Jefferson City woman fights to find daughter she gave up for adoption

Jeannine Schaeffer in her at 16, just before she got pregnant.(Photo courtesy of Jeannine Schaeffer)

Every morning and every night Jeannine Schaefer is checking Facebook. She said she is hoping and praying a name she doesn't recognize shows up in her inbox.

Since December, she has been publicly searching for her daughter - a daughter she gave up for adoption more than 40 years ago.

In May 1975, Jeannine Stricker was 17 years old. She had just graduated from Jefferson City High School-- and expecting her first child.

She says she was excited.

"I had always wanted to be a mom and I was very happy to be pregnant," she said.

She wasn't met with that same excitement from family and friends. She recalls her boyfriend at the time and father of the child said he was not ready to be a dad. Her parents said she could not keep the baby.

"It was going to be on my own if I kept her," she said.

"We had family friends that had adopted a little girl when I was probably seven or eight years old, and I saw how much they wanted and need her. To put her up for adoption was very hard, but I knew that she would go to a family that really desperately wanted a child."

When she was in labor, she knew she was not keeping the baby. She said she was determined not to see her or hold her in the hospital for fear of not being able to follow through with the adoption.

One nurse though encouraged her, she would regret not spending a few moments with her first born.

"She just knew that I needed to do this," she said. "I sang songs, and I talked, and I played with her, and I talked to her and told her how much I loved her, and after that they just informed me that she had been adopted."

In her mind, telling no one but the baby, Schaefer named her daughter Christina Marie.

She has not seen her birth: May 31, 1975.

Jeannine ended up marrying her husband Pat Schaefer when they were 25. Together they have three daughters Michelle, Elaina and Ellie.

For years, Schaefer said, she never talked about the adoption. She couldn't - the pain was so fresh. However, about ten years ago, she opened up about it in a church group. She said she realized it was time to look.

Legally, the only way to reconnect with her daughter is if the woman, now 42, finds Schaefer.

At the end of 2017, Schaefer found out her daughter attempted to make contact with one of Schaefer's sisters. Her sister told her daughter that Schaefer wasn't interested.

"I was just crushed for her to think of how she might have felt unloved and unwanted twice in her life," she said.

Schaefer decided if her daughter is trying to find her, she wanted to do everything she could to be found.

A Facebook post detailing the birth of her daughter is circulating rapidly. Schaefer said she is just hoping the right person will see it.

As of January 2, 2018, people born and adopted after 1941 can obtain a copy of their original birth certificate through the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act. Schaefer said she hopes her daughter will go through that process.

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