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Mother Reunites With Daughter After Tragedy Strikes

November 15, 2017
BY KRISTEN KELLER - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

Former Wetzel County resident Debra Haught has faced many hardships and struggles throughout her lifetime, but with her strong Methodist faith, she believes there are no coincidences in life - only miracles from God who works in mysterious ways.

When she was only 15 years old, Haught found out she was pregnant by her boyfriend, Bud Whitehead.

Knowing that they were much too young to raise a child, the young couple made the difficult choice to give their baby girl up for adoption. Not a single day passed that Haught didn't think of her baby girl though. Often crying herself to sleep at night, she needed reassurance that her baby was safe and with a good family. Haught visited the adoption agency and learned that her daughter was adopted by a wonderful family, who named her Julie. Haught was able to see a picture of her beautiful baby girl as well.

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Pictured is daughter Julie Stebbins, with her mother Debra Haught. Too young to raise a child, Haught gave her daughter up for adoption nearly 50 years ago. Stebbins reunited with her extended biological family on Oct. 28 at the Lewis-Wetzel Family Center in New Martinsville.

Unfortunately, that was the only information she was able to obtain. Knowing that her daughter was safe and sound with a good family provided her with some relief though. Haught and Whitehead later wed, and went on to have three sons - Jamie, Jason and Jared. Although she loved and adored her sons, Haught spent nearly 50 years of her life with an emptiness and aching in her heart.

Throughout those 50 years, Haught experienced many highs and lows in her life. Whitehead and Haught eventually divorced and Whitehead passed away nearly five years ago. Tragedy struck last April when Haught's middle son, Jason, lost his battle with drug addiction. Haught was completely devastated that she not only had lost one child, but now two. After watching the show Long Lost Family, about adoption reunions, Haught knew that the only way to mend her broken heart was to find her baby girl. That Friday evening, she made the decision to begin researching genealogy websites.

However, to her surprise, Haught received a letter from the adoption agency the very next morning. Julie was looking for her! The two had somehow made the decision to find each other at the same exact time.

"It was truly a miracle from God, and I believe Jason helped put us together," said Haught.

Julie Stebbins grew up with two wonderful parents. She had learned that she was adopted when she was just six years old, but it didn't phase her much then because her life was wonderful with her adoptive parents. She didn't really begin to think too much about her biological family until she married and had two sons of her own. Then, just recently, Stebbins' adoptive mother passed away, and the longing to know her biological mother really took a hold of her. Stebbins began searching for her mother months before Haught made the decision to find Julie.

"Something just told me that it wasn't the right time yet," Stebbins said.

A coincidence - no - it's more a miracle that the right time in Julie's heart was also the right time for her biological mother.

After exchanging several emails, Haught who lives in Myrtle Beach, SC and Stebbins resides in Charleston, W.Va, met each other halfway in Mount Airy, NC, the first weekend in July.

The mother and daughter had an instant connection and learned they shared many similarities, such as their faith and politics. Through learning about one another, Haught and Stebbins have found many coincidences such as shared family names.

"It's just been so natural," said Stebbins.

Stebbins reunited with her extended biological family on Oct. 28 at the Lewis-Wetzel Family Center.

Tragedy brought this family to one another, and together, they are mending their broken hearts.

"The whole experience has been mind blowing, phenomenal and emotional," said Haught.



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