Minka Disbrow, the mother separated from her daughter by adoption who spent nearly 80 years searching for her, has died at the age of 102. Disbrow’s story was told in a book,The Waiting: A True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up, by her granddaughter, Cathy LaGrow (with Cindy Coloma; Tyndale, May). The book received wide media attention around Mother’s Day, including an appearance by the reunited mother and daughter on the Today show, as well as a feature in the New York Post and an excerpt in Reader’s Digest. The Waiting was reviewed by Publishers Weekly, and LaGrow was profiled by PW.
Disbrow had been raped and given birth at 17 to a baby girl she named Betty Jane. Keeping the child was not an option, and in 1929 Disbrow surrendered Betty Jane for adoption. Disbrow corresponded for decades with the director of the home that had handled the adoption, trying to find out about her daughter. But it was not until 2006, when the adoption records could finally be unsealed, that her then-77-year-old daughter, Ruth Lee, was able to find her.
In the book, LaGrow writes, “Minka finally watched her daughter blow out her candles and make a wish for the future. Silverware clinked and voices rose in laughter and light shone off water glasses as they were raised to lips. The scene was simple and ordinary and perfect. Waiting had been worth it. Her daughter had been worth it.” Of her grandmother, Cathy LaGrow said, "I think she waited until she could see the book. She loved it."