Thinking about it, she realized that there wasn’t really anything she knew for certain about her childhood. She didn’t really have any solid memories nor did they share any stories about her origins and let her know about her early life and who she really was. All she was left with was a blank void.
But one day, this changed when her daughter handed her the milk carton from decades earlier. The second she looked down at it, she made the connection. There was no mistake, that was her. But how could this be? What had happened during her childhood?
For as long as Amanda Atkinson could remember, she had been living in Memphis, Tennessee. It was where she attended school, where she graduated from college, where she ran into her husband, and where they decided to raise their beautiful daughter, Katy.
But Amanda didn’t know if she was born in Memphis. Her story was unlike anyone else she knew, and she found this extremely frustrating.
Since the age of eighteen, Amanda had been aware that she was an adopted child. But now, she was 57 years old and she still didn’t know anything about her biological parents or why they decided to give her up for adoption.
But she couldn’t really complain about her foster parents, the Atkinsons. They made good money and they provided her with a loving home and family, they always made sure she had everything she needed while she was growing up. But just a few years ago, Amanda had a serious falling out with them.
When she finished high school, her foster parents tried to persuade her into staying with them until she finished her studies at college, but despite this, she still wanted to move out. Just before she did, they finally told her that she was adopted.
Amanda wasn’t shocked by this, she was relieved. Although she was grateful for the Atkinsons, she had never really felt any kind of connection with them, now she knew why. It was like she knew the truth all along, despite no one ever telling her. But there was one question that remained unanswered.
As soon as they told her the truth, Amanda asked the Atkinsons about her biological parents and the circumstances surrounding the adoption. But their answers only infuriated her.
They looked at each other before telling Amanda that they couldn’t answer her questions. They said that they could never tell her the truth. This angered Amanda. She couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t tell her. How could they withhold this information from her? After this, she made a drastic decision.
After this, she cut all contact with her adoptive parents. They tried to reach her many times, but eventually, they gave up. When she learned of their passing, she didn’t even attend the funerals.
For years following the incident, she spent her time digging for answers. She wanted to know about her origins. She visited every local orphanage, but no one had any trace of her on their registers. She did research at the library, but she found nothing. Eventually, she decided to give up. But shortly after this, she met someone who impacted her life hugely.
She met her now ex-husband, Eric, and they fell in love right away. At first, Eric was her prince charming. He was kind, attractive, and affectionate, and to make it even better, he provided Amanda with a sense of belonging. She finally met someone who felt like family to her.
But things changed shortly after they got married and she gave birth to their daughter, Katy. Just like that, Eric became possessive, undermining, and sometimes aggressive. Amanda’s entire world collapsed before her eyes when she saw his true colors. She didn’t think twice before making a choice.
She got a divorce. She was a bright woman, she knew that he was manipulating her and using her weaknesses to trap her in their relationship. It hurt to let go of someone that once felt like home, but she had Katy and she was her home now.
She shared a deep bond with her daughter. They shared everything. Katy knew about her mother’s history with her adoptive parents and she knew that she never got to know her biological ones. That was why Katy decided to start a project of her own.
She decided that she would do everything she could to find out what her mom’s true origins were. She tried everything Amanda had tried before, she went to the orphanages and she did her research at the library.
But she found nothing. But one day, Katy was wandering around a local history museum when she came across something that gave her the directions she needed in her search.
While she was walking through one of the expositions, she discovered a collection of old milk cartons with images of missing children printed on them. That was how they spread the word of missing children decades ago. It was the best way to raise public awareness at the time.
But as she looked at one of the milk cartons, she saw an image of her mother as a child. She had seen childhood photos of her mother before, and she was certain that she was staring at a picture of her mom. She asked permission to take the carton home and showed it to her mother.
Amanda couldn’t believe her eyes. That was really her, but with the name of “Amanda Jenkins”! But the most surprising thing was that, next to hers, there was also a picture of a kid, the same age as her and with the same surname: Andy Jenkins.
Was that her brother? Instantly, Amanda looked up that name on Facebook and searched for people her age in her area. Finally, she found someone. She messaged him and waited for a response.
The man replied shortly after. Then, Amanda told her about what her daughter had found, and asked him if, by any chance, he knew whether he had been a missing child or had been adopted.
Andy Jenkins kept typing and typing while Amanda waited anxiously. Finally, he sent a message of several paragraphs. What Amanda read there filled her with emotion, and when she was done, she couldn’t hold her tears.
Andy Jenkins was his brother. He was the kid in the milk carton and had also been adopted. But unlike Amanda, he had managed to get the true story from his adoptive parents. Their father used to be a worker in Mr. Atkinson’s, Amanda’s adoptive father, company.
However, he was known as a problematic man. On the other hand, his wife was the very image of patience and resignation. She stayed with him, enduring all his disrespect just to keep the family together. It was a different era, and Amanda’s biological mother thought it was her duty to put up with everything for her children’s sake. But one day, something terrible happened.
Amanda’s mother disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Mr. Atkinson knew everything about the family and the father’s problematic ways, and he was worried about what the children’s luck would be in the hands of that aggressive man.
But there was nothing he could do; at least, legally. So he arranged for them to be taken away from their father and, with the collaboration of one of the local orphanages, he set up a fake adoption process. He and his wife took Amanda, setting Andy up with a different family he felt could care for the kid better than his violent father.
Andy’s adoptive parents had told him all the truth; however, Mr. Atkinson felt conflicted about what he had done, wondering if it was really right to separate the children from their biological father and take justice into his own hands.
To some degree, he and his wife felt ashamed and guilty about what they did, which is why they could never bring themselves to admit the truth to Amanda. After she read all this, wiping off her tears, Amanda sat back. She had a lot to think about.
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