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Iowa representative reunites with daughter 47 years later

A member of the Iowa Legislature has reunited with the daughter she released for adoption 47 years ago.

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 8:05 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A member of the Iowa Legislature has reunited with the daughter she released for adoption 47 years ago.

On a Saturday morning this year, State Rep. Marti Anderson's phone rang, and her daughter, Shellie Price Wardlaw, was on the other line.

"I was having breakfast with my dad and my husband and I got a phone call out of the blue," Anderson said. "And this woman said, 'This is Shellie Wardlaw, and I think you're my mother.'"

Wardlaw told the Des Moines Register that she found Anderson after taking a DNA test through Ancestry.com in January, which identified a maternal match. Anderson had taken the same test in December.

"Once I went to my matches and saw there was a maternal match, it just sent a flood of emotions through me, and I just wanted to find out more," Wardlaw said.

Anderson said she'd been waiting for that phone call for four decades. Anderson then met up with her daughter at her home just across town in Des Moines.

"I had absolutely no idea where she was, and for her to be here all my life, never to have left, on the other side of town," said Wardlaw.

Anderson said she was "a 19-year-old single girl" when she was pregnant with Wardlaw.

"Nobody was happy or excited for me, not just because she was out of wedlock — which was pretty important back then — but because she was part African-American," said Anderson. She said her mother kicked her out of the house, and she decided "to release her daughter for adoption so she could have a family."

Wardlaw said she doesn't hold any grudges against Anderson.

"It's kind of hard for me to compartmentalize my emotions right now," Wardlaw said. "Because I still think that while this was great, the times that she lived in and the pressure that she was under and the racism that was out there makes me angry. I find myself getting angry at society because someone's color of their skin can make somebody feel less than. And that bothers me."

Wardlaw said she's reached out to her birth father too.

Anderson said she hopes to start making up for lost time.

"I was just getting ready to send her flowers that say, 'With love and celebration for all the events I missed,'" Anderson said. "I want to send her something today that tells her it was real, and I am here."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333626

Reported Deaths: 3843
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin700691145
Ramsey29459521
Dakota23564198
Anoka23541236
Washington14864125
Stearns14564125
St. Louis9549121
Scott896460
Wright847548
Olmsted714637
Sherburne618746
Clay529960
Carver509715
Kandiyohi440828
Rice432338
Blue Earth431217
Crow Wing383339
Otter Tail338925
Chisago334516
Benton322753
Nobles316032
Winona297832
Douglas283040
Mower274823
Polk271527
Morrison246731
McLeod233721
Lyon232812
Beltrami230718
Goodhue222932
Becker221521
Steele21038
Itasca206324
Isanti203917
Carlton201417
Todd190314
Nicollet172126
Mille Lacs164632
Freeborn16227
Le Sueur157012
Brown156115
Cass153511
Pine14498
Meeker144812
Waseca143411
Roseau13035
Martin124721
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Watonwan8944
Wadena8637
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Houston8004
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Faribault6093
Pope5721
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Marshall5459
Stevens5403
Jackson5321
Lake4518
Koochiching4216
Wilkin4175
Lac qui Parle4124
Lincoln3811
Unassigned38159
Norman3718
Big Stone3392
Mahnomen3225
Grant2986
Kittson2518
Red Lake2303
Traverse1531
Lake of the Woods1071
Cook800

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 237371

Reported Deaths: 2571
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34873347
Linn14787169
Scott1184692
Black Hawk11288147
Woodbury10763137
Johnson985939
Dubuque947999
Story701924
Pottawattamie682474
Dallas661260
Sioux383829
Webster378339
Cerro Gordo373252
Marshall360950
Clinton345645
Buena Vista316614
Muscatine305172
Des Moines300623
Warren294115
Plymouth287044
Wapello265072
Jones237118
Jasper231546
Lee228719
Marion211922
Carroll204325
Bremer202713
Henry19367
Crawford183116
Benton175423
Tama157442
Jackson151117
Washington150216
Delaware147621
Dickinson145812
Boone144912
Mahaska133928
Wright13107
Clay12505
Buchanan123410
Hardin122812
Hamilton119514
Page11925
Kossuth11768
Clayton115510
Cedar114614
Harrison113432
Floyd111921
Mills11129
Calhoun10987
Fayette109812
Lyon10769
Butler10748
Winneshiek105513
Poweshiek103714
Iowa101414
Cherokee9674
Winnebago96325
Chickasaw9195
Hancock9138
Sac9068
Louisa90122
Grundy89514
Allamakee88413
Cass84725
Union8437
Mitchell8429
Appanoose81613
Humboldt8125
Shelby80511
Emmet79026
Guthrie78315
Franklin76421
Jefferson7635
Madison7265
Unassigned7090
Palo Alto6744
Keokuk6567
Pocahontas6024
Howard5859
Ida54915
Osceola5461
Greene5422
Montgomery51411
Clarke5064
Davis4839
Taylor4833
Monona4567
Adair4539
Monroe45113
Worth3881
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Van Buren3815
Decatur3410
Lucas3416
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Wayne3087
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