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From the darkness of abuse to the lights of Times Square

Shawn’s teen birth parents wanted their son to have a good life. The unwed couple believed adoption was the one thing they could do to help guarantee a bright future for the boy. Shawn’s mother turned to the Baptist Maternity Home in Asheville and Shawn was adopted after his birth in 1972.

“I’m convinced if they had known what my life was to become, they would have never put me up for adoption,” forty-six-year-old Shawn Fitchett says. “But how could they have known?”

Shawn’s adoptive mom and dad fought, and the anger his mom felt flowed over onto him. His mom told neighbors that the three-year-old boy’s bruises were evidence of what they feared may be leukemia. Her stories began to create suspicion. She was arrested, convicted on two counts of child abuse, and jailed.

The parents divorced. Shawn lived with his adoptive dad and when his father remarried, the man’s new wife said Shawn had to go. Shawn was 13 years old.