Growing up in Medora, Missy Miser Robinson was provided a good life by her adoptive parents.
She said Randy and Sandy Miser raised her well, and their family accepted Missy as their own.
But there was still a void. A lot of questions swirled through Robinson’s mind about her birth parents — Who are they? Where are they? Do I have siblings?
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In February 2016, Robinson heard about Indiana adoption records prior to Jan. 1, 1994, possibly being open for the first time.
The next month, Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Bill 91 into law, allowing adoptees access to their birth records, history and other personal documents, but that wouldn’t begin until July 1, 2018. The only way they won’t be accessible is if a birth parent files a contact preference form with the Indiana State Department of Health.
In the past, Robinson had considered ordering a DNA kit, and she had posted a couple of times on her Facebook page about her desire to find her birth parents.
Then in late April 2016, she decided to try a public Facebook post, including her story, a baby picture, a picture with her adoptive parents and a current photo of herself.
Within a few days, the post had more than 1,000 shares, and she started receiving Facebook messages and comments from people, many she didn’t even know.
After six weeks, an anonymous person told her friend, Donna Lucas, she knew about Robinson’s birth family.
She found out her birth parents were Becky Reynolds and Ron Hercamp, and they both lived 20 miles away in Seymour.
“Without this woman finding it in her heart to give me the missing pieces to my life story, I would most likely not be sharing my story,” Robinson said.
“I would love to find out who she was so I could thank her in person for making this reunion with my family possible,” she said. “Her and Donna Lucas were the keys to fitting the last piece of my puzzle as well as the love and acceptance of my newfound birth family. They filled the void that was always in my heart, and I no longer have to wonder who I am or where did I come from.”
Once Robinson met her birth parents together, she discovered she had a sister and five half siblings. Then that led to many other relatives.
friendIn the past year, she has become really close with her sister, Rhonda Sage, and the family has spent several holidays and birthdays together.
“It’s all good now. It has just been awesome ever since,” Robinson said. “A lot of reunions turn out really, really ugly and bad and wish they would have never found their parents. I’m almost a year into it, and so far, so good.
“It’s just so weird how it all fell into place without any DNA, any court records, and everybody was here,” she said. “I went from being an only child to having six siblings and a mom and dad that are still living.”
Four days after she was born Sept. 25, 1967, Robinson was given up for adoption. To this day, she still doesn’t know why that happened.
It wasn’t until she was 7 when she was old enough to understand she was adopted.
“From 7 years on until I found (her birth parents) a year ago, I was scanning the crowd — there’s a redhead, there’s somebody with freckles, I wonder if that could be my family,” she said. “You would see a lady and think, ‘What if that could be my mom?’”
She said she was fortunate to have the Misers in her life. Randy was a longtime owner of a market in Medora, and Sandy worked at the bank in town when she wasn’t working at the market.
“Nobody in that family ever said I was the adopted one. I was just family,” Robinson said. “They were wonderful parents. I didn’t really have to want for anything.”
Sandy died of a brain aneurysm in 2001, and Randy died of a pulmonary embolism in 2013.
After they were gone, Robinson’s thoughts of her birth parents still lingered. She would see the stories on television or the internet about people finding their long-lost families and wish that was her.
Then that one Facebook post and ensuing message changed her life.She and her friend sent several messages back and forth trying to put all of the pieces together so she could meet her birth parents.
“It was a lot of sitting on pins and needles, stalking your phone every 10 minutes, it seemed like,” she said.
The day before Mother’s Day, her friend put her in touch with someone who knew her birth mother.
“I thought, ‘How do I contact somebody that doesn’t know me from Adam, and I don’t know them?’” Robinson said.
She decided to call the day after Mother’s Day after she got off from work at Covered Bridge Health Campus in Seymour. She learned one of her co-workers is good friends with and goes to the same church as the person she was going to be calling.
The time came to make the call, and the woman answered. She asked several questions and wanted to see Robinson’s baby picture and current picture. She then wanted to meet Robinson in person, so the woman and her husband came by Covered Bridge.
After talking for 10 minutes, the woman and her husband looked at each other and realized Robinson had to be Reynolds’ daughter.
“She said, ‘You’re a young Becky.’ She said, ‘You act like her. You look like her when she was younger,’” Robinson said. “Then she told me who my dad was.”
