Imagine Meeting Your Daughter After 77 Years

Photo courtesy of Teresa Lee

Let’s start Monday off with a tearjerker, shall we?

Minka Disbrow was only 16 when she and a friend was raped by three men as they walked along a deserted road in South Dakota.  It was 1928, and Minka was uneducated about where babies come from, so she didn’t realize what was happening as her body began to change – but her parents knew.  They sent her to a home for unwed pregnant teens, and when she was 17, she delivered a baby girl. 

Minka named the baby Betty Jane, and although part of Minka wanted to keep Betty Jane, her parents told her that she had to give the baby up for adoption, so she did.  Betty Jane went to a pastor and his wife, but over the years, Minka lost track of her due to administrative changes at the adoption agency.

Life went on for Minka and Betty Jane, but Minka never stopped wondering what happened to Betty Jane.  Eventually, 77 years passed by.  When she was 94 years old, Minka prayed on Betty Jane’s birthday that one day they would be reunited…  And a few months later, her phone rang.

It was Brian, Betty Jane’s son.  Brian had tracked Minka down after Betty Jane – who had been renamed Ruth after the adoption – began to have health problems that doctors suspected were genetic.

“I was looking for somebody I thought was probably not living,” said Brian, now 54 years old.  Originally searching for an obituary, Brian had typed Disbrow’s name into a web directory and was shocked when a phone listing popped up. “I kind of stopped breathing for a second.”

Minka’s legs began to tremble as Brian asked if she would like to speak to her daughter.

Minka learned that Ruth had a happy childhood and then married, producing six children.  A few months later, Minka and Ruth met for the first time in 77 years and were astonished to discover they looked alike, dressed alike, and got along swimmingly.  Minka said, “It was just like we had never parted, like you were with the family all your life.”

This spring, the family will get together to celebrate another big milestone in Minka’s life – she recently turned 100.

Source: Jezebel and Associated Press

Caitlin blogs at and  You can also find her on Twitter.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago
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