“My name is Elizabeth Ann. Please find me a good home and take good care of me.”
The two-sentence note was all that was found with a newborn baby girl left on the doorstep of St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Shelton on Jan. 29, 1981.
A boy passing the church on the way to the store heard the baby’s cries and ran to the nearby courthouse to get help.
Baby “Elizabeth Ann” is now 33-year-old Taya Lee and she has taken to Facebook to search for her biological mother and the boy – now likely in his 40s - who found her.
In the post, she is holds a handwritten sign asking for help:
“Looking for my birth mother. She abandoned me in Shelton, WA on Jan. 25th, 1981. I was found on a church doorstep at St. Edward’s Catholic Church. Please help me find her by sharing my picture.”
News articles from 1981 said she was found Jan. 29, but she estimates that her birthdate is Jan. 25.
“I have thought about finding my mother for many, many years, and think about her every day,” said Lee. “I didn't really know how to begin the search considering I was not born in a hospital, so there were no records to piece together. I have this urge to fill in the missing puzzle pieces in my life.”
Lee said she had seen other people search for parents via social media.
“I never really thought about doing it that way and everybody has Facebook so why not try?” she said.
According to news articles from 1981, the baby was just three or four days old when she was found wrapped in blankets and cradled in a box on the church steps. She had likely been delivered at home - her umbilical cord was still attached.
The baby was in good health, and she was in foster care for about a month before being adopted by a family in Olympia.
“I have two amazing older brothers - they are also adopted - and two loving parents. I was also blessed with a huge family,” she said. “I couldn't have asked for a better family to adopt me.”
Still, Lee has always been curious about her biological mother.
Around the same time the baby was left at the church, an anonymous letter was sent to the Shelton Police Department, explaining that the baby’s mother was 16 years old, did not have a job and she was unable to take care of the newborn.
“She said she wanted me to have a good home,” said Lee. “It also stated that she was leaving town.”
The handwriting on that note appears to be different than the handwriting on the note left with Lee at the church.
“I wonder if that was a friend or my biological mother’s mother,” she said. “So I know somebody else knows about it.”
She says her mother took her back to the church when she was 10. A photo shows Lee sitting on the very steps where she was found a decade earlier.
“I love looking at the photo,” she said. “It just puts a smile on my face remembering that my mom embraced and shared my "beginning" with me.”
Lee’s post on Facebook has been shared more than 1,100 times.
“I’ve had amazing responses,” she said. “I get a lot of e-mails from people all over, sharing their own stories. Some had a positive outcome, some say just beware it could be traumatic; it could be a negative thing. Keep in mind some people may not want to be found.”
Lee says she hopes nobody has negative assumptions about her motivations for searching for her biological mother.
“I want to know where I come from, my history … just putting those puzzle pieces together. Not filling a void, it’s just been a mystery and it would be awesome to solve it… to meet that scared girl because she probably thinks about it every day.”
She said her family is supportive of her effort to locate her biological mother.
“I have this urge to fill in the missing puzzle pieces in my life,” she said. “I want to know what she looks like, her personality traits; I want to know if she grew up and had a family. I have always wanted to know my ethnicity and family medical history.”
“I am not doing this because I am searching for love or a family, I have a loving family that I admire, adore and respect. But it would be amazing to meet her and possibly my father. I also think about the boy that found me - who is he? I would love to shake his hand and thank him!”
If you have any information, contact Taya via her Facebook page
Hours after this story was posted on KING5.com, Taya Lee found that boy who discovered her on the church steps and they were able to talk via Facebook.
In an interesting turn of events, someone contacted her via Facebook and sent her a link to a March 19, 2014, Facebook post by the Mason County Historical Society. It was a photo of St. Edward’s Catholic Church.
Several people wrote comments about the church, which was torn down in 2009.
Among the commenters was Steven Henry Dailey, who wrote “I found a little baby on the doorstep one morning on my way to school!”
After our story appeared on KING5.com, Penny Bradford found the Historical Society post and wrote “@Steven Henry Daily, she (that baby) is looking for you!”
She contacted Taya, who added her own comment: Steven ! That baby was ME!!!!!! OH MY GOD
Taya and Steven connected via Facebook and she says he had information that confirmed to her that he is the boy who found her. He was just 13 in 1981.