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Bruins guard Rockwell has strong bonds with adoptive family, Belmont friends

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Jessica Bobbitt, LaWanna Holiday, Rockwell and Kristin Bunch, all basketball players for Belmont, met at the first all African-Amerian recruiting class and consider themselves to be sisters, living mere feet from each other. Bobbit, Bunch and Rockwell are also members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

At 21, Amber Rockwell is poised to find her family.

The Bruins guard was 3 months old when Larry and Diara Rockwell adopted her and then raised her in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She is now old enough by Georgia adoption laws – she was born Sept. 3, 1986, in Marietta, Ga. – to view whatever information her birth parents have made available to her on the adoption Web site.

Rockwell has not delved anymore into the history of her birth parents yet, but intends. “Medical records are probably the most important thing I would want to know,” she said, noting that that information could be useful as it relates to her health as an adult. However, that is not the only reason she will search them out; curiosity and unanswered questions play a part as well.

“Yeah, I would want to know what they looked like to see which one I favored...”she said about her birth parents. “I would want to know if I had any siblings or a twin; that would be cool. I would also want to know why they put me up for adoption.”

While Rockwell is still in the dark about exactly who her birth mother is and why she gave her up for adoption, she is grateful that she did.

“She could have easily aborted me and there would be no me.”

As a high school freshman, Rockwell Googled her name.

“I was just bored and wondered what would happen when I Googled my name to see how many other Amber Rockwell’s there are in the world.” Rockwell’s adopted mother put her information on an adoption Web site, and they discovered some information about her birth mother – she was a basketball player.

“When I found out she played ball, I kind of got a chill because when I was little, I wanted to be a professional soccer player but the first time I played [basketball] in middle school, I fell in love with it.” Rockwell, who is at Belmont on a full basketball scholarship, wondered, “Who knows? Maybe it was something God wanted to pass down to me from her.”

Apart from the curiosity surrounding her birth, her heart is completely with her adopted family. She expressed that she felt a deep gratefulness that she had a family. Her face took on a glowing, loving expression when she described how they attended most of her home games and how they talked by phone every day, both her parents and siblings. She has two sisters and a brother.

The adoption has had a very lasting, positive impact on her life. The continuous love and support she received from them didn’t just guide her successes; the bond she had with her family also gave her the tools to build her extended family away from college.

Rockwell is as a member of the Tau Nu Chapter of the sorority Delta Sigma Theta. She has formed lasting bonds.

“We are taught that being a Delta is a sisterhood. All of the girls in the sorority are literally your sister until the day you die. I can talk to them about anything and be honest with them whether it’s about a positive or negative issue.”

The Bruins also led her to meet some of her very best friends, whom she considers sisters as well. She met four basketball players when she joined what she understood to be the first all African-American recruiting class. While one transferred out last year, the remaining three, Jessica Bobbitt, Kristin Bunch and LaWanna Holiday, remain at Belmont. Bobbitt is Rockwell’s roommate, and Bunch and Holiday are right next door. Bobbitt and Bunch are also fellow members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

“Each one of us is different, but the same,” Rockwell said. “Our personalities mesh, I can’t remember a time where we have been mad with each other. We know that we are all sisters and that we can talk things out.”

Rockwell’s adoption brought positive opportunities into her life. Her major is exercise science, and she wants to play women’s professional basketball overseas. When she exhausts her professional athletic career, she wants to pursue either athletic training or physical therapy. While she is interested in learning about the history behind her adoption, she considers Larry and Diara Rockwell her parents.

“I live a good life now,” she said. “I appreciate what my birth parents did, but as far as me calling them mom and dad, that would never happen because my mom and dad have been the perfect parents and brought me up well.

“Nobody could compare to them or what they have done for me.”

February 28, 2008

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