Winter Garden woman planning trip to Texas to meet biological parents

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WINTER GARDEN — Eleven-month-old Eloise Dollar lights up the room with her mischievous grin and blue eyes. Her mother wonders about her own childhood — what she looked like as a child, whom she resembles, the details of her family medical history. She would love to see some of her own baby pictures.

Erika Dollar, 28, who is adopted and grew up in Winter Garden, is hoping to get information — maybe some photos — from her biological mother when the two finally meet this summer.

Erika and her older brother, Timmy, and younger sister, Alyssa, were removed from their parents when they were 3 years, 5 years and 17 months, respectively. They were adopted by Jerry and Cheryl Jaskot and grew up in Winter Garden.


Erika said there are several different stories surrounding their departure from the home, her birth mother’s family’s version and that of her biological dad’s family.

She does know her birth parents were 16 and 18 when they married. Her father, Tim, was a band roadie and spent a great deal of time away from home, traveling with the musicians. She also knows that at some point, her biological mom, Kerry, was unable to continue caring for the three children and child services stepped in.

“He couldn’t be there to raise us, and she couldn’t do it,” Erika said.

Once they were removed from the home, Erika said, the three children were quickly adopted and moved to Florida. 

Winter Garden residents Jerry and Cheryl Jaskot had two sons when they adopted the three siblings in July 1989; Erika said she was told her adoptive family wanted a girl. The five Jaskot children attended Tildenville Elementary, Lakeview Middle and West Orange High.

“We know we have a much better life than we would have,” Erika said.

“Jerry and I were so happy when our family was made complete with the adoption of Tim, Erika and Alyssa,” Cheryl Jaskot said. “We had a semi-open adoption, so there was contact with the parents throughout the years. Since the advent of the Internet and Facebook, this contact was readily available without our help.”

When Timmy turned 18, he got in touch with his biological mother, Kerry, through Facebook. The children knew some details about her already because the Jaskots had routinely received photos and letters from Kerry through the adoption agency. They also know they have two more sisters, born to Kerry after her first three children were adopted.

Timmy served in the U.S. Air Force and was at one time stationed in Texas, where Tim and Kerry live. He is the only one of the three siblings to have met them, but Erika said he won’t talk about the experience.

Erika has spoken to Kerry on the phone but has not met her in person. She said her biological mother tends to be negative, and it’s hard to have a relationship with her. Cheryl has even offered to pay for Kerry to fly to Orlando, but that trip never happened.

“I want to still meet them,” Erika said. “I have no baby pictures. We don’t have any pictures with Kerry at all. I have no pictures of me, other than that one, until I was 3 and adopted.

“After having a baby, it became even more important,” she said. “There are so many questions I want answered. Now that I have a baby, I can’t imagine not having her around, can’t imagine walking away from her, let alone leaving three.”


One of Erika’s friends, also adopted, had applied to be part of a show on the Oxygen channel called “Finding My Father.” Women who are selected to participate are interviewed, and then private investigators try to locate the biological father. If contact is made, then a reunion meeting is set up — and it all unfolds on the reality TV show.

Erika sent in an application, as well, and producers liked her story. She took part in a written interview, several phone interviews and a video interview.

In April, she received the call that her story was chosen and a film crew would be coming to Winter Garden, so Erika and her husband, Brian, got busy pressure-washing the house and getting it cleaned up. A background check was done on her. She and her sister, Alyssa, were preparing for an all-expenses-paid trip to Texas to come face-to-face with their birth parents after 26 years.

But something happened, Erika said, that sabotaged the filming, the trip and any plans for her story to air on national television. A week before the film crew was to arrive in Winter Garden, Erika was notified that one of Tim’s family members did not want the story to be shared.

Tim was in a car crash 10 years ago, has a severe brain injury and has lived ever since in a nursing home in Texas. He is a ward of the state. Kerry lives about two hours away. Erika doesn’t know whether the two have stayed in touch.

This family member, who previously had been in contact with Erika through Kerry, offered information about his whereabouts and provided an address and phone number. Because he is a ward of the state, though, nursing home officials would not allow Tim to be filmed and or even verify that he was a resident there.

Erika said since her initial contact with the nursing home, state officials have given her permission to visit him and are working on allowing his biological children to make phone calls to him directly. The three children have been told Tim has problems with his short-term memory but his long-term memory is intact.

“We’ve been told he misses us and is aware of us,” Erika said.


Erika, Brian and Eloise Dollar are driving to Texas in July.

“Her brother has met both the biological parents, and I am so glad that Erika is able to make this journey also,” Cheryl Jaskot said. “I hope her questions will be answered and positive relationships will be formed.”

This is a no-expenses-paid trip for the family, so they are trying to raise as much money as possible in the next few months to help pay for gas, food and lodging.

They are holding a garage sale June 12 and 13, and Erika has set up an account on the GoFundMe crowdfunding page.

She wrote: “I was adopted at 3 years old, and I have always wondered and dreamed about seeing my biological parents again and finding out if I looked like them.”


Erika Dollar is holding a garage sale to help raise money for her trip to Texas this summer to reunite with her biological parents. It is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 12, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at 536 Palm Drive, Winter Garden. To donate items for the sale, contact Erika at [email protected].

Anyone wishing to donate also can do so at Dollar’s GoFundMe page,

Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].


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