For most of her 100 years, Minka Disbrow tried to find out what became of the precious baby girl she gave up for adoption after being raped as a teen. (via ts)
WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY ;(
- Disbrow, the daughter of Dutch immigrants, weathered a harsh childhood milking cows on South Dakota dairy farms. Her stepfather thought high school was for city kids who had nothing else to do. She finished eighth grade in a country schoolhouse with just one teacher and worked long hours at the dairy.
- On a summer day in 1928 while picnicking with girls from a sewing class, Disbrow and her friend Elizabeth were jumped by three men as they went for a walk in their long dresses.
- “We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t know what to say. So when we went back, nothing was said,” Disbrow recalled. Months passed. Her body began to change. Disbrow, who had been told babies were brought by storks, didn’t know what was happening. Her mother and stepfather sent her to a Lutheran home for pregnant girls. At 17, she gave birth to a blond-haired baby with a deep dimple in her chin and named her Betty Jane.
- In her heart, Disbrow longed to keep her. But her head and her mother told her she couldn’t bring an infant back to the farm. A pastor and his wife were looking to adopt a child. She hoped they could give Betty Jane the home she couldn’t. “I loved that baby so much. I wanted what was best,” Disbrow said.
- She never met them, or knew their names. But over the years, Disbrow wrote dozens of letters to the adoption agency to find out how her daughter was faring. The agency replied faithfully with updates until there was a change in management, and they eventually lost touch.
- Her name was now Ruth Lee. She had been raised by a Norwegian pastor and his wife and had gone on to marry and have six children including the Alabama man, a teacher and astronaut Mark Lee, a veteran of four space flights who has circled the world 517 times. She worked for nearly 20 years at Wal-Mart — and especially enjoyed tending to the garden area.
- On the phone with her biological daughter, Disbrow was in disbelief. Her legs began to tremble. She couldn’t understand how a naïve dairy farm girl without an education could have such accomplished grandchildren.