Thursday 22 February 2018

Reunion joy for mum (102) who gave daughter up at birth

Ruth Lee, left, and her birth mum Minka Disbrow. AP photo
Ruth Lee, left, and her birth mum Minka Disbrow. AP photo

Rosa Prince in New York

A 102-YEAR-OLD mother has told of her joy and astonishment at being reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption more than eight decades ago.

Minka Disbrow became pregnant and gave birth at the age of 16 after being raped by a stranger in woods near her house in South Dakota in 1928.

Abiding by the wishes of her family, she handed over the daughter she called 'Betty Jane', but never forgot about her, writing dozens of letters to the House of Mercy adoption agency begging for news.

Renamed Ruth, the little girl went on to have a happy childhood, and was never tempted to seek out her birth mother.

It was only when she suffered from health problems in her 70s that her own children suggested she research her genetic history by tracing her birth family.

She was astonished to receive a package with more than 60 handwritten letters, and even more amazed to look her birth mother up in the phone book and find her straight away.

Ruth Lee, as she has been known since her marriage, and Mrs Disbrow were reunited seven years ago and have become firm friends.

Her daughter, Cathy LaGrow, has now written a book about their reunion called 'The Waiting', in which she says that the two women are "like sisters", looking and even dressing alike.

"She never forgot about me," Mrs Lee said.

Mrs Disbrow had not known where babies came from when she was raped while walking near her home. It was only when her mother spotted her swelling figure that she learned what it meant to be pregnant.

After giving birth in 1929, she had nothing to remember her baby by except a photo with the caption "Sweetest little girl in the world – Betty J".

Mrs Disbrow said she still couldn't take in the fact that her baby is now an old woman herself. "I can't believe that her hair is white," she said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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