A Black woman is sharing her story after she believes her child was illegally adopted without her consent. Damea Morris says that she didn’t know she was pregnant three years ago, on September 6, 2017, when she gave birth on the toilet in her home. Her baby’s father ran to get help and found a Good Samaritan to help them while they waited for paramedics.
The woman told Damea that the baby girl wasn’t breathing. The new mom was worried, but shortly thereafter the paramedics arrived. They cut the umbilical cord, and Damea heard the little girl cry. They were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul.
Damea was separated from the baby when they took mother and child to the hospital in separate ambulances. Later, she was told that her little girl, RaeLa Adams, had died. Damea was in complete shock. In a short time, she went through discovering she was pregnant while giving birth, only to lose that child.
“It was like I blamed myself … for everything,” she shared on the GoFundMe page where she seeks support. “So yeah watching her fall in the toilet was enough for me.”
Damea says that she wasn’t the only one who was told this story. The woman who helped her in her home came to visit her in the hospital. When she learned the news, she consoled her. Damea was also consoled by a nurse who allegedly said she wished she could have done more to save the baby.
Damea was in shock and couldn’t bear to see her baby girl. She wasn’t aware of what the process was around a dead infant, so she didn’t know what kind of documentation to expect. She never received a death certificate.
Consumed by shock and grief, when she was sent to a funeral home by the hospital, she agreed. She received an urn from them and was again consoled. She never opened that urn.
Damea was getting ready to move and getting all of her children’s documents in order more recently. It was then that she realized that she didn’t have a death certificate. She tried to go through the channels necessary to get a copy, only to discover that a death certificate for RaeLa didn’t exist. As questions mounted, she opened the urn to discover it was empty.
Damea reached out to get legal help, unsure of what exactly was going on. It was then that she was informed she had an open adoption in the state with a woman, and she was given her name. She believes that Joanna and Jake Lentner’s adopted daughter may actually be RaeLa.
After she was given the couple’s name, she looked Joanna up. She saw her profile picture with her two children and was struck by how much the little girl looks like Damea’s other kids. From there, she found the couple had a Facebook page and a website dedicated to their adoption journey. All of those accounts have been taken down since Damea tried reaching out to the family. Joanna’s and Jake’s personal profiles have also been locked down.
Damea shared what she learned from reading their page when she first discovered it. “She states she was called the same day I had my baby. She had no time to plan. She just received this random call [that] she was chosen to take my baby home,” she wrote.
“She states how weird the hospital took place. She stated the baby was brought to her by the nurses’ station and when questioning this, the doctors told her their maternity ward was closing. They told her it was their last patient and they were glad to have processed an adoption.”
Several news articles dated in July 2017 confirm that St. Joseph’s announced the plan to close the maternity ward in St. Paul on September 10.
Screenshots have been shared online of a post from the couple’s Facebook adoption journey page. The post, dated December 20, 2017, shared a link to the couple’s story of their adoption, which they state took place 15 weeks ago. Fifteen weeks prior, to the day, was September 6.
Archived posts of their adoption journey website show the couple had been trying to adopt in the St. Paul area as far back as 2015. As the story has spread, many people believe it’s highly possible that Damea’s RaeLa and the Lentners’ daughter may be one and the same. The fact that the family has gone into hiding instead of cooperating with Damea has raised further suspicions.
At the time of this writing, the GoFundMe had raised $3,050 of its $10,000 goal. It was expected to increase as the story has been going viral on social media. For Damea, she simply wants answers and the truth, once and for all.
“I just need help figuring out how to get my baby back,” she wrote. “Through all trials and tribulations, my kids are all I got through every struggle my situation is not perfect but I don’t deserve any of them to be takin [sic] from me.”