Did anyone in Michelle’s life know she was adopted?
Yes, virtually everyone in Michelle’s adoptive family knew she was adopted. Even the adoptive parents’ friends, neighbors, and coworkers knew the truth. Virtually anyone who was in their life around the time of the adoption knew the truth, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated to them due to the fact that there was no pregnancy. Even as recently as 2015, Michelle’s adoptive father continued to share Michelle’s adoption status with new individuals. The only person who was never told was Michelle.
What is Michelle’s relationship with her adoptive parents now?
Michelle no longer has a relationship with her adoptive father. Her adoptive mother died in 2010–almost 8 years prior to her adoption discovery. In January 2018, Michelle made the decision to permanently cease all contact with her adoptive father. This was primarily due to decades of lies and manipulation at the hands of her adoptive parents, but also due to abuse by her alcoholic adoptive mother and the failure of her adoptive father to intervene. Following her 2017 discovery, her adoptive father’s unwillingness to be wholly transparent and fully accountable was the final straw. Michelle’s resilience and ability to bounce back from such an extreme personal trauma is a testament to the power of genetics and the love and support of her family and friends.
Are you writing a book about your story? Is there going to be a movie?
Michelle is writing a book about her adoption experience; however, despite great interest, plans for the book are currently on hold. Michelle has found that writing about her past is still too raw and she needs more time to heal and process everything that has occurred over the past few years. But a book will happen!
Are Michelle and Christina different people?
Michelle and Christina are the same person. At birth, she was named Michelle Lynn Riess by her parents. At some point very soon after her birth, the birth certificate application was altered (likely by Edward Kent or someone working with him) and all of the information Hollie wrote on the form was illegally altered. Michelle was then stripped of her name and identity and referred to as only “Baby Gray.” The adoptive parents later assigned her the name ‘Christina.’ Michelle no longer feels comfortable using the name Christina and is in the process of legally changing back to her birth name.
Where can I read the newspaper articles about the adoption case?
You can read the newspaper articles about Michelle’s adoption case here. We are always on the lookout for “new” articles about the court case and will add them to this page as we find them in the archives.
What made Michelle and Jamie decide to take a DNA test?
Curiosity about ethnic background was the main reason both Michelle and Jamie took DNA tests. Michelle also had the added interest of finding information about her (adoptive) maternal grandmother’s unknown family origins because her adoptive parents had always told her this was the branch of their family that she resembled. This was a lie they repeatedly used to mislead Michelle about her lack of family resemblance and to control their narrative.
Sometimes I think I could be adopted. How can I find out if I’m adopted?
If you think you could possibly be adopted, we recommend asking your parents or other family members direct questions regarding your adoption status. Everyone is entitled to the truth about their own genetic origins if they wish to know. Keep in mind that not everyone will provide you with honest answers or complete information. Also, look at your birth certificate. If you were born in the United States, there should be a line that says “date amended” with a date listed–usually a date that is different that your birthdate. If your birth certificate is amended, unfortunately, this is a major red flag. Though there can be other explanations for an amended birth certificate (ex. name change, original birth certificate had an error, etc.) more often this indicates a person is adopted. We recommend reading this post about some of the red flags in Michelle’s life prior to her adoption discovery.
Are you anti-adoption?
We are not against all adoption, though we believe the vast majority of newborn adoptions should no longer occur. Very briefly, we recognize that there will always be a need for adoption in the US in some capacity. However, we strongly support family preservation and taking steps to help biological families keep their children instead of strangers holding fundraisers and campaigns to help finance the adoption. Children belong with their biological families regardless of their financial status, school district, family background, education, employment, etc. Having more money, a more stable home environment or more family support does not make someone a better parent for a child than a biological family member. The belief that having more money somehow makes a person more entitled to raise another person’s child is disturbing and dangerous. We do recognize that it is not always possible to place a child with a suitable biological family member, but we believe this should always be a first step–not adoption. Obviously in situations where there is abuse, neglect, violence or other dangerous situations, adoption may become necessary. Before you decide to adopt a baby or place a baby for adoption, please read more about the realities of newborn adoption from the voices of adult adoptees and biological families. It is so critically important to educate yourself about the realities of adoption–not just the beautiful stories that are often shared on social media by those who have most benefited from adoption (ex. adoption agencies, adoptive parents, religious organizations, etc.) Check out hashtags on social media such as #adopteevoices and #adopteerights for additional perspectives on adoption.
I think my adoption was also arranged by Edward Kent. Can we talk?
If you are adopted or are a biological parent/family, and believe your adoption was arranged by attorney Edward Kent (Willingboro, NJ) we would love to speak with you about your experiences. If you were a patient of Dr. Singer, we’d love to hear from you as well. Please contact us so we can talk.
Where can I listen to interviews you’ve done about your story?
You can hear some of our interviews here. More to come!