Thursday, December 18, 2014

Abandoned 42 years ago, man takes adoption search to social media: How you can help him find his birth family

We have decided to take our search to the next level, and we're doing that by attempting to spread the word further than ever with this photo that Bill posted on his Facebook page tonight. 

The message is a basic rundown of the story and reads as follows.

Abandoned at Birth: Please Help Me Find My Birth Family.
My name is Bill Atkinson. I was born June 6, 1972. I was found wrapped in a towel inside of a phone booth at 7-Eleven on Metropolitan Ave in Kansas City, KS

He posted the photo along with this message.

Friends, I need your help. As many of you know, I was abandoned at birth and found hours old in a telephone booth at 4039 Metropolitan Ave., Kansas City, KS. I was born at approximately 3 am on June 6, 1972. I was found at approximately 9 am the next morning. My wife Angie and I have been searching for years and after a recent DNA test, have located second, third and fourth cousins. My story has been covered by the Kansas City Star and the KC Times, among others, and my wife keeps a blog with our story at You can help by liking, sharing, tweeting, Instagramming and otherwise passing this post along. To my birth family, I have been blessed with a wonderful loving adoptive family and I don't want anything from you - just information and maybe the opportunity to meet. Thanks in advance for your help.

In case you aren't familiar with our story, here are a few quick links to get bring you up to speed. 

How you can help us find Bill's birth family

Can you help us find Bill's birth family? We are very excited to learn where he comes from. He has taken a DNA test and his results are available at

If you or someone you know knows anything about this case, please reach out to me at and let me know. If you don't know anything but you want to help, the best thing you can do for us is to talk about it. Share the photo on your social media profiles and ask your friends to do the same.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

KC Star Story from 2012: A Review

The following story was originally printed in the Kansas City Star. Since it's been removed from their site, I'm reprinting it here. 

Everyone calls him Bill Atkinson. Before that, he was Stephen Michael Doe. And before that, well, that’s the mystery.
He was found, abandoned, in a phone booth, less than a day old and covered in nothing but a blanket. The puzzle of his origins remains unsolved a generation later.
Now a 41-year-old husband and father of three, he’s hunting for the family he never knew — the woman he never got to call Mom, the man he never called Dad.
But where to start?
Short articles in The Star and The Kansas City Times offer only tenuous clues of that June 7, 1972, morning. He was discovered bawling by a woman at a 7-Eleven store at 4039 Metropolitan Ave. in Kansas City, Kan. Doctors figured he was just 12 hours old at the time. One story said he weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces, another had him at 6 and a half pounds.
He has no interest in replacing the only family he’s ever known, whom he loves as much as ever. But now that he’s started his own family, he wants answers that might give his children valuable information about medical histories — and his distinct personal history.
“I want to know more,” Atkinson said, about “people who look like me, who think like me and other family that are like me.”
He and his wife, Angie — in fact, it’s largely her crusade — have been searching for nearly a decade.
A youth bureau detective who arrived at the scene is dead. So is the doctor who cared for him in the hospital. And the woman at Wyandotte County Social Services responsible for finding him an adoptive family offers no clues.
“It’s crazy that I can’t remember,” said retired social worker Linda Hobbs. “My memory is usually a steel trap.”
Every link in the chain that might have led to answering questions about his past has been broken.
The trail begins and ends with a phone booth that no longer exists.
Yet the search goes on.
“It would help him to have some understanding” his wife said. “There’s a piece of him that needs to know. … For that reason, I will never stop.”
Laura Long, a search specialist for Adoption Search Services, said most people searching for biological parents can use the court system to unearth their heritage.
In Missouri, adoptees can ask a court for identifying information if they have the birth parent’s consent or if the birth parent is deceased. That information would be the name of the birth parent, a birth date or anything else that would help adoptees identify their birth parent.
Sometimes a court will allow a third party to contact a birth parent to seek his or her consent.
Lacking proof of death or consent from the birth parent, only nonidentifying information is available. That leaves age, occupation, whether the parent had siblings — only information that would not give away the identity of the birth parent. But record-keeping can sometimes be spotty.
Long, a Kansas City native, was also adopted. Almost 15 years ago, she reunited with her birth family and she’s devoted her career to helping others do the same.
“These are people meeting for the first time, so it’s like anyone meeting for the first time,” Long said. “They might never see each other again, they might exchange Christmas cards once a year and they might even become best friends, you just never know.”
Long’s business works with courts to help people find their birth parents.
“You’d be amazed how many years it takes and how much money people will spend looking on their own,” Long said.
She told a story of a woman who searched for 14 years, refusing to involve authorities because friends urged her not to use the court system.
“She eventually gave in, went to the courts and within two weeks we had the birth mother contacted,” Long said.
The courts are a key to opening records. But for Atkinson, there are no revealing records to unlock.
He has a birth certificate, but the only name on it is Stephen Michael Doe — the name given to him when he was found.
As a child, his adoptive father wanted him to succeed at sports, even hiring a swimming coach to get him ready for the Junior Olympics. But his dad died when Atkinson was 12, and that dream faded away even as he swam competitively and played soccer at a Catholic grade school in Blue Springs.
Atkinson was raised by parents who made clear he was “the greatest thing that ever happened” to them.
“They brought me up as good, if not better,” he said, “than anyone else could.”
Atkinson’s father was a salesman who traveled frequently. That left Atkinson and his stay-at-home mother, Patricia, on their own. He remembers being spoiled, buried in presents at Christmas whether his father was home or away.
After his father died, Atkinson’s mother told him he was adopted.
“I didn’t believe her at first,” he said, “so she had to show me the KC Star article.”
Now, as an adult, he works in information technology. He’s raising his family in suburban St. Louis.
Naturally, he still loves his mother and talks to her regularly.
The need for answers about his biological mother came only when Bill and Angie Atkinson had their first child together — Noah, who is now 9. He knew how much his mother must have loved him, even if she could not raise him.
The Atkinsons’ search has lead them to many dead ends. But last year, they thought they had a break.
Angie Atkinson found a family through an adoption website. She made contact with a woman who was potentially Bill Atkinson’s niece. That woman was looking for a boy born about the same time as Bill.
It was the wrong family. The baby they were looking for was born in 1970, not 1972.
“They looked so similar and I thought, ‘Oh, my God, there’s no way,’” Angie Atkinson said. “I really thought that might be his family, and I’m still not sure it’s not, but apparently it doesn’t matter.”
She concedes some wishful thinking. Because the years don’t match, it certainly can’t be the same boy. But the family sent them pictures and the resemblance was uncanny. Atkinson has blond hair and blue eyes and stands 5 feet 10 inches tall.
“I did get a little bit nervous, but also excited,” Atkinson said at the thought of possibly meeting his birth family. “Angie had asked me, ‘Are you willing to drive out there and meet them if this is it?’ … At that point, I definitely was.”
Yet, there’s a fear of what they might find. His biological family might not want to be found. They might not want to know him. They might be dead.
“It would be tough not to get an answer. It would be tougher if they were dead,” he said. “They wouldn’t have a chance to tell me … maybe they wanted to find me. Maybe they’re ashamed of what they did.”
Still, he wants to unravel the mystery of his beginning and his abandonment, to be able to ask somebody where he came from.
“I feel,” he said, “like I deserve an answer.”

