Woman, 100, Reunited With Daughter After 77 Years

Baby was p[ut up for adoption after rape

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012  |  Updated 7:07 AM CDT
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Woman, 100, Reunited With Daughter After 77 Years

ASSOCIATED PRESS

100-year-old Minka Disbrow shows a photo of her, right, and her daughter Ruth Lee taken the day they first reunited.

A 100-year-old California woman has been reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption 77 years ago.

Minka Disbrow, who was impregnated by a rapist in 1928, had long wondered what became of the baby until six years ago, when she she got a call at her home in California from an Alabama man, according to The Associated Press.

Disbrow, the daughter of Dutch immigrants, was just 17 and growing up on the South Dakota plains, when she was attacked on a picnic. Believing babies were brought by the stork, she was scared when her body began to change. Her parents sent her to a home for pregnant girls, and she gave birth to a blonde baby she named Betty Jane. A pastor and his wife, who promised to give the child a better life, adopted the baby.

"I loved that baby so much. I wanted what was best," Disbrow told The Associated Press.

Disbrow married a fruit salesman, and went on to work as a dress maker and a school cafeteria manager, criscrossing the nation before settling in San Clemente. But she never stopped thinking about the baby she'd given up.

When the man from Alabama called, Disbrow was 94 years old. He asked if she would like to speak to "Betty Jane," who was now named Ruth Lee. The Alabama man was one of her six children, which also included astronaut Mark Lee. Ruth Lee had been searching for her biological mom for years.

A month later, Ruth Lee flew to California to meet her mother.

"It was just like we had never parted," Disbrow said. "Like you were with the family all your life."

Since that time, the family has met several times, with Disbrow greeting her grandhcildren. This spring, the extended family plans to mark Disbrow's recent 100th birthday.

"It has been such a surreal, amazing experience that I still think sometimes that I will wake up and it will just be a beautiful dream," Lee, now 82, said.

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