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Man was abandoned when he was baby

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Two weeks ago today, a newborn was found left in a paper bag and abandoned in Chesterfield. Tonight that baby girl is doing well in foster care...but police continue to look for her parents. Her story, as well as the abandoned infant found in Henrico back in August -- struck a chord with one local man.

Years ago, when he was just one day old, he too was put in a paper bag and left in the middle of a field. Tonight, he wants to share his story in hopes the parents in these current cases, come forward.

Eddie Mateyka, is years ahead of that Chesterfield baby... Yet his story is eerily similar. In 1980, he was thrown away in a paperbag. Abandoned in a field. Tonight, he takes us there. A first-hand account of what life is like for abandoned children.

Even at 29 years old Edward Mateyka, is still adjusting.

Melissa Correa: "You were found May 12th in tall grass behind an abandoned house."
Edward Mateyka: "A day after I was born, I was found here just off of Shady Brook Trail."

A Southampton County woman found, the now married father of one, in a paper bag. Despite sunburn and a list of other medical problems, he was alive.

Melissa Correa: "Does it make you wonder, who would want to give me up; I was such a good baby?"
Edward Mateyka: "I've always wondered. What were the circumstances surrounding my biological parents. What was my biological mother thinking or doing?"

He's dealt with the questions for years. Although his adoptive parents never kept his abandonment a secret, it was a disturbing reality Eddie sometimes didn't want to face.

"You start to notice the outside world noticing differences. Classmates asking my brother, how come your brother Eddie is different? You try to find ways to cope with that. My way, I guess, was humor. I'd tell people; Oh I slept in the oven too long."

But humor couldn't mask his true feelings: anger.

"You realize, I mean really realize for the first time in your life that you were just thrown away for nothing. It cuts deep."

Six years ago Eddie garnered the courage to actively pursue his past. He knew it would lead him back to Southampton County, he just didn't realize how much information was here. During his search, Eddie found a report saved by his caseworker.

"It's led to me finally discovering who my foster family was and meeting them for the first time," he said.

He now has baby photos and his DNA is in a database just in case his biological parents ever come looking. It's this longing for truth, Eddie hopes the abandoned baby in Chesterfield never has to deal with.

"I often wonder when I hear these stories, what is it inside a person that would want them, that would make them, that would have them do this to an infant child."

He prays the baby girl's parents come forward, or at least provide her with information about her past. Knowing any abandoned child may have to endure a life of questions like Eddie's breaks his heart.

"I don't think there will ever be closure. But with time it gets easier to forgive and to move on."

With the help of his family, Eddie Matekya has made the best of his life. He's married and this December he celebrates his son's first birthday. He says, every time there's news of an abandoned baby, he thinks back to that field in Southamton County.

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