St. Mary’s Hospital: Where My Brother and I Were Born and Adopted

My brother John and I were both born at St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital, he in 1953 and me in 1957.

Our father was a Pediatrician and was on staff at St. Mary’s as well as having a private practice.  Our mother was an OR Nurse when they met at Fort Sam Houston during WWII (they both were in the Air Corps) and in the early part of their marriage she worked in his office.  After John arrived she was a stay at home mom.

Fort Sam Houston

We had a very good life.  I was the annoying little sister and he was a very tolerant big brother. We both knew we were adopted and neither one of us were obsessed with finding out the back story of our beginnings.

Some adopted people are intent on knowing their back story and other’s are not.  I became interested and took action after having cancer in 2014.  My brother is still not.

Those of us who have done DNA and jumped into the deep end of Genetic Genealogy pool need to and I do of my brother, respect their lack of intent.

An interesting side note about my brother’s stay at St. Mary’s during the early part of September of 1953. My maternal half sister who I was to find 60 years later was in the nursery at the same time.  She was born at the end of August of 1953.

St Mary’s Hospital and Infant Asylum

So for my adoption story.  Some of it I hypothesize and other parts I know from information from my Aunt on my mother’s side.

I was born Mary Susan Roy.


The hypothesis part stems from the fact that my father was on staff at St. Mary’s at the time of my adoption.  I do remember when I would go to St. Mary’s on Sunday mornings after mass with my dad a nurse/nun telling me how happy he was the day they adopted me.

(After my dad passed away in February of 2004 it occurred to me that he might of know who was my birth mother.  Not sure why it took me so long to think about this idea.)

I surmise that my dad talked to Sister Genevieve (she was the administrator of St. Mary’s in 1955 so am guessing she still was in 1957) about adopting a daughter in late 1956/early 1957.

My mother, I believe stayed with some maternal aunts in Syracuse as she got close to delivering.  My two Aunts (her sisters) and Grandmother knew she was pregnant. She might of done some light work at the hospital while she waited to deliver me.

The part I know from my Aunt:

After I was delivered my parents went to meet my bio mother and grandmother in the hospital. My grandparents would have liked to of kept me.  However at the time they were raising my older half sister who was 4 at the time. I also had a Ventricular Septal Defect which is a small hole in your heart.  It closed on it’s own.

According to my aunt, she remembers that my grandmother was very happy when she came home from the hospital because a Doctor and Nurse wanted to adopt me.

St Mary's 1955
Clip from Syracuse Herald American 5/30/1955 courtesy of The Onondaga County Historical Society

In April of 1957 I came home from the hospital with my parents. As I read my adoption papers it appears that they were my foster parents.  Not sure why wither they were just trying me out for a while or if my bio mother wasn’t totally sure or if this is just how it worked.

On August 14th 1958 Mary Susan Roy was officially adopted and became Sarah Ann Needham.


  1. Ok, I’m crying. Thank you for sharing this story.

    I remember in our early friendship days asking a couple of tentative questions about your adoption. My impression then and now is that you didn’t ask your father and mother questions – like if they knew your biological mother & family – because you were so happy which Mr & Mrs N.; that it wasn’t very interesting to you at that time to know any more than when your life begin with them ❤.

Leave a Reply