RETURN TO AMISH Birth mom says Shelly’s adopted Mennonite parents stole her

On Sunday night’s episode of Return To Amish, Shelly finally worked up the nerve to call her birth mother, who she had not seen since she was four years old. The conversation took a very unexpected turn when her mother made some very startling claims about Shelly’s adopted parents!

Shelly previously revealed that her mother was in prison when she was little, and that her Mennonite foster parents used to take her to the prison to visit. But Shelly says the visitations ended when she was four, and she was officially adopted when she was five. Or so she thought.

Shelly calls her birth mother (Carmen), and after some awkward back and forth in the beginning of the conversation, Shelly begins to ask questions about her adoption — and that’s when Carmen shares her jaw-dropping accusations. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:

SHELLY: I would like to know what really happened with my adoption.

CARMEN: I never gave my child up for adoption. I had you in prison in Mexico, Missouri I got out of prison in 2003.

SHELLY: Why did you not take me back?

CARMEN: I was on parole and she was not gonna let you go nowhere. I was supposed to get you back when I got back from incarceration. She had two fake birth certificates made up.

SHELLY (NARRATING): I think that I was more mad at my birth mom than anything because — I don’t know, I just feel like she was bringing up stuff as a way to cover up for herself, because she feels guilty for giving me up. But at the same time, I don’t feel like she wanted to give me up for adoption.

SHELLY: So my adoption was never supposed to happen?

CARMEN: No, I never signed nothing.

SHELLY (NARRATING): My birth mom told me that my Mennonite mom stole me away from her, and that she never signed papers to give me up. But, my mom told me that Carmen abandoned me. She didn’t come to pick me up when she had the chance, and so my mom adopted me. I do not know whether to believe my Mennonite mom or my birth mom.

CARMEN: She knows exactly what she did. I mean, I cried to see you go. I really don’t have too much to say about that white devil.

SHELLY (NARRATING): I love my Mennonite mom, so it’s hard for me to sit here and listen to my birth mom say all these things about her, like calling her a “white devil” and saying that my adoption was illegal.

SHELLY: Alright, well I’m gonna get off now.

CARMEN: All right, love you more. Love you more, forever and ever.

SHELLY (NARRATING): I don’t know what to think. I definitely want to visit my birth mom, not only because I have a lot of questions about my adoption, but because I want to know who I am, and where I came from, and I want to know my culture.

Shelly later talked with Jeremiah about her situation, and he shared his story of meeting his birth family — which was a horrific nightmare that has scarred him emotionally. He breaks down as he reveals that he has the word “worthless” on his body somewhere — I assume a tattoo — and that he sometimes prays that his birth mother would die.

Regardless of Jeremiah’s warning, Shelly says she stills wants to meet her birth mom because she feels it’s something she needs to do.

I assume that with this big of a tease that Shelly will actually get to meet her birth mother and viewers will get to see it on the show. Of course, the only way we’ll know for sure is to tune in for new episodes of Return To Amish airing Sunday nights at 10/9c on TLC!

Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)

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