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Reunion Stories

Your Daughter Needs You

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Posted: 2/5/2009
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

/images/stories.asp?i=20110523130931.0.jpgI've been an investigator for several years, but one of the 'first' cases I ever accepted remains to this day, as one of the most eerie and unusual reunions that I've ever been privileged to be a part of. Let me share the story with you, and I'm sure you will agree.

It started when I received an e-mail one day that asked if I could talk with young lady to discuss a request to locate a missing sister that she had just learned of. The author of the e-mail said that there was some urgency and urged me to reply as soon as possible with a number she could reach me at, since the story she had to tell me was lengthy and also somewhat unusual. I returned her request with my telephone number and suggested she call me that evening.

When I answered the ringing phone later that night, a young woman introduced herself as Ann, and said that she currently lived in North Carolina, but had grown up in the desert area of California. She sounded very young, and also very shaken about something, so I gently encouraged her to tell me why she was calling. This is the story that she related to me.

Ann's mother, Mary, was in the hospital after suffering a massive and life threatening heart attack. In fact, for several minutes during the start of her treatment, she had shown no signs of life and the doctors had been less than encouraging about her odds of surviving the crisis when they initially discussed her prognosis with her husband and two daughters. The family was distraught with the thought that they could lose Mary without having a few more minutes to share their love of her, with her. Ann flew from North Carolina to California where she met her sister and father at the hospital. They walked to the Chapel and prayed to the Lord that they would have such a chance.

Twelve hours later Mary's condition stabilized and the doctors removed the respirator. The family was allowed into her intensive care room with instructions to stay calm and not excite Mary in any way. She opened her eyes and started to cry. Ann tried to calm her and tell her that things would be fine, but the tears still fell. Mary sobbed, "Why wouldn't he let me stay? I don't understand!" Confused, Ann asked her mother what she was talking about. Mary related this experience.

I felt an incredible pressure in my chest and I could not catch my breath. I looked up and there was a bright warm light in front of me, and it was so welcoming that I went to the light. When I reached the entrance the Lord was waiting and welcomed me. I walked into his embrace and it was like walking into the arms of my family, there was so much unspoken love present. But then he said to me, "Mary, you must go back, your daughter needs you!" I said, "Lord, I have two beautiful daughters, they are both well, they are happy, and although they will miss me, they don't 'need' me. They will be fine with the love of their father and their love of God. Please let me stay!" Again the figure said, "You must go back, your daughter needs you!" And then Mary understood. She shared this amazing and heartbreaking story with her family.

When Mary was 16 years old, and living with an angry and embittered divorced mother in Northern California, she had reached out to a young man she met in school and a loving relationship developed between the two in a few secret dates. Their intimacy resulted in a pregnancy that came as an unwelcome shock to Mary's mother when she became aware of the situation. Her mother was angry and abusive towards Mary. She beat her several times, and forced her to drink horrible concoctions which included lye based drain cleaner in the attempt to cause a miscarriage. When those attempts failed to terminate the pregnancy, her mother attacked her again physically and kicked her several times in the stomach. Mary ran to neighbors for help, and they contacted a social worker who immediately intervened and helped place Mary in a home for unwed mothers nearby to wait for the baby's delivery. A few months later Mary gave birth to baby. No one would tell her if her baby was a girl or boy, and no one would tell her if the baby was healthy. The social worker came to the hospital to have Mary sign a document that would terminate her parental rights and allow for the adoption of the baby. Since she was a minor and still under her mother's legal control, she had no other choice but to comply even though it broke her heart. However, she refused to sign the document until they told her the sex of the baby, and assured her that the baby was all right. She learned that she had delivered a healthy baby girl, and knowing that she could not return home with the baby, and fearing that if she did not comply her mother could cause harm to the child, she signed. She asked to go to a foster home and never spoke again to her own mother.

