Pictured: Earline Jenkins (right) poses with daughter Helena Lounsberry (left) and Michelle Longtime (center), the latter of which she had not known until November of last year.
Las Vegas resident Michelle Longtime grew up without knowing her birth family.
“I always knew I was adopted,” she admitted. “My adopted parents had just always told me the story of how they got me and everything.”
However, all that changed when she decided to perform a DNA test in June of last year to find out more about her ancestry. In four weeks, she had the results, which led her to another adventure: finding her birth family.
Having been reunited with her own son three years ago who had been put up for adoption, Longtime was inspired by the reunion and decided to dig deeper than before to find her family.
“I thought I had hit dead ends and I was going to just be happy with nationalities and what was my bloodline,” Longtime said in regards to the difficulty of trying to acquire data in a closed adoption case. “But it went from there.”
Using her recently acquired DNA readings, Longtime found two sisters of her grandmother through Utah Adoptees on Facebook. The group was able, with some trial and error, to lead Longtime to her brother’s social media profile who then directed her to her sister, Helena.
Then came the news that Price resident Earline Jenkins never thought she would hear: her oldest daughter wanted to talk with her.
“I thought she was a boy,” Jenkins admitted. “For years, I thought there was a young man out there somewhere that was my son.”
Jenkins had given up her child for adoption at the demand of her parents when she was not quite 17. She obliged and declined the offer to learn the details of who had adopted her child.
Both Jenkins and Longtime had previously tried to locate each other in the 1970s with various organizations, but neither came to fruition until November of last year when Longtime found what she had been looking for.
“Then it was just a mad rush to get up here and see her,” Longtime said.
Longtime had visited with her mother over the New Year’s holiday, though a formal reunion took place over the weekend, with sister Helena Lounsberry coming from Washington to see the older sister she never knew.
Lounsberry recalls praying for her siblings and cousins throughout the years and always putting in “adopted” in the place where her sister now fills.
“I really feel like this is awesome that she’s found us,” Lounsberry stated. “We know her now.”
For Longtime, the reunion wasn’t just a miraculous event that involved laughter and a fair amount of tears, it also serves as a humbling beginning to a new chapter in her life.
“It’s crazy because my adopted family is all starting to die off, all of my aunts and uncles have passed except for one,” she stated. “My dad’s the only living, the only one left.”
“My dad says, ‘You know, it is so great that you found them because now you have this whole new big family,’” Longtime said as tears formed in her eyes. “He didn’t want to leave me alone. It has answered a lot of prayers I think.”
For Jenkins and Longtime, the reunion has served as a breeding ground for the beautifully intimate relationship between mother and daughter.
For Lounsberry, the occasion has given her a new sister. Now, when she prays, she won’t have to fill in a blank space with “adopted.” She can pray for Michelle. She can pray for her sister.