A Georgia woman whose daughter was taken away from her at birth spent 42 years wondering what had happened to her baby girl and if she knew that her mother loved her.
In August, Nancy Womac found those answers when she was reunited with her daughter Melanie Spencer for the first time since her birth, the NBC Today Show reports.
“Forty-two years of questions … and she’s just what I thought she would be,” Womac told the news outlet. “She’s beautiful. She’s smart.”
Their story highlights the beauty of adoption, even under tragic circumstances. Every adoption includes trauma for the birth mother and her child, but it also provides hope and help to mothers who may not be able to care for their own babies and the opportunity for their children to grow and thrive with a loving adoptive family. Unlike with abortion, adoption is not a permanent separation or the ending of a life. In adoption are potential and hope.
Tragedy separated Womac from her daughter in 1979 at a Tennessee hospital.
“I loved her from the first time I knew I was pregnant,” Womac said. “Never stopped loving her.”
Womac was only 16 at the time, an orphan living in a home for “troubled children,” Bethesda Home for Girls in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, according to the report. The facility later closed after facing numerous abuse allegations.
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Womac described the place as a “nightmare.” She never even was given the chance to hold her baby girl after she gave birth. Her daughter immediately was taken away and placed for adoption, according to the report.
“I remember going into labor, and they just give me a shot and put me out,” Womac remembered. “I don’t remember having her. I don’t remember them wheeling me into the delivery room. I don’t remember nothing. She was then gone by the time I woke up.”
Melanie was adopted by a missionary family and grew up in South Africa and Indonesia, but her birth mother did not know that.
Womac said she thought about her daughter constantly and began baking a cake for her every year on her birthday. On the other side of the world, Spencer said she was wondering about her birth mother, too.
“I always had a lot of questions about her,” Spencer told NBC. “I wanted to find her, I wanted to know more about her. I think there was fear that it could be very hurtful if I dug more and found out that she didn’t want me.”
Instead, she discovered the opposite after the two found each other through a DNA ancestry website. The two began writing to each other online, and their messages confirmed their love for each other despite living so many years apart, according to the report.
“There’s not a day goes by that I have not thought of you,” Womac told her daughter in one of their first correspondences. “I want you to know that you are loved so much.”
Then in August, they met in person and Womac had the first opportunity to finally embrace her daughter. According to NBC, they spent several days together getting to know each other, sharing meals and memories and family photos.
Womac told NBC that she was so grateful for the opportunity to finally meet her daughter and tell her how much she cares.
“I’m happy she will know that she was loved,” she said.