In 1983, someone found a newborn wrapped in a blanket and left in the parking lot of The Prado, a shopping center in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Nurses at Northside Hospital named the baby Jan Winter. She was placed in foster care, then adopted after a few months.
“Imagine if you were to walk into a library to get a book that you really wanted to read and the last chapter was missing,” she said. “That's what my life has been like.”
Jones grew up in Palmetto, Georgia, and now lives in south Georgia. Her parents -- she never thinks of them as adoptive parents -- told her about her beginnings as soon as she was old enough to understand. They didn’t have many details, though, and the adoption records are sealed.
Coverage in The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, separate newspapers at the time of the rescue, provided some facts. Sandra Milholin, then the adoption supervisor at the Fulton County Department of Family and Children Services, handled the adoption, for example. Joyce Vaughan, then the Fulton County Police Department’s only female detective, worked the case The office was flooded with calls from people wanting to take in Baby Jan.
"I want to thank the people who found me, from the bottom of my hearts and my parents’ hearts,” Jones said. “Whoever found me could have turned their back and said, ‘I’m not getting involved.’ They didn’t, and as a result, they changed so many lives."
Over the years, she’s tried with little success to research her identity. Through DNA testing, she’s been able to connect with some relatives, including a cousin whose red hair is the same hue as her son’s. She’s been unable to locate police files or other official records, though.
After seeing coverage of Baby India, the infant found abandoned in a plastic bag in Cumming, Georgia, on June 6, Jones decided to take a new investigative approach. On Monday, she posted a query on Facebook in hopes of reaching someone with answers.
"I feel like I owe it to the universe," she said.
Jones and her husband have three children, ages 9, 3 and 10 months. She’s interested to know if she has siblings of her own, but isn’t necessarily hoping to locate her birth parents.
"My only intention is to reunite with the person or people that found me," she said. "I can imagine whoever left me must be pretty mortified, but it was 36 years ago."
She’s never let the grim circumstances of her very young life define her.
© 2020 Cox Media Group