After many years, a mother and daughter are reunited
When I started spending winters in Florida, I remembered hearing that my new neighbors were from Vermont. I am a snowbird as well, enjoying the summer in my New Hampshire lake home, which is very close to the Vermont border. So, when I heard that Maggie and Ron were from Vermont, I thought to myself, “Isn’t that such a grand coincidence!”
Shortly after I arrived, Maggie and Ron immediately came over and welcomed me as their new neighbor. We spoke of how funny it was that we lived only 35 miles apart in New England.
The next morning Maggie stopped by again. She looked at me and said, “We share a couple of other things that are coincidences, in addition to living close to each other in New England.”
She said to me, “My name is Mary Frances, just like yours.”
I asked, “How did you get Maggie out of Mary Frances?”
“Oh,” she replied. “I just always wanted to be called Maggie, so in my early twenties I changed my name — much to the chagrin of my parents.”
“Why Maggie?” I asked. She said she did not know.
“I just wanted that to be my name. That was all.”
The second coincidence was that Maggie had been adopted as a baby. And personally, being so interested in this subject, I asked Maggie if she had ever found her biological Mom.
She explained that she never did this because she had such a lovely caring relationship with her parents, who have now both passed. She didn’t want to hurt them, she said.
“And,” Maggie said, “I didn’t really think I could find out anything.” But she was always curious, she told me. She wondered where she was originally from and if she had any siblings out in the world.
I told her I could help, or at least try. She was excited to hear that we could easily get what’s called “non-identifying information” about her adoption.
Basically, I could discover where her parents were from, her nationality, and what they did for work. This first step, however, would not reveal names or current locations.
We sent away for this information, and after it arrived, I went to work doing my thing.
I don’t have the answers as to how I find names, but I do. There’s nothing logical or scientific about it. I always have believed that it’s a “God thing.”
After many hours of computer-searching and phone calls, I found a name I thought might be a possibility. I had shared with Maggie that her biological mom would be in her 90’s, and like her adoptive parents, had probably passed away. But I suggested that we might be able to locate siblings, if there were any.
I was able to confirm that Maggie was born in New York City. What was puzzling, though, was the fact that she had been adopted in the state of Michigan. I continued to search after receiving the non- identifying information.
It became so difficult. At one point, I feared that it was becoming impossible.
The summer came quickly. Maggie went back to Vermont. I followed a few weeks later to New Hampshire.
I called Maggie to come and visit. When she did, I told her of one possible person who might be a first cousin. Maggie called this man. He could not confirm that the person I thought was her mom ever had a child given up for adoption. We just could not confirm.
During my search for the woman that I had come to believe was Maggie’s Mom, I kept seeing the name of one person who had been a caretaker for her. However, I could not find him either.
After Maggie visited, I tried calling once again … and BOOM! I found a number that was brand-new to the information directory. I called. A man answered. I immediately recognized his name as the caretaker for the woman whom I suspected was Maggie’s mother!
I asked him if he knew the woman I thought might be her mom. He said, “Yes!” This was so exciting!
I next asked if he knew if she ever had a child that she gave up for adoption. He asked me, “When was this child’s birthday?”
I told him October 1, 1946.
At that moment, he told me, “Yes. That would be her.”
I was beyond excited. I asked if Miss Hartford ever had other children. He said, “No. The girl was her only child.” I was disappointed, but asked this man if Maggie could call him, so she could ask questions about her Mom since he had known her.
“Can Maggie call you?” I asked.
He said, “Why would Maggie call me?”
It was difficult to understand this man’s hesitation. I told him that I was not the daughter, and that I was calling on behalf of a friend.
The man sounded strange. Then he said, “I’m not sure why you are asking this. What is your friend’s name?”
I said, “Maggie.”
The man said, “I can see the confusion here. Maggie is her mother’s name, too!”
He asked, “Why don’t you speak with her. She’s right here.”
I was so shocked! She was still alive and well! When I told Maggie that her Mom was still alive, she was the one who was in shock. She immediately called.
When they first spoke, her mom said – in her quiet little voice, “Is this Maggie?” Maggie confirmed this.
The sweet lady responded, “My name is Maggie, too.” This was a miracle!
Within two days, Maggie and Ron drove all the way to Michigan from Vermont to visit her birth mother. She was greeted at the door by a friend, who took a huge breath at seeing Maggie. She said, “Oh dear! You look just like your Mom!”
Maggie told me that she went in and sat next to her Mom. They held hands. They were both overwhelmed. Then her Mom got up, went to a drawer and pulled out a box. In the box was a perfectly kept baby book that was Maggie’s, and also her baby bracelet and her beanie hat that she wore at her birth.
Her Mom said, “I have been keeping these for you. It took you so long to come home.”
Maggie’s mother, Maggie, was a captain in the Marines. She gave birth to Maggie and kept her for eight months. But she wanted her daughter to have two parents. In those days it was very much frowned upon to have a child out of wedlock.
And so, her mother made the ultimate sacrifice and put baby Maggie up for adoption. She wanted the little girl to have a better life with a mother and father.
She kept her baby book perfectly. Every day she wrote in it how much she loved her little daughter Leslie (which was the name she had given Maggie). She kept cards and her love was so present on every page.
Maggie’s mother never had other children. She just waited for her girl to come home. And she did!
Contact the author, Mary Frances Barstow at firstname.lastname@example.org