Betty Morrell, an 82-year-old woman from Florida, has proven that it’s never too late to reconnect with someone you love. After nearly a half-century of searching, she recently met her 96-year-old birth mother — for the first time since she was born in 1933.
The Associated Press reported on the heart wrenching reunion, which came about decades after Lena Pierce was forced to give up her newborn baby daughter for adoption. Pierce, then 13, was a ward of the state in Utica, N.Y., when social welfare authorities put her baby up for adoption. The little girl was renamed Betty and adopted by a family on Long Island, where she reports she had a happy childhood. “I was so content in the family I was adopted by,” Morrell told the AP.
Sadly, the family's story isn't unique. Until the mid-20th century, young, unmarried pregnant women were frequently coerced into giving up their babies for adoption, as reported by Yahoo News in a 2012 story that chronicled the cases of young mothers in the 1950s and '60s. Many were told that their babies were stillborn or died after birth. In cases such as Morrell's, the children were told their mothers had died during childbirth.
Morrell began looking for her birth mother almost 50 years ago, but it took until September for a breakthrough. With the help of her granddaughter, she found a distant relative on Ancestry.com, who put her in touch with her half-sister. From there, she learned that their mother was still alive and well in an assisted-living complex in Pennsylvania. The mother and daughter finally reunited last month after a lifetime apart.