Teanna Elliot is one step closer to knowing who she is.
The Kelowna woman who is also known as “Baby Mary” embarked on a public search for her birth mother earlier this year and received a package Thursday that sheds a bit of light on the lifelong mystery.
“I now know what I am … what my DNA is,” she said.
With the help of a DNA registry, Elliot can say with confidence that she is 100 per cent European, mostly Irish, with a dash of other points across the continent in the mix.
“When I was younger it was cool to be different, and everybody knew who they were and I was different,” she said, adding that she liked the mystery that shrouded her in those years.
“Now I know and it’s kind of weird.”
While the DNA may be an anecdote in an already interesting life-story, Elliot pointed out that it’s not what she’s been searching for.
“I’m still missing that big piece of the puzzle of who birthed me,” she said.
The public search for her birth mother has yielded no substantial clues, despite the fact that media agencies across the country picked up the story more than three months ago. This DNA registry may offer a link to more substantial familial ties.
With the popularity of registries of this kind growing, Elliot has a lead on someone who shares enough DNA that they appear to be a second cousin.
The link is tenuous at the moment, but she has high hopes it will materialize into something more.
“Maybe then I can find a grandparent, or even a parent,” she said.
The identity of Elliot became a mystery Nov. 25, 1987, when two teenage boys skateboarding in a Calgary shopping centre parking lot saw something tucked between a parked Mercedes-Benz and the curb.
A green garbage bag contained a newborn that would soon make national news with the name “Baby Mary.” From the look of things she’d had just been born, still covered in blood and afterbirth and attached to her umbilical cord.
The boys called a passerby to the scene, and all three made their way to a medical centre where police were called.
No leads on who left Baby Mary behind ever came to the fore and the investigation ground to a halt not long after she was absorbed into the loving family who raised her and renamed her Teanna.
That family is Mike and Teresa Guzzi. They were like everyone else in Calgary at the time, caught up with the story of Baby Mary. The difference in their case was that Teresa saw something else—the missing piece of their family.
“My mother had already had my brother, but they wanted another baby,” said Elliot, explaining it was impossible for her mother to do so biologically, because of a recent cancer battle.
“They were on an adoption list, and when they were watching the news that morning, my mom said, ‘oh my gosh, Mike, I want this baby.’”
Mike tried to discourage her, thinking it was a long shot, but she persisted and contacted a social worker.
It took nine days until the Guzzis took Elliot home.
At first she was their foster baby, then six months later they were given permission to adopt.
“My parents shaped me, and they made me who I am,” said Elliot. “They are so supportive. I know a lot of people say, ‘you should be grateful for your adoptive parents.’
“But they’re not my adoptive parents, they are my mom and dad.”