Idaho StoryCorps: An Adopted Daughter Finds Her Biological Mother

Jul 24, 2013

Charmagne and Sherry meet for the very first time. This picture was taken in the kitchen in Sherry’s house. Charmagne says the house they live in is very similar to the house she created in her head as a little girl.
Credit Charmagne Westcott

Each year, thousands of children are adopted into new families.  When those children grow up, some seek out their biological parents.  That’s what Charmagne Westcott did when she hired a private detective to try and find her birth mother. She sat down in the StoryCorps booth in Boise to remember how she found her biological mother, Sherry Jurd.

“It was frustrating,” said Westcott.  “The records are sealed when you’re adopted so I didn’t have any information.  I was eventually able to find out my birth name. So when I hired a private detective, that’s how she found you, through the birth name.  It was two weeks after I had hired her, because she had called me at work and told me that she had found you.” 

Westcott remembers driving home from work that day. "It was the longest drive and I was bawling my eyes out the whole way home because this was a turning point in my life. I didn’t have a good relationship with adopted mother. She never told me I was adopted and she wouldn’t have.  I found out through somebody else and she denied it.  We just never had a connection growing up and I had always fantasized about having a different family and I’d always been jealous of my friends that had mothers they could go to and talk to because that’s not something that I ever had.

Charmagne as a toddler.
Credit Charmagne Westcott

"I had no idea of what you would be like.  I had no guarantee of what you would be like.  I had some expectations of what you be like and it made logical sense to me that you would be like me because I was nothing like my adopted parents.”

“When you got home that day from work, what happened?” asked Jurd.

“I called you,” said Westcott.  “And you said hello.  And I said hello.  Do you remember that?  And we have the same voice.”

“And we both started crying.”

“That’s all we did was say hello,” said Westcott.  “I think people who grow up close to their mothers maybe don’t understand what it’s like to hear that.”

“And don’t appreciate it like we do, so in that way we’re blessed,” said Jurd.

“But you know what?” asked Westcott.  “Sometimes I think what would it have been like if I had stayed with you.  And I’m pretty sure I would be taking you for granted right now.  And I will never, ever take you for granted.  Mom, you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me and you have no idea.”

“We’re so happy you’re finally a part of our family,” said Jurd, “and the whole family loves you.”

Charmagne Westcott and her birth mother Sherry Jurd.
Credit Charmagne Westcott

“I know,” said Westcott.  “I love you, mom.”

“I love you too sweetie.”

Charmagne Westcott and her biological mother Sherry Jurd have been close ever since they met at Jurd’s home in Baker City, Oregon 15 years ago.  Since then, Westcott has moved from California to Boise to be closer to her mom.  They get together often to go thrift shopping, watch movies, and eat Indian food and sushi.

StoryCorps is a national initiative to record and collect stories of everyday people. Excerpts were selected and produced by Boise State Public Radio. 

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio