As some of you know, I moved to Moody, Texas (population 1,378) about four months ago. Moody is so obscure that life-long Texans have asked me where the hell is Moody? Well, it’s about 30 minutes south of Waco.
Moody used to be something but it is basically a ghost town now, It has a post office, library, junkyard, and I believe a small cafe, I have only been to the post office. There are no buses or cabs for the transportationless (like me). Uber apparently doesn’t come out here much, Outside of taking out the trash, I get out of the house once every week to ten days. For a confirmed recluse, this works, but it is still Nowheresville. What was the last excitement that transpired here? A cat stuck up a tree?. A dumpster overturned? A headlight boosted from the junkyard?
Imagine my surprise then when my friend Marlena Villers sent me a news story out of Moody. Even more so that it’s a lovely reunion story! And, those that know me know that I am not a fan of the Hallmark Adoption Moment.
I make an exception here. Phil Ratliff and his story gets to me and needs to be told/. 91-years old and still a secret.–and no doubt a public enemy. according to the adopteephobes in the Texas legislature. How absurd is this?
Phil Ratliff is an LD,A. He learned by accident, at the age of 21, on what he calls a “bad day,” that he is adopted. He then buried it to avoid hurting his adoptive parents. When he finally confronted them, 20 years later, they apparently refused to discuss the adoption,
But Phil always wanted to know–and so did his daughter, Donna McDonald, who initiated the search. Like other descendants of adoptees, she, too, feels adoption loss. “I was lost for a while,” she said. “I was like well, just who am I? Who do I belong to? What is my line?”
DNA testing through FamilyTreeDNA kicked off the search. The paper trail on Baby McKamie, led first to Amarillo and then to Moody, the hometown..of his 18-yer old unmarried mother Sarah Marie McKamie. She died of childbirth complications two weeks after Phil was born.
Phil has now met a cousin and a 98-year old aunt in Moody, who have helped him put the pieces together. His new family gave him the last picture taken of Sarah, shortly before her death. It looks like it could be a yearbook photo.
I just couldn’t handle it,” he said of the emotions that overcame him as he looked on his mother’s face for the first time.
“I mean, I was so overjoyed that I could actually place my mom’s picture in my hands. And I couldn’t help it. I just, I lost it,” he said of the tears that flowed. “Because this is my mother!”
Sarah McKamie is buried in the Moody Cemetery just down the road from me. I am going to take a walk down there soon and visit her
Buried Secrets: The DNA journey for a 91-year-old man to find his mother for the very first time appeared yesterday (November 25).on WFFA-Dallas. This includes the video of the story, which is really moving.