GASTON, Ore. (KOIN) — “It was December and it was a stormy night and I was wrapped in 2 blankets.”
That’s really all Jen Chervin knew about that night — December 18, 1971 — that nurses found a newborn baby girl on the doorstep of Fremont Hospital in Yuba, California, near Sacramento.
The newspapers nicknamed her Baby Jane. “Then the nurses actually named me Holly Fremont because it was Christmastime,” she told KOIN 6 News.
A loving couple adopted the little girl and named her Jen Chervin. Now 44, she lives in Gaston and is a teacher in Beaverton, a wife and a mother.
She grew up happy and loved. Still, for years she dreaded Christmastime. There were so many unanswered questions about her biological parents.
“Every year on my birthday at Christmastime I would wonder, ‘Is my mom thinking about me?’ Because I would think about her, and, as it turns out, she was.”
This Christmas, Jen feels a glow of peace after a journey that began about 18 months ago. That’s when she turned to social media for answers about her family history.
“From my story I had a woman reach out to me. She sent me a message and she said, ‘Do you have a search angel working with you?’ Well, what is a search angel?”
There’s a network of people, she learned, “almost like this underground world,” who are willing to spend their own time and resources to help research and connect the dots.
“I never thought it would be possible,” she said. “And it was, because of DNA.”
She first found her biological dad “because I had a second cousin who popped up on my DNA testing.”
Then, in October, DNA pointed to her biological mother. Jen made a phone call she’ll never forget.
“I don’t want to hurt you, I just want answers,” Jen told KOIN 6 New she said to her mother. “That’s when she broke down and started crying and she said, ‘I’m so sorry and I thought about you every day.'”
For the first time, Jen had details about her medical history. She also learned she has siblings, though they don’t know about her.
It’s part of her mother’s history that’s tough.
“She gave me up because I’m a product of an affair and her husband was off at war.”
Jen now knows her birthday is December 18 — the day she was dropped off at the Fremont Hospital. She was born on her mother’s living room couch.
“She said she held me for a couple of hours. And then she woke up her daughters and put them in the back of the car and took me to the hospital and dropped me off.”
Her mother told Jen it’s a place she knew her daughter would be safe.
“She said she had a lot of guilt and shame that she’s been carrying all these years, and I told her she needed to let that go.”
This year, this Christmas, Jen and her biological parents continue to talk. Her mother sent her a special gift.
“She sent me this necklace and she sent a note with it that says, ‘The cross is a reminder that you are always in my heart.'”
For Jen Chervin, learning her history means everything.
“It’s my story. It’s my mystery solved,” she said. “To me, it’s a miracle.”