"Anyone that can carry a baby for nine months, realize that for any reason you can't provide for that baby and give it to someone. Who can imagine that pain?" asks Shelly Steinmetz.
For 26 years, Shelly has wondered who her birth mother is. Years of not knowing have been heartbreaking even though she says her adopted
family raised her lovingly.
Shelly, like thousands of adopted children born in Ohio from 1964 to 1996 were not allowed access to their birth certificates until this past March.
Shelly filled out the paperwork, waited several weeks, and what she longed to learn for years was finally revealed.
"I fell to the ground and started crying because it was so overwhelming. It was like my whole past was bottled up for 26 years and it just opened," Shelly says as she wipes away a tear.
Shelly learned who her birth mother is, and that she named her "Kayla."
With the information on her birth certificate, she was able to go online and find out where her mother lives and even see her mother's picture.
"I was able to see what she looked like. I couldn't believe how much she looked like me. It was like seeing yourself or seeing a part of yourself."
Shelly says it was like a part of yourself that now is beginning to feel whole.
Two pieces of paper answer some questions she once thought she might never know.
"I'm so thankful from the bottom of my heart that she chose life for me, and every day of my life is a gift from her. I just want to tell her that. I just want her to know."
Shelly also learned that she is of Swedish descent and has several siblings. She says she's not sure if or how she will reach out to her birth mother.
She just wants to take it slowly.
If you would like more information on how to access Ohio's application for adoption files, click here.