Ann was amazed at Mary's story. She asked her why she had never told the family before now anything of the history of her older sister's birth. Mary said it was too painful to discuss, and she didn't want her children to think that she had willingly given away a baby but was sharing the story 'now' because the Lord had told her that her 'daughter' needed her. She had no idea why, but since her other girls were fine it had to mean that her lost daughter needed something that only Mary could give her.

Quietly, Ann asked, "Susan, can you 'find' my sister? Can you ask her to talk to my mother? Please tell her we would have looked for her sooner if we had only known!" Then she said, "We don't have any money to hire you. The medical bills for my mother are going to be huge and I'm serving as an assistant with my church and get paid very little. I know it's a lot to ask, but...." Ann didn't know that during her account of her mother's story, that a feeling came over me that I 'WAS' to help. That somehow Ann had been guided to write to the 'one' person online that would not 'scoff' at her story. I told her that I would see what I could do and wrote down her contact information. The next morning the phone rang and it was Mary, calling me from the hospital to thank me for whatever I could do to help. She gave me her daughter's date and place of birth and any other information she thought might help me to locate her daughter. She sounded very weak and depressed, and I promised her that I would do all I could help.

Surprisingly, and with very little research, I was able to find a young woman living on the outer banks of North Carolina who had not only been born in California on the right date, but who had also been adopted. I was amazed at the immediate success, but figured that someone or somebody wanted this to happen quickly. She was living less than an hour's travel time from Ann's temporary home.

I immediately placed a call to Sarah to see if she might be the right person. Sarah was ANGRY. She was furious that I had found her, and equally as angry that the woman that had given birth to her and who had 'tried' to abort her would be wanting to speak to her now, after all of these years. According to what her 'parents' had told her, she had no desire for any kind of contact of any sort with the woman who had given her away. After a few tense moments, Sarah agreed to listen to what I had to say. I asked her to keep an open mind. That 'social worker' notes were not always accurate when it came to relating the true picture in what the actual 'facts' were. I asked her for her permission to have Ann call her, and she grudgingly agreed, but warned me that she wasn't making 'any' promises about contact with Mary. I told her, "Sarah, I understand what you are saying, and I understand how angry you are at me for contacting you, yell all you want at ME, but please just give your birth family a chance to tell their side of the story. I promise you that you will discover the answers to all of those unasked questions you have had your entire life."

I called Ann to tell her that I'd found her sister and gave her the telephone number so she could make a call to Sarah. I also asked that she please keep me in the loop on what happened next between Sarah and her family.

Three weeks passed, and despite several attempts to call Ann, I was unable to reach her in North Carolina for an update. I left several messages asking her to return my call, as well as giving her both my home and office contact information in case she had misplaced it.

Another week passed, and it was Friday. I walked outside to the mailbox to get the mail and there was a huge manilla envelope in the box with a California address on it, and a suspicious lump in the middle. When I went inside and sat down and opened the envelope a small square box slid out, with a lapel pin of an Angel enclosed. There was also a letter that said...

Dear Susan, I know you have been trying to reach me, but I thought I would answer by letter since my father wanted to send you this pin. I am in California with my family because my mother died last week, and we are planning to have a ceremony to do as she had requested and spread her ashes on the mountains that she so loved. Mom wanted me to THANK YOU for making her last wish come true. Sarah called our mom, and mother was able to tell her how much she had always loved and missed her. They talked for two hours. That evening mom's heart just gave out and she died. Personally I think that mom kept her promise to the Lord and he let her come home for good. Oh, one other thing. Right after she talked to Sarah, she called her OWN mother for the first time since this whole thing happened. I have no idea what they talked about, but I have my grandmother's phone number and I think, sometime in the future, I might call her myself. Sarah says to thank you and you were right about whatever it was you told her. Dad says to tell you that mom was 'finally' at peace and what you gave to her was worth much more than this little pin, but to us...you ARE an angel in training. All my love~~Ann.

(Written by Susan Friel-Williams)
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