PREBLE COUNTY — Virginia Filley, who grew up in Preble County, was put up for adoption right after her birth 70 years ago and just met her birth family for the first time.
Filley was born to Martha Fisher as Linda Lee Walton on April 1, 1944, and was promptly adopted by Homer and Margurite Filley, who lived on a farm in Preble County.
Filley said she couldn’t have been treated better by her adoptive parents and had a wonderful upbringing with them.
Filley said her adoptive mother said they were very lucky to adopt Filley and picked her out special. She said her adoptive mother also drilled it into her that her biological mother loved her but had no way to take care of her.
“I grew up on that,” Filley said.
Filley said her adoptive family is happy she has found her birth family.
Filley’s biological mother’s sister-in-law, Mary Schlanger, biological cousin, Sue Smith, and her biological brother’s wife Karen Cassels came to her apartment to meet her.
Filley had the chance to look at pictures of her biological family and talk about family history.
Filley’s birth family said most of them didn’t know that Filley existed. Schlanger, who Filley said is her mother figure from her first life, was one of the only ones that did know.
Cassels said it would have meant a lot to Filley’s mother to have met her daughter.
“I wish you coulda known your mom,” Cassels said.
Filley said she has been searching for her family “on and off again” since she was 21 years old and said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet her birth family.
She cried her eyes out the first time she called some of her biological relatives, Filley said.
“I’ve been talking about this forever,” she said.
Schlanger said Fisher would speak about Filley sometimes and wonder what had happened to her. When Fisher’s sister had a daughter, she named her Linda Lee after Filley.
Filley met Smith for the first time that day, but said she and Filley had been talking on the phone for about two to three years.
“She talks like Aunt Mart, her mom,” Smith said.
Cassels, who flew all the way up from Crescent City, Florida to meet Filley for the first time, said she spoke with Filley on the phone, as well.
“It was wonderful finally to get my eyes on my sister-in-law,” Cassels said.
Cassels said she will probably come back to visit in the future.
“She’d better,” Filley said. “I love my family. They’ve all accepted me.”