|Lorraine at work|
We don't write about them often at FMF, but every now and then one tugs at one's heart strings more than usual, or has a message beyond simple reunion relief. That is the case today.
An 96-year-old mother was found and reunited with her daughter of 82! And in the Very Sealed Records State of New York.
Lena Pierce was only 14 when she had a child in 1933 in Utica. She cared for her baby, whom she named Eva May, for six months until the state of New York intervened,
citing Lena as too young for motherhood. We don't know more details here but we have to assume that her parents--or lack of parents--were involved, and no one fought the forced termination of Lena's right to raise her daughter, or gave her the necessary help.
ADOPTIVE PARENTS DIE, NO SIBLINGS...
Eva was adopted on Long Island--where I live--and renamed Betty Morrell. She had no siblings. Her adoptive mother died when Morell was 21. A few years later, her adoptive father died. "I had imaginary sisters, and I had imaginary brothers," Betty Morrell told a reporter for WBNG-TV in Binghamton, New York. "And I had them all named and I would talk to them at night." But for a half century her brothers and sisters would remain only in her mind. "There was no connection--nothing to tie me to anybody," she said.
She did have brothers and sisters, as her biological birth mother had married and had seven other children. But Lena never forgot her first child.
Betty Morrell began searching for her mother, and was given a big boost decades later when an aunt--who knew the details of the adoption--told her that she was born in Utica and her name had been Eva. A call to one of the Utica hospitals led to a birth certificate for a girl born there on her birthday, Feb. 11, 1933. Morrell, now living in Florida, convinced someone at the hospital to send her that piece of paper that held her identity. It's worth noting that 1933 is prior to when records were sealed in New York--that happened a few years later--and besides that, when Eva was born, there was no immediate plan for her to be adopted. It's likely that is why the hospital had the record birth record without any restrictions noted.
Betty Morrell soon had her original birth certificate, and right there was her mother's name!
With the help of a granddaughter, Morrell was able to find a sibling through ancestry.com--and Voila! that led to the reunion recently, a few days after Morrell's 82nd birthday. "When it all came through, and she was alive, and I had been talking to her on the phone...it was like, it's all gone! My life is complete at this point."
Lena, her natural mother said: "It seems unbelievable. All this time, and now I'm finally going to see her again. I would say it's going to be a beautiful day, when I get to see my daughter."
Mother and daughter met and embraced at the Greater Binghamton Airport. "I'm not alone anymore," Morrell said. "I have my mother, and I have sisters and brothers. It's surreal, but so wonderful to be together again after all this time."
What possible good can come out of continuing New York's sealed birth records statutes from the Thirties? They inflict unnecessary sorrow and pain, they continue the lie behind sealed-records statutes, they now only serve only selfish adoptive parents and those mothers wish to remain anonymous. Furthermore, DNA testing and found relatives, as well as ancestry.com are proving that the laws are often mere road blocks to reunion for some, but not all. Millions are still left in the dark about their origins, while nearly all the legislators have their heritage intact.
The few mothers who would continue the lie of their "protection" behind sealed records need to speak up and let legislators know that the blanket of protection afforded by the law has turned into a shroud smothering a natural connection and must be thrown off.
LOOKING FOR TEMPORARY CAREGIVERS
In a connected piece of news that came my way today, Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency in New York City is looking for more mothers to take in and care for newborns while the biological mothers figure out whether they can keep their children. There are a few dozen volunteers who take in newborns from hospitals in New York and New Jersey, but the agency is short on volunteers in the Upper East Side. The agency provides diapers, toys, food and transportation for the surrogate mothers who provide the affection and attention a newborn needs--while the new mother has time to decide if she is able to keep her baby.
I'm usually not a fan of adoption agencies, but this heartened me today. Spence-Chapin has asked me to speak at the end of March, and I think I will certainly say YES!--lorraine
PS: I tried to post the link to the video but was unable to.
Tales from the Tiers: Mother & daughter reunite after 82 years
THANK YOU ALL WHO ORDER (ANYTHING) THROUGH FMF for remembering us when you do so. Just Click on any of the links or book jackets to get to Amazon.
Review: Reunion Worth the Wait
Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
"Lorraine and I "grew up" together in reform work, but even so, the ending was still a surprise, a shock and very sad. She poured out her heart and soul to give everyone a different way to think about adoption. I know that her hopes, like mine, are to see dramatic changes in our adoption laws in our lifetime! I encourage you to read this riveting book!"--Sandy Musser, author, To Prison With Love: An Indecent Indictment and America's Adoption Travesty
Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA
By Richard Hill
"A great suspenseful read! And, it brought to our attention that DNA is a new way to search for birth parents. And, the author Richard Hill very nicely answered 2 emails with questions. This lead to my husband finding some birth family! Astounding!"--Redda 1, reviewer at Amazon
The Waiting: The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up
By Cathy LeGrow
"Beginning in the days before the Great Depression, "The Waiting" shares the story of young Minka, a shy, innocent girl whose life is forever altered when she is tragically assaulted by a stranger on a remote road. Her unexpected pregnancy is handled with tenderness and love by her family and those who care for her, but she cannot forget Betty Jane, the infant girl she must give up for adoption. As readers, we are taken on a journey through Minka's life, and concurrently the life given to Betty Jane - now Ruth - as she grows to adulthood with her adopted family. Over the years, Minka continues to think about and pray for her daughter, and Ruth wonders about the mother she never knew. Then one day, across the years and the miles, their lives come together."Author Cathy La Grow brings Minka and Ruth's story to life. "The Waiting" reads like a fiction novel, and the wonder lies in realizing that it is a true story - a story of family, faith, and the redemptive power of love. It is a story that will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face. I guarantee that, once you pick it up, you will not want to put it down."--Amazon reviewer