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Mother And Daughter: A Long-Awaited Reunion After 82 Years

Mother And Daughter: A Long-Awaited Reunion After 82 Years

The bond between mothers and daughters is a strong, complicated and sometimes unexplainable one. Even when a mother gives her baby up for adoption, she often cannot forget the baby she carried for nine months, and may spend the rest of her life wondering about the child. Most children who find out they were adopted will start searching for their birth mother as they get older, out of much more than curiosity. They want to meet this mystery person who they are tied to. Even though they do not know this person, there can be a missing link in their lives unless a meeting happens.

Such was the case for a mother and daughter in New York, as ABC News reported earlier this year. In the 1930s, when things were very different for women than they are now, a 13-year-old girl gave birth to a baby girl and named her Eva May. Both became wards of the state immediately, due to the circumstances in the mother’s life at the time. Lena Pierce, the 13-year-old new mother, stayed at the hospital for a few months and her baby was put up for adoption. She was placed with a great family and given the name Betty. She found out she was adopted when she was a young child but her adopted mother told her that her birth mother had died, to protect her from possible heartache and disappointment.

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Meanwhile, in the same state, Lena grew up, got married and had more children. But she never forgot her first baby girl, and often spoke of “her Eva May.” As the years went by, Lena searched and seached for her daughter but her searching always led to dead ends.

Betty had a great childhood, and did not search for her birth mother, thinking she was dead. However, after her adopted mother passed away, her relatives let some details about her birth slip out and Betty immediately started trying to find her birth mother. Unfortunately, she also ran into dead ends and eventually gave up and concentrated on raising her own family.

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Years passed, and both mother and daughter grew older, but neither of them forgot about the other. The desire to find each other did not go away, but only grew stronger with time. Betty feared that by this time, her mother would have passed away and her searching would only lead to disappointment. She shared her longing to find her mother with one of her granddaughters, Kimberly, who took on the search to help her grandmother. Eventually, the hospital where Betty was born wrote a letter describing the circumstances surrounding her birth, but could not give details as to the whereabouts of her mother. They did not give up hope and continued searching.

As Betty grew older, it became harder and harder to have hope that her mother would still be alive. At 82 years of age, the chances of meeting her birth mother were slim at best. Despite the odds, Kimberly kept up the search, still hopeful that she could find her great-grandmother. Even if she had already passed away, perhaps she could at least put her grandmother in touch with a half sibling to get some answers about her mother.

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In September of 2015, Kimberly’s searching efforts finally paid off, and she was able to speak to another daughter of Lena Pierce. She was shocked to hear that Lena was still alive, and at 96 years old, was still thinking about her Eva May.

Betty was overcome with emotion when Kimberly told her the good news. She could not believe her mother was still alive! And she had siblings! When Lena’s daughter told her they had found Eva May, she broke down in tears and was so overcome that she could not go to bingo that evening as she had planned to do.

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On January 15, 2016, after 82 years of searching, hoping and waiting, mother and daughter were finally reunited. The picture above shows their reunion at an airport, and since then, they have been able to visit and talk often. Lena, now 96, sometimes has lapses of memory and Betty has to remind her of who she is, but being able to talk with her birth mother is a dream come true with each visit. After 82 long years, giving up hope and picking it back up again, getting nothing but dead ends, wondering if they would ever find one another and wondering what the other was like, mother and daughter are finally together. The bond between them is a complicated one, and there are many questions to be asked and answered, but the bond between a mother and daughter still exists, even with an 82-year separation.

Featured photo credit: ABC News via abcnews.go.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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