It’s never too late: How a mother and daughter found each other 60 years after an adoption
For decades, Laurie wondered if she would ever meet her birth mother. Learn how her dream came true.
Carol Lee, senior editor
“Where do you begin, writing a letter to the woman who gave birth to you?”
In 2019, Laurie sat down to write the most significant correspondence of her life.
“I wrote a summary of my life and my interests to share with my birth mother,” she said. “I told her I had an awesome family, and I thanked her for giving me life.”
Laurie had always known she’d been adopted as an infant in 1960, but adoptions were all closed at that time. After losing her parents and a brother, Laurie’s curiosity grew to know more about her biological family.
With the help of Suzanne Parks, a Bethany post-adoption specialist who assists with adoption searches, Laurie learned her birth mother’s name was Maggie. And Laurie was thrilled to learn Maggie was eager to hear from the daughter she’d prayed over for nearly 60 years.
“It was such a surprise to get Laurie’s letter,” said Maggie. “All those years not knowing where she was or if she was safe—it was a heartbreak. But with closed files, I thought there was no hope of ever finding her.”
Three weeks after their first phone conversation, Laurie—along with her husband and daughter—met Maggie in person. They also met Laurie’s two biological sisters and an aunt.
“It was amazing to be embraced by this family—and they were my family, even though we’d just met,” said Laurie.
Adoption reunions can spark a roller coaster of emotions. The joy often comes with guilt and grief for lost years. “It’s hard for everyone involved to know how they’ll react, even when everything goes well,” said Suzanne. “Regardless of how reunions turn out, my goal is to help people find healing and peace.”
Meeting Maggie deepened Laurie’s empathy for what birth mothers experience. “Sixty years Maggie carried the weight of not knowing that I was OK,” she said. “We don’t always think about what birth parents go through when they make an adoption plan.”
Because nearly all adoptions today are open, birth parents can choose to be part of their child’s life, an option Maggie didn’t have. She empathizes with Laurie’s struggle to access information and records about her own history. “Laurie’s been trying to put together this puzzle in 60-year pieces,” she said. “That’s hard to do all at once.”
Post-adoption professionals like Suzanne can help adoptees and birth family members sensitively and confidentially explore their search options.
Today Laurie and Maggie talk on the phone a few times each week, and they don’t take for granted this opportunity to deepen their relationship. “There was no one left in my family who had known me my whole life,” Laurie said. “Maggie loves me like a mom, and that is a great feeling.”
While this reunion has answered questions for Maggie, she knows many birth parents and adoptees are still waiting for their answers. “If sharing this story helps one person find peace about their adoption, I’ll be glad,” she said. “It’s never too late to start looking.”