Marsha Mirrione was 19 when her boy was born on that Christmas Eve night. However, the year was 1967 and her son was illegitimate. Pressured by the social conventions of the 1960s, she gave her son, Edmond resident Dane Johnson, up for adoption after his birth in Tulsa.
Johnson was adopted by loving parents financially prepared for a new baby. There was no lack of caring and love to go around. As a child, and even in later years, he had no interest in the identity of his biological mother. It wasn’t until Johnson discovered he was a borderline diabetic that he decided it was time to obtain some medical records – and some other answers, as well.
“I just really felt the time was here to find her,” Johnson says, “I was thinking at the least I would find medical history. At the most I would find my mom, a new family, my heritage.”
Johnson started his search in his hometown of Tulsa. From there a chain of court documents, public records and Internet searches led him back to Oklahoma City. Eventually, he found a name. He found a number. And it was time to make a life-changing call.
“I was very anxious, and was wrestling with how I’m going to do this. It needed to be handled as delicately as I could without causing her alarm” Johnson says. “I knew I had a brother and I knew I had a sister, and I knew it was time to call.”
So on April 20, 2008, with trembling hands and a rapidly beating heart, he called his birth mother for the first time. He calmly walked her through a series of questions to verify her identity – and the voice on the other end of the line had all the answers. The line silenced when the impact of the call sank in for both
“I instantly felt afraid, thrilled and puzzled all at once,” Mirrione says, “Not a single day has passed since the last time I saw my first born that he didn’t cross my mind, not one.”
At the time Mirrione gave Dane up for adoption, mothers had a choice after the birth: never see their child, or spend a few days with them before leaving them with adoption officials. She chose to spend that small amount of time with her son, and then spent the next 40 years praying she would see him again
“I wanted him to be the one to contact me,” says Mirrione, “I just felt that if I were the one initiating the search, I could be intruding.”
Since that phone call, the two have shared a lifetime of stories. They’re preparing to celebrate their first Christmas together and to celebrate the event that started this whole story – Dane’s birthday; a miracle for both of them.
“All of our families have been so understanding about this,” Mirrione says. “I know that Dane has a mother and father, but all of our family members have welcomed each other with open arms. It truly is an answer to my prayers.”