Totally by chance, but very fortunately, I turned out to be able to also convey to Christina some very news.
During my last stay in Georgia, October-November 2019, I had managed to visit her in prison “through a back door”. Indicative for the rickety workings of the overcrowded but under-funded prison system – which turned out to be favorable in this case – is that after returning to Atlanta I found a message from the PR department of the Department of Corrections: being a ‘member of the media’ I was not allowed to visit her.
Anyway, during that conversation Christina casually gave me her birth name, Davis. When she was ten months old, she was abandoned and consequently adopted, and she told me that if she would ever be released, she would start searching for biological family. Her relationship with the rest of the adoptive family had always been bad, and since Amber’s death she no longer had anyone she considered part of her family.
Recently I did an internet search, without many expectations. But to my amazement, I found this post: Michele A *** is looking for her biological sister. The adoptee was born in Ohio in 1969 on October 20th. She was born Tina Marie Davis in Columbus, Ohio, to 21-year-old birthmother Barbara Jean Parker (maiden name Davis).”That information was very similar to what I knew about Christina! Further research yielded, among other things, an address and a few telephone numbers, and finally fellow supporter Susan also found a Facebook page. One glance at the profile photo was enough to see: this had to be a (half-) sister of Christina!
Michele responded to our Facebook message and within one hour after I received the news of Christina’s parole denial, I was on the phone with Michele. It was a very emotional conversation: she had been looking for her sister for years. Michele, too, appeared to live a difficult life: her – and Christina’s – mother had been a heroin addict and had since passed away; Michele herself was born a heroin baby, had struggled with addiction all her life and had also spent time in jail. She craved for contact with her sister and shortly afterwards I heard that her children are also very shocked, that they embrace Christina and want to help her in every way possible.
You can imagine how emotional the phone call was in which I informed Christina of both the rejection (which she will receive by snail mail later) and the discovery of her sister and the rest of her family. She was astonished and deeply saddened and very happy at the same time. Unbelievably, precisely on Christmas day, the sisters had their first phone call ever. To be continued …
In March, Dutch national radio will broadcast a podcast about Christina and my activities for her, made by Katinka Baehr, who has been ‘following’ me for almost a year now.