Robinson received her father’s phone number, but she was nervous about calling him. She had become friends with Pam Kroskie with the Indiana Adoptee Network, so she sought her advice. Kroskie told Robinson to write down what she wanted to say.
Making the call
Robinson did that and then made the call. She introduced herself and asked about his relationship with Reynolds.“I said, ‘I’m about 100 percent sure that I’m your daughter that you guys gave up for adoption,’” Robinson said. “He said, ‘I always wondered what happened to that baby.’ We talked for about 30 minutes. I was kind of an emotional wreck and tried to pull it together.”
Hercamp provided Reynolds’ phone number to Robinson, but before Robinson could call her mother, Hercamp had called to tell Reynolds about their conversation.
About five days later, Reynolds sent Robinson a message on Facebook and said she wanted to meet. First, they arranged a time to talk over the phone. That conversation lasted about an hour and a half.
“A lot of tears. We cried a lot, and she apologized a lot and said not a day went by that she didn’t think about me,” Robinson said. “Never any anger. I was never mad. I just wanted to know my heritage, where did I come from. I wanted to know why.”
the first time
Robinson met her birth parents in person for the first time June 11, 2016, at Poplar Street Restaurant in Seymour. They ended up being there for three hours.“You walk in, and you’re scared to death — ‘Are they going to like me? Am I going to like them?’” Robinson said. “But then once I sat down and started talking, it was like I had known them my whole life.”
One of Robinson’s former co-workers came in during that time and took a picture of her and her birth parents, and one of the waitresses overheard them talking and was fascinated by the story.
Besides not knowing who her birth parents were, Robinson said her biggest regret was not getting to grow up with her sister. Rhonda was 2 at the time Robinson was given up for adoption.
Robinson had looked Sage up on Facebook and finally decided to send her a friend request.
“I immediately accepted it, and then it just started from there,” Sage said. “Once we talked and we got around each other, we’ve been great ever since.”
Robinson said they had an instant bond.“We are two peas in a pod. We are so alike,” she said. “I know if I had any issues, I could call her up. That’s what big sisters are for. I always wanted that so bad.”
Sage said finding out about Robinson wasn’t necessarily a surprise. A few months before her grandfather died in 1996, they were talking and he mentioned another child born into the family.
Because he suffered from dementia, Sage said she didn’t know how to take it, and she never told anyone about that discussion.
Then one day last year, her mother called and wanted her to come over to talk about something. When Sage got to her house, her mother was acting nervous.
Reynolds then shared the story about giving a baby up for adoption. That’s when Sage told her about the talk with her grandfather, and her mother was in disbelief.
“She just looked at me and said, ‘You never told me about that,’ and I said, ‘I didn’t know if it was true,’” Sage said. “I wasn’t mad. I was shocked, yes, that this actually was true, shocked that I don’t remember it, but I was under 2 years old when she was pregnant with (Robinson).”
Sage has a half brother and a half sister from her mother’s first marriage, but she didn’t grow up around them, so she considered herself an only child. But in recent years, they have all become close.
Robinson has met all but one of her half siblings in person. She hasn’t met the half brother who lives in Los Angeles.
Members of the Miser family who knew Robinson was looking for her birth parents also have been supportive through it all.
“They knew how much it meant to me to find my family, especially since (her adoptive) Mom and Dad were both gone,” she said.
Robinson said she keeps in touch with her birth parents and remains close to her sister.
It turns out that she and Sage had several mutual friends, but they never crossed paths all of these years. Now, they have quite the story to share with their friends.
For other adoptees interested in finding their birth parents, Robinson said they shouldn’t give up.
She recently helped a co-worker, who also was adopted, find her birth parents. That woman also met her six siblings and has developed a close relationship with them.
“I would have never dreamed this in a million years for it to end like it did,” she said of her own story. “I love my Miser family, and I will always be a Miser. That was my family, those were my parents, they raised me, but I have another family, I have an extended family now and I call Becky my mom. I think my adoptive mom, Sandy, would be fine with that. I wish they could have been here to meet my family.”
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For information about Indiana Senate Bill 91, visit iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/senate/91.
For information about the Indiana Adoptee Network, visit indianaadopteenetwork.org.