parents, an uncle, a great aunt, and many second and third cousins.
Reconnecting with her biological parents hasn’t been helpful. “I still forgive them and hope some day that they reach out to me and heal from all the secrets and pain,” Jones tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I cannot imagine how carrying a 36-year-old big secret affects someone mentally and physically.”
The greater goal is finding Jones’ rescuers. Recently, she made a poster that read, “I am trying to find the person/people who potentially saved my life...if you have any info, please contact me at email@example.com.” Jones posted it on Facebook hoping people would email with any tips.
“I would like a first-hand account of what happened because it would brighten my life,” Jones tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I’m hoping one person reads this and says, ‘Oh my gosh, there she is!’”
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