Feb 2, 2013 / 11:57 am
Jackie White’s greatest Christmas gift didn’t come wrapped in pretty paper and adorned with a bow.
It wasn’t a new car, an iPhone or one of the latest and greatest electronic gadgets.
It was her birth mother.
After extensive research, White located her biological mother, Bette Fanning, who had given her up for adoption in 1965.
“I was a single mother. I had been divorced from my first husband. I had three boys. I just felt like I couldn’t raise her as good as somebody else might be able to,” said Fanning, who was living in Quincy, Mass. when she made the decision to give Jackie up for adoption.
“At the time, my brother and his wife lived in Florida, so all of the kids and I came down to Florida and that’s where I had Jackie. My brother found me a doctor and the doctor was the one who knew a lawyer that dealt in adoptions. I never saw her. I just knew that she was a girl.”
White, who grew up in Pascagoula, Miss. and attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and Our Lady of Victories High School, was a child when her parents told her that she had been adopted. “I was probably eight years-old,” she said.
By the time she learned she was adopted, White’s adopted parents had already been divorced for just over three years.
“He remarried about a year later and he and his wife were the ones that raised me,” said White, who was pregnant with her first son when she began the search for the woman who gave her the gift of life.
“I was 19,” she said. “I tried to go through resources that I knew (to find her).”
One of those resources was Ocean Springs resident Lettie White, her future mother-in-law. “She tried to help me go in the right direction and did as much research as she could,” Jackie White.
Fanning also thought about trying to find the girl she gave up at birth.
“Then I kind of got the feeling that maybe she wouldn’t accept me and you don’t want that rejection,” said Fanning, who is a parishioner of St. Anastasia Parish in St. Augustine, Fla. and a worker with the Diocese of St. Augustine’s Catholic Charities office. …
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