2016-12-29 / Front Page

Search continues for her birth mother

GTB member holds no resentment
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


KYLE VANSTEE Newton, 42, is searching for her birth mom, who is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. KYLE VANSTEE Newton, 42, is searching for her birth mom, who is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Kyle VanStee Newton says she was well loved by her parents, who adopted her when she was an infant.

Still, the 42-year-old would like to meet her birth mom, who she knows is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

“It’s always been in the back of my head, and as an adult I just want to say ‘thank you,’” Newton said. “I’ve had a wonderful life. I can’t imagine it being any different.”

Newton recently posted an announcement in the GTB newsletter asking her birth mother to come forward. The woman would be about 65 years old.

Newton also has a brother she has never met who would be about 50. She already has a brother who was adopted from Korea and three stepbrothers. She loves them all.


KYLE VANSTEE Newton, center, lives in Saranac, near Grand Rapids, with her husband Ben Newton and their four children. KYLE VANSTEE Newton, center, lives in Saranac, near Grand Rapids, with her husband Ben Newton and their four children. “But it would be nice to have a blood brother,” Newton said.

Newton lives in Saranac near Grand Rapids with her husband, Ben Newton, and their combined family of four children who range in age from 10 to 17.

She grew up in Lowell with her adoptive parents, Sandy and William VanStee.

“I have always known that I was adopted,” Newton said. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know.”

Newton’s adoption was handled by Grand Rapids Catholic Social Services. After a recent inquiry, she received what is called ‘unrevealing information’ from the agency.

The report has given her much of the information surrounding the circumstances of her adoption and has let her know that her birth mother is alive and well.

But it doesn’t reveal the woman’s name, address or phone number.

What Newton does know is that her birth mother was 23 when she had her. She had a son who was 8 at the time and had several brothers and sisters.

She also had a job and a boyfriend, though the boyfriend was not Newton’s father, which she thinks may be the reason she was given up for adoption.

Newton’s birth mom had managed to keep the pregnancy a secret, but went to the adoption agency about two weeks before Newton was born to ask for advice.

“It wasn’t the right time to keep a baby,” Newton said. “She didn’t say anything to anybody. and then two weeks later I was born.”

Information about Newton’s real father was not listed in the report, she said.

Newton said she was surprised when she learned her birth mother was 23 when Newton was born and that she already had a child. Still, Newton harbors no resentment against the woman who gave her away.

“I always wanted to know why,” she said. “I knew that she was young. I just assumed that she was too young.”

Newton said she knows that if her birth mother had kept her, her life would have been very different.

“This way I went with people that wanted me,” she said. “My parents loved me so much. I’m so appreciative for the life that I ended up with.”

Newton became a member of the GTB when she was in high school, using the higher education scholarship to attend Lake Superior State University, where she pursued a degree in early childhood education.

She is now employed by the Ionia County Intermediate School District, where she works with autistic children.

“I absolutely love it,” she said. “It’s the best thing in the world.”

After the announcement ran in the GTB newsletter, Newton was contacted by a woman who told her she thinks she knows who her mother is. But she has not heard from the woman in a couple of weeks.

“I’m not in a hurry. I’m not anxious about it. I’d like to meet her and say ‘thank you.’”

Newton said it would be OK if her birth mother didn’t want to meet her.

“I could understand,” she said. “I’ve accepted that. If I meet her I meet her, and if I don’t, I don’t.”

Anybody who thinks they may have information on Newton’s birth mother can contact her husband Ben by phone at 616-902-2447 or by email at newtonbe@hotmail.com.

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