Part of the story that is almost overlooked is that the child, now named Ruth Lee and the mother of a retired astronaut, was the product of what could have only been a brutal rape.
In 1928 two teenage girls, one of them Minka Disbrow, were walking in the woods when three men jumped out and raped them. Disbrow was sixteen at the time, and didn't even know where babies came from yet
NOT BLAMING THE CHILD
Though the daughter she gave birth to was adopted, Minka Disbrow did not blame the child, or forget about her, or think of herself as anything but the girl's mother. For years she wrote letters to the agency though which her daughter had been adopted, and until the agency changed hands, received updates on her daughter's welfare. The girl's childhood was apparently a good one, and it wasn't until she was in her seventies when she developed heart problems that she began looking into her past, and wanted to find her true family. She petitioned the court in South Dakota, and eventually got a huge stack of papers that led to 94-year-old Minka Disbrow, mother of two other children. Dianna Huhn, 65, Disbrow's raised daughter who lives in Portland, Oregon told the Oregonian "'I have never seen my mother as happy.'"
Rape is an issue in adoption, and is often used as one of the bugaboo reasons that legislators insist there must be a "contact veto" in any legislation unsealing birth certificates, allowing women whose children were the product of a rape to continue to push this terrible secret down. But don't they see how that continues to punish the children for the sins of their elders? For the brutality of their fathers? Sitting before a legislator who has his mind made up against opening records, or who is on the fence about what to do, it is often hard to counteract their statements. What about the woman who was raped? I've been asked more than once when lobbying.
Brave women like Minka Disbrow are the example we need to tell them about. Not only did she not turn away from her child, she continued to keep her memory alive through the years. When Ruth Lee's family got the documents pertaining to her birth and adoption, the file contained 270 pages, including all the letters Minka Disbrow had written to the adoption agency. That's clearly proof of a mother who is more than a "birth mother."
WILL OTHER WOMEN LIKE MINKA STAND UP
Minka Disbrow is not the only one. Roberta MacDonald in Maine who led the fight there to unseal birth records gave up the child who was born after a rape. Artist and filmmaker Shelia Ganz is another. I know there are many more. We can only hope that the widespread dissemination of Minka Disbrows's story, and her life-affirming reunion with her daughter after more than three-quarters of a century, will encourage others who had a similar experience to emerge and not be ashamed. Silence hurts us all. Silence keeps original birth records sealed. Silence is our enemy. --lorraine
Source: Minka Disbrow, at 94, Reunited With Biological Child 77 Years Later