Minka Disbrow and Ruth Lee have quite a tale to tell. When only a teenager, Disbrow was raped and gave birth to a baby girl she named Betty Jane. But the family kept the birth a secret and the baby was given up for adoption. It was not until the adoption records were unsealed 77 years later in 2006 when the mother was able to find her lost daughter.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Minka Disbrow celebrated her 100th birthday with her long lost daughter.
Back in 1928, Disbrow still thought the stork was where babies came from and after she was raped, her mother had to explain to her the realities of life. Her Dutch immigrant parents sent her to a Lutheran home for unwed mothers so she could hide the pregnancy from even her own sister. After Betty Jane was given up for adoption, keeping the rape and the baby a secret became a habit that continued for decades.
Cathy LaGrow, Minka’s granddaughter, told The Blaze she had never suspected that Disbrow harbored such a secret:
“It completely shocked us. We never would have imaged anything like that about our grandma. She’s a very dignified, hardworking person … we never imagined that she had this monumental secret. It was her faith that allowed her to have that hope through all those years … that Betty Jane was having a good life and had a strong family.”
Disbrow had never stopped looking for Betty Jane and she had faithfully written letters to the adoption agency asking for the identity of her child. In 2006, when Disbrow was in her mid-nineties, she received a phone call from a man asking if she wished to speak to Betty Jane, now named Ruth Lee. It turns out Lee had also been looking for her mother after having fallen ill:
“I started having a lot of surgeries and so the first thing they want to know is about family history. I said I was adopted and I don’t know anything about my family medical history.”
Eventually, Lee was able to get hold of all the letters Disbrow had written over the years:
“I was just overwhelmed with looking at all the letters, asking about her little girl and so I tell you, the love that flowed from those letters was like a waterfall of love…. It brings the tears to the eyes. She gave me the gift of life and she gave me the gift of adoption.”
Eventually, Disbrow did tell her daughter about the rape, which surprised Lee sine she had assumed her parents simply could not afford to keep a child:
“I just started to well up with anger. I thought, ‘Oh my word, back then they even had rapes going on?’ I just could hardly believe it … I felt such anger at what had been done to her. With everything that happened to her, you realize she could have become very bitter, but it only made her stronger and it made her faith stronger and that’s pretty amazing.”
The mother and daughter made up for all the years of being separated by celebrating the time they had together. Minka Disbrow passed away at the age of 102 on June 18, 2014, but not before Cathy LaGrow was able to publish her grandmother’s story in a book called The Waiting: A True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up. LaGrow said, “I think she waited until she could see the book. She loved it.”