Sherri Azais wants people to know adoption isn’t a bad thing.
She’s living proof that miracles happen in different ways to different families.
Azais, the owner of Premier Partner Services, LLC, has known almost her whole life she was adopted. She just didn’t know from whom.
Born in Canada and adopted through Catholic Charities as a six-month old, Azais never had a desire to find out who her birth parents were or why she was given up for adoption – until about a year ago.
That journey has led her to wanting to support charities that can help expectant mothers navigate the emotional trek of adoption, so she hosted a Culpeper High-Heeled Happy Hour May 1 to benefit the Culpeper Pregnancy Center.
High-Heeled Happy Hours provide women the opportunity to engage with each other in a fun, relaxed environment. Each High-Heeled Happy Hour is hosted by a different female business professional/ community leader who selects a charity beneficiary for the event proceeds that evening.
Azais was the keynote speaker, telling her tale of finally deciding to search for her blood family and the complicated path it’s led her down.
“I thought now would be the time to find this person, but I honestly thought it would take so long,” Azais said.
She was wrong on the time it would take, as she applied to receive her birth certificate from Canada, used a Facebook group called Search Angels and within 24 hours a woman reached out to her and the process took off.
“I sent it to her Friday morning at 10 a.m. and by Friday afternoon I knew who my mother was,” Azais said.
She reached out, through the Search Angels group, but sadly discovered her mother was suffering from dementia and did not want to reconnect.
“You don’t think you care, because you don’t even know this person, it hits you,” Azais said. “It was pretty emotional to hear those words.
“If I met her, she probably wouldn’t know who I was,” Azais said.
There is always hope, however. The weekend after learning about Azais, her aunt Judy reached out and made a connection. While the rest of the family was hesitant and cautious, her aunt wanted to know more about her.
“Once they saw pictures, of myself and my son (Mason), they were like ‘yeah, she’s ours,’” Azais said with a laugh. “That’s been over a year ago, I still haven’t spoke with my mom, but I still keep in contact with my aunt.”
They plan to meet this summer in Canada. Azais can’t stress to her birth family enough that she’s not bitter or looking for anything – she just wants to know her history.
“She really doesn’t owe me anything,” Azais said. “She already gave me life and she gave me a family that loves me.”
By supporting the Culpeper Pregnancy Center, Azais is hoping to volunteer and to have an opportunity to maybe tell her story to women who are on the fence about adoption.
Her adopted parents Judith and William Brian Mason, who divorced when she was in kindergarten, provided her with a loving upbringing and she’s forever grateful for that experience.
“More women will want to come in and know their choices, when they recommend adoption most women’s response is ‘I could never do that to my child,’” Azais said. “I just don’t know if they’ve never known adopted people. Yes, there’s some bad stories out there but there’s some really good stories out there.”
Azais knew early on she was adopted, and it was no secret in her adopted family.
“When my parents adopted me, my grandmother was from Sicily and she spoke very broken English,” Azais recalled. “She called me ‘special’ one time. What she was saying was I was a gift from God. They were very lucky to have me.”
It’s that attitude that Azais hopes to spread to women at the Culpeper Pregnancy Center and hopes Tuesday’s fundraiser will help support adoption at the center.