New clue discovered in the search for the parents of the June 1972 phone booth baby

In  my research, I recently discovered another clue in the search for Bill's birth parents. 

It's an article that we hadn't found before, dated June 13, 1972 entitled "Await Word on Abandoned Baby."

In this one, written just 7 days before his adoption was finalized, it states that Kansas law required a waiting period of one year before he could be adopted - UNLESS the birth mother came forward and signed the papers.

So that means his birth mother came forward, right? Well, maybe not. See, there's this one twist: there is no birth mother in the papers. There was a letter releasing him for adoption that was signed by a police officer who, as far as is stated, signed in lieu of the mother, who couldn't be found.

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this one. 

Click to enlarge the photos to read the Kansas City Star's story. 

Our original story is printed below, in case you missed it. 

Since we wrote that, we were interviewed by reporter Trey Williams and featured on the front page of the Kansas City Star as well as on websites all over the world. 

We have also taken a DNA test and have found some second cousins. If you're on AncestryDNA, you'll find us under the username AtkinsonFamilySTL. Bill and I are the two who have tested, so he'll be the male one. If you need to see our trees or have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

We are also listed on several adoption registries as well as on GedMatch and FTDNA.  

The Original Story

This is my husband at about 2 years old.

My husband was born on or about June 6, 1972.

Within 12 hours of his birth, he was found by a passerby in a telephone booth at 7-Eleven at 4039 Metropolitan Ave. in Kansas City, KS around 9 a.m. on June 7, 1972.

According to an article we found about his situation, he was supposed to be taken to a foster home until authorities could either locate his mother or birth family or until he could be adopted.

He was adopted by his adoptive parents by June 20, 1972.

His adoptive father passed away when my husband was 12, and his adoptive mother continued to raise him. He has always been loved, cared for and generally treated very well by his family and in fact has no desire to replace them--we just want to learn about his birth family.

We did obtain his original birth certificate from the state of Kansas, and his name was listed as "Stephen Michael Doe." We assume the name was given to him by someone who found him, the nurses at the hospital or maybe the foster family.

His mother tells us she and her husband went to a home in Kansas City where a friend of theirs who was also a judge showed up with the baby. Sometime later, the three went to the courthouse and met with a social worker, who produced a semi-detailed report about the visit (we have a copy, and I will upload it as soon as I can).

The Atkinsons, my husband's adoptive parents, left the courthouse that day with him and the adoption approved. It was finalized sometime later.
The Search

Since the first time my husband told me about his story, I've been very curious about his birth family. But once I gave birth to his children, my curiosity changed into an intense need to learn about his biological family.

My husband has never tried to search on his own, but when I told him about my search and showed him what I'd found so far, he was excited and has been supportive of my efforts.

We hope to find someone who is biologically related to him (or who might have any information about him and his biological family) to offer insight into his genealogy and, if all parties are comfortable, maybe to form a friendship or to at least open the lines of communication.
Do You Have Information Concerning a Baby Born and Abandoned in June 1972?

If you know anything about this situation, please don't hesitate to contact us at We will respect your privacy, and we promise not to cause you any harm, trouble or money. All we seek is knowledge and understanding, and we hope for you to have the same.