Over winter break, senior Makayla Wagner met with her birth mother and sister for the first time since being adopted by Heather and Jack Wagner in 2002.
“We adopted Makayla on the very first national adoption day that Shawnee County observed,” Heather Wagner said, “that was October 18, 2006.”
Prior to contacting her birth mother, Makayla knew relatively little about her birth family. “I didn’t know a lot, not a lot at all,” she said. “I was very young.” Makayla even had doubts about ever getting in contact with them. “I didn’t think that they wanted to talk to me or that they didn’t even want to meet at all.”
In order to meet or contact her birth mother, Makayla had to be eighteen. “When we adopted the kids we told them that when they turned eighteen, if they wanted to find their birth families we would help them do that,” Heather said. Makayla came to her mother shortly after her birthday in October and said that she wanted to find her birth mom. “I asked her how she wanted to proceed,” Heather said. Makayla wanted to talk to her grandmother, who was her foster parent prior to being adopted.
“We went up and we started talking to my mom. Makayla had some questions, they were answered, and then we actually found their family on Facebook,” Heather said. Makayla then corresponded with her birth mother for the first time since being adopted.
Makayla’s fears soon turned into excitement after reaching out for the first time. “Me and my grandma and my mom reached out to her,” she said, “She told me she was really excited because we hadn’t talked in years, but she was kind of nervous.”
Heather said she was excited for Makayla. “I have been totally OK with both of my kids finding their birth families. If they want to find them great, if they don’t that’s fine too,” Heather said. “I have had the opportunity and been blessed to raise them and keep them alive.”
When details were finalized, Wagner, accompanied by her mother, met with her birth mother and sister. “I was kind of nervous to meet them but also happy,” Makayla said.
“It went well, we laughed a lot.” “My favorite part was hanging out with my sister and going to Chuck E. Cheese’s.”
Heather said meeting them was a wonderful experience. “We laughed, we cried, I finally for the first time got to see how Makayla was made up.” Heather Wagner said she can see many similarities between Wagner and her birth family. “It’s just been a wonderful experience for us.”
“It has created a whole new world for Makayla,” Heather said. Makayla is often excited, but still gets a little nervous, but has learned so much. “When you are adopted there’s a lot of unknowns, like family history but by meeting them she has had the opportunity to learn.”
Makayla plans to stay in contact with her birth family as they are planning to moving to Kansas City. She hopes to make many new memories and learn more about her family history.
“If you ever have the opportunity to adopt a child, I think that is one of the best ways if you can’t have children of your own to become a parent,” Heather said. “They deserve forever families, just like you have yours and I have mine.”
— Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_