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.
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.
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.
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.
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