love is when somebody has the choice whether or not to love you and they choose it,” Shellman continues. “My adopted family did that for me, I was able to do that in return, and my birth family has chosen that now, too. What’s better than that? Not Enyce, not all the success and money in the world. Nothing is better than that!”
When a child loses a mother, especially a girl, I think a lot of people say, ‘Well, now what’s going to happen to that girl?’ People treat you differently, they talk to you differently, they don’t know what to say or how to be with you. Surely I’d become more promiscuous, I’d become a teenaged mother, or a rebel. You could see what they were thinking on their faces. That really bothered me and made me determined to prove them wrong.
They told me I either had AIDS, sickle cell anemia, or leukemia, and that I needed to get to a large metropolitan hospital right away. They said the situation was so dire that I should fly, not drive, because in the event of a car accident, even a minor injury would probably cause me to bleed to death.
When I got to goals, I realized that nothing was related to law. It was all about theater and film. I had these great ideas about how to revolutionize the film business and I wanted to give myself a chance to try.
I was living with nuns, and then, on Christmas Eve 1968, I went home to my parents. December 24th was my mother’s birthday, so my dad always said I was her birthday present that year. From day one, I knew I was adopted, but they always said, ‘We love you more than anything. You’re our special, precious gift.’ They knew nothing about my birth parents, but they always said they’d support me if I wanted to look.