Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Adopted Daughter E-Mails Her Way into `Luann' Cartoonist's Life

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Adopted Daughter E-Mails Her Way into `Luann' Cartoonist's Life

Article excerpt

Most people use a syndicate Web site to find information about features. Rhonda Nabors found her father.

"Luann" cartoonist Greg Evans and his wife, Betty, gave Rhonda up for adoption just after she was born in 1969. Nearly three decades later, the United Media site helped lead Rhonda to email these words to Greg: "I think I may be your daughter."

Rhonda learned the names of her birth parents and other information about them in 1990. Several years later, after searching sporadically and hitting several dead ends, the comics' reader began wondering if Greg Evans the "Luann" creator was Greg Evans her father.

Then Rhonda spotted United's Web address (www. in the strip, accessed the "Luann" section of the site and found a bio of Greg that matched some of what she already knew. She also found his e-mail address -- and, eventually, her roots.

"Maybe they should rename the site the `United Media ComicZone and Adoptee Locater Service,'" jokes Greg.

In her first message, Rhonda used the pretext of asking Greg if he had any advice for her 12-year-old son, Jonathan Upchurch, an avid artist who wanted to become a cartoonist long before he knew Greg was his grandfather!

"He answered the same day," recalls Rhonda, who was impressed that a widely syndicated cartoonist replied so quickly.

Then Rhonda gathered the courage to send another e-mail revealing the family connection she was virtually sure of.

The message "blew my hair back," says Greg. But after the initial shock, "we were both very moved and very excited." He and Betty e-mailed that they were indeed Rhonda's birth parents.

"I read the first line and began screaming and crying and laughing," Rhonda remembers.

A long phone conversation followed, and Rhonda and her family later flew from Texas to Southern California to visit the Evanses.

Ironically, Rhonda had lived about 15 miles from her birth parents in 1987, when she was married to a marine (Jonathan's father) stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Rhonda later remarried and had two other children -- meaning Greg, 51, and Betty, 49, are suddenly the grandparents of three. They're also the parents of three, because the couple had two other children themselves after marrying in 1971: Gary, 23; and Karen, 19.

Why did Betty and Greg, students in 1969 at what is now Cai State Northridge, give Rhonda up for adoption? They say they weren't ready to get married at the time, single motherhood had more of a stigma then than today, and family members weren't available to help raise a child. …

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