Mother Reunites With Adoptive Daughter After 82-Year Search
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
Betty Morrell spent eight decades of her life wondering about her family history and birth mother. This past September, Morrell was finally able to put those questions to rest.
Morrell, born February 11, 1933 under the name Eva May, was separated from her mother, Lena Pierce, 6 months after her birth. Pierce, only 14 at the time, was forced to give up Morrell. Morrell was then adopted by a family in Long Island, New York, where they permanently changed her name.
Throughout her childhood Morrell always longed for that sibling bond. She had cousins close in age, but they did not fill the void she felt.
“I’ve always wanted siblings so badly that I created an imaginary brother and sister, who did everything with me,” Morrell, 82, shared with Today.
Morrell’s adoptive mother died when she was 21, leaving her to care for her adoptive father who had Parkinson’s disease. While making his bed one day, Morrell staggered upon a box of old adoption papers. Morrell, who was told her mother died during childbirth, didn’t think much of it.
It was not until her adoptive father died in 1960 that her aunt informed her of the details of her birth and her original name. When Morrell went back to search for the box, the papers had been misplaced. Now knowing the details, Morrell was determined to find some answers.
“Being a mother myself, I would wonder what happened to this child,” Morrell explained. “I just wanted to tell them that I had two children and was happily married.”
In 1996, she called every hospital in Utica in hopes of finding her mother. After being constantly shut down because of the closed adoption, she contacted an agent who was able to help.
“When she told me my mom was still alive, I nearly fell out of my chair,” Morrell shared. “She tried to help as much as she could, but had a legal obligation since it was a closed adoption.”
It was finally with the help of Morrell’s granddaughter, Kimberly, who was 12 at the time, that she was able to move forward in her search by signing Morrell up for Ancestry.com.
“She was always talking about how she was searching for answers, so I figured I’d help her out,” Miccio, now 32, told Today. “She wasn’t very Internet savvy, so I thought that would be a good place to start.”
But it would be 20 years more of dead ends and no answers before Morrell finally got a breakthrough.
A second cousin, Brad Newman, messaged Morrell and was able to put Morrell in touch with his sister, who contacted now 96-year-old Lena Pierce.
On January 15, Morrell flew to meet her mom and the family in upstate New York where she was embraced with loving arms. Morrell and Pierce have spoken every day since and another reunion is already in the works.
“No more waking up in the morning longing for answers,” Morrell said. “I finally feel complete.”