HIGH POINT, N.C. -- There is a desire in every human to know where they came from.
Shirene Gentry knew she was adopted when she was young – somewhere between 7 months and maybe a year. She was born in Iran but has no birth certificate. In fact, almost everything about her life is more story than documented.
She grew up in Virginia and went to Wake Forest University, met her husband there and they’ve happily raised a family in High Point where Joel is a dentist. Since there isn’t much documentation about where she came from, other than being born on Oct. 11, 1962, in Tehran, it’s not central to her life. But, recently, she came across an old ring that an Iranian official gave to her and her mother when they were still stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, as her father, Col. Dan Hritzko, was near the end of his career in the Air Force.
“I have had it in my jewelry box ever since my grandmother passed away in 1987,” Gentry said.
She took it to have someone look at it.
“The gemologist comes out to greet me and he says, ‘Have you seen the engraving inside the ring?’” Gentry said.
The engraving hints at royalty – a royalty of which Gentry may be part and, perhaps, could have remained part of, if she hadn’t been adopted by the Hritzkos.
“Would my life have been different?” Gentry said. “I can't even imagine.”
And there’s not much reason to since she loves her life in High Point. But she’s written a book about her life called "Identity Unveiled, Daughter of the King of Kings."
She doesn’t sugar-coat anything in the book, referring to herself as an illegitimate child, since she was born out of wedlock in Iran.
“(Being referred to as illegitimate) doesn't bother me because, although it speaks to who I think I am, illegitimate to me is just a label and I don't walk in that identity and so it doesn't threaten me,” Gentry said.
And she has no regret about being adopted by American parents.
“I can't miss what I did not have,” she said.
She hopes everyone can learn something from her life story and the challenges she had growing up with parents who had a hard time getting past their own personal pain.
“It's about me coming full circle with what I've discovered about them and then what I've had to do to move forward in my own life,” Gentry said. “It's part memoir, it's part life-coaching.”
See who Gentry believes her famous father is in this edition of the Buckley Report.