“I was adopted when I was less than a year old. My mom told me October 5, 2015. I was 21 years old. My parents kept it to themselves over the years to protect me from the life I could have been living. But to find out was devastating. At the same time, so many questions suddenly made sense. Why did I always feel like the outcast, like I didn’t belong? Why didn’t I have blue eyes and blonde hair like my parents? Why did it always seem my teachers were nicer to me than other kids? Looking back I knew. But I had no real reason to suspect I was different.
My biological mother met my adoptive mom at a gas station where my mom was the manager. She asked her to babysit me for a weekend while she looked for employment. My adoptive mom agreed. I was dropped off on a Friday afternoon and picked up Sunday evening. One week later, my birth mother returned to the gas station with me, my social security card, birth certificate, and one diaper. She left me there with my adoptive mother. Within a year, I was adopted and my life was consistently blessed with far more than I ever deserved.
I pressed my parents for information about my birth mom and where I could find her. The next morning my mother gave me all of the adoption paperwork she had, including the original copy of my birth certificate. This gave me my biological mother’s name, Lisa Ann Pierce.
Lisa gave me up for adoption in 1994. She had another daughter several years later. November 6, 2000, was the last time Lisa was ever seen alive. She hasn’t been heard from since then. I found out she was missing when I looked her up on Facebook. Instead of a profile popping up, it was a page entitled Missing Lisa Ann Pierce. I saw the picture and knew immediately that it was my mom. It was a picture of myself that could have been taken 20 years in the future. I was having some medical issues at the time and hoped that if I found her she could give me the medical history. If I decided to have children, I wanted to know what to expect. But that Facebook page meant Lisa was gone as quickly as I found her.
I reached out to the page and the person running it was Judy, Lisa’s aunt by marriage. Judy said Lisa was a troubled woman. She was adopted at age five by her mother’s boss who ran a bar in Louisiana and he moved to Alabama. When Lisa was young, she became promiscuous and wasn’t involved with the best crowd. She didn’t do very well academically, but she loved the arts. She had her first child at 13, her second at 21, and her third at 25. Lisa would vanish for days or weeks and return home malnourished with bruises and bumps. She would be fine for a little while and the cycle would repeat. She went to Christian rehabs, including Wings of Life. She stayed at the Family Haven shelter. She was involved in drugs and alcohol and the prostitution of herself to pay for that. I have heard the phrase sex trafficking from the authorties. It has been a hard five years, but I would rather know exactly what happened to her instead of not knowing.
Lisa loved her children fiercely, in a way that only a mother could. I have no physical memory of her, but I can feel her love and warmth with every breath I take. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some pretty incredible people who knew the real Lisa, and were gracious enough to share their stories with me. She loved the color purple, just like me. Her favorite food was fried okra. She loved to sing and you could tell she was really smiling if her nose was wrinkled on the end. She loved animals, especially possums and raccoons. Her faith was unshakeable and she had a great sense of humor. She could mimic Minnie Mouse and loved photography, horseback riding, and the beach. She wanted to go to school for cosmetology. They said she was a sweet, loving, light of person.
Three weeks before my mother was reported missing, she asked my aunt to protect her youngest child if anything were to ever happen to her. She said she feared for her life but my aunt simply brushed it off as a drug-induced paranoia. By finding Lisa, I also found my sister, Starla. I gave my number to Judy for Starla to call. She contacted me that same day. My life was saved the day I heard the voice of my younger sister. She is my world. She knew about me and didn’t know how to find me. It is like we found missing parts of each other that we didn’t know were missing. Starla remembers Lisa as a colorful, vibrant woman.
We are looking to find anyone who had some kind of contact with Lisa. The police report says she was last seen at the corner of Government and Pleasant Valley. It is understood she is probably deceased, but there is no evidence of what happened to her. The Mobile Police Department doesn’t have the funding to investigate cold cases like this. I have been trying to do my own research with the limited resources I have. But I don’t have the legal authority to investigate. I can’t make people talk to me. I now run a missing person’s page for Lisa. It is a scavenger hunt that has taken me to places I have never been to such as the lower ninth ward in New Orleans talking with people she knew. I have begged higher-ups in MPD to pay attention to the cold cases of missing persons. They can’t be just forgotten. However, the system is overloaded and they don’t have enough funding to go after these cases.
Lisa’s life should still matter to so many people, but it doesn’t. Instead, it is like she has been erased. I am working to change that for her, and for others like her. I owe so much to the selfless choice that she made and I want to live every day in her honor. Through this I am a lot more empathetic and understanding of people who are outside of their surroundings. I put myself in situations where I can be helpful to others. My goal is to start a nonprofit to help women and children get out of difficult situations. I want to help them be the best version of themselves and give them opportunities to be that.
I am getting married soon. Planning has been interesting during Coronavirus but there is a team of local planners and wedding vendors who have rallied around brides. We are getting married at Blakely. My fiance and I have been best friends for 15 years. We dated a few months in high school and I didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. He deployed and came home two weeks early to surprise me at my high school graduation. That is when I knew it was more than a friendship. But I was in a different relationship with a man who is now my ex-husband. I am where I am supposed to be.
My life is so much better than it was five years ago. I have learned how to make good out of bad because no one else is going to do that for you. If Lisa is still alive and sees her story, I want her to know that she is loved by many people and that good came from the pain. Lisa Pierce deserves a little bit of good to happen to her. I have her missing persons picture on my wall with other pictures of her and pictures of her grandbabies and little things Starla has given to me. Starla has a little boy and I have a stepdaughter, so Lisa is a grandma twice. I think she would be a good grandma. I wish I could see her smiling at our families and at Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays. All I can do is keep talking and telling her story. Keep trying to help people. I will keep her alive in whatever way the good Lord lets me. If I am ever blessed with a child, I want to give her Lisa’s name and pass her legacy on.”
Here is the Facebook page for Lisa: https://m.facebook.com/MLAPOfficial/?ref=bookmarks