Stranded then Reconnected
Dear The Salvation Army,
Many, many years ago, two of my then teen-age sisters were ‘stranded’ in downtown Chicago…I’m guessing it was around Christmas. The elder of the two asked a Salvation Army bell-ringer for a dime to call home. It was granted, and she never forgot the kindness when she received the dime. That, in itself, gives an idea of how long ago that happened.
Fast forward a few years, and that sister was in a bit of trouble. At 17 years old, she gave birth to a baby girl on October 9, 1961. I was 15 years old at the time, and I recall my mother telling me the baby was due in November. The baby was ‘put up’ for adoption, and nothing was ever said again about it…to anyone.
Fast forward again to January 2019. I was in a rehab facility following a 3-day ICU stay in a hospital, when I received a notice from Ancestry.com that a ‘close match’ was trying to reach me. A bit leery, I read the note and replied that some of the information was similar to some facts that I knew: a minor girl gave birth to a baby girl in October 1961 (remember I thought the baby was due in November) at the Salvation Army Booth Hospital in Chicago, IL. I decided, through Ancestry.com, to talk to her. We exchanged telephone numbers, and within minutes we introduced ourselves. And minutes later, we were talking and seeing each other via Facetime. She had been wondering about her birth family for many years.
That ‘someone’ is my niece Jackie!! Although records were sealed for so long, she found me because we both had supplied samples of saliva for DNA testing to Ancestry!! I let my younger sister, mentioned above, know about her new niece! Since then, Jackie has met, or connected with, her cousins and other extended family!
Unfortunately my sister Sarah (the birth mother) passed away in November, 2017, never knowing her daughter was looking for her.
My husband Richard and I met Jackie, face-to-face, last May.
The whole reason for this letter is to thank the Salvation Army for taking such good care of my sister, and her baby, so long ago. And to thank you for sending me a ‘thank you’ on November 1, 2019, for my donation in memory of Sarah.
Letters like this are a beautiful reminder of how important The Salvation Army's work is in the local community. We want to thank all our supporters for being generous in giving so we can help people like Sarah in their time of need.