More to love as woman finds birth mother, extended family

Published: Apr. 17, 2015 at 7:03 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2016 at 5:51 PM CDT
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DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Some adoptees spend their whole lives searching in vain for their biological parents.

However, this story of search ends happily - and with twice the love there was before.

Laura Weatherspoon Panel knew she was adopted thanks to open, honest parents.

"They always said that I was a lucky child because not only did I have them as parents, but somewhere out there I had another Mommy and another Daddy," Panel said.

Through the years, she wondered things many adoptive children do, such as 'Who do I look like?' As an adult, she went through the Alabama Department of Public Health to get her original birth record.

She typed the name she found into Facebook often. "And on Jan. 19 of this year, I typed her name and a new one popped up," Panel said.

After her husband made the initial call, Laura communicated with her biological mom for several days via Facebook. She also talked with her newfound sister.

In addition to her adoptive brother, she now has a half sister and two half brothers. After a couple of months, the biological mom garnered the courage to come see the baby girl she'd given up so long ago.

"When she hugged my oldest son, who is 17, later on he told me, 'Mom, Nana Sue is the best chiropractor in the world' - she hugged him that tight, she popped his back," laughed Panel.

The woman Laura considers her mom died eight years ago with breast cancer. She says her mother always wanted her daughter to find the answers swelling inside.

"I drove out to the cemetery and just got on my knees beside her grave and said 'I found her.'"

She says her dad is happy for his daughter, however a little hesitant himself. Laura is happy for her sons.

"Eight years ago they lost their Nana. Jan. 19, they gained a Nana Sue," she said.

Laura's biological dad died of a heart attack in 2009. She has advice for others also searching. "Go for it. Just be very leary about it. Take baby steps."

If you walk into Laura's store and you buy something, and she checks you out, you'll notice on the other side of the computer a sticker that says 'Believe.'

She says it's that belief that helped her along this journey, which yielded family heritage and love.

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