Finding Hope

Separated from her birthmother as a little girl, Janet Tombow was miraculously reunited 45 years later. Only then did she shockingly learn of her kidnapping at five years old, after being raised her whole life believing she wasn’t wanted or loved. It’s an incredible true story of healing, forgiveness, and God’s unconditional love.


Stolen, but Not Lost

A Key Discovery

*Excerpted with permission of Janet Tombow

When Uncle Rich answered my call, I said, “I am obsessed with finding Norma (mother). Do you know anything else that might help me get in contact with her?”

Quickly he responded, “I found her sister, Phyllis, listed in the Cleveland telephone book. She still lives in the same house she did for all of her life. I called her and she wants to talk with you.” I never asked him why he didn’t call me with this information sooner. I guess he didn’t call waiting to see if I truly wanted to find her. Or else sooner would have rushed the timing of my preparation. I needed to go through all of these steps to be ready for the contact with my birth mother.


“Does she know if Norma is alive?” I eagerly asked.

“Norma is alive and living in Florida” Uncle Rich answered and reiterated, “and your Aunt’s eager to talk with you.” So, he gave me her telephone number before I hung up.

I was still eager to make the connection to Norma, so I didn’t hesitate to make the call to my “Aunt Phyl”, as I remembered she was called. I didn’t remember anything about what my Aunt looked like, how close our relationship had been, or when I had seen her last. But my first priority was to find out how to contact my birth Mother, and this was finally the right connection I needed to be able to finally reach her.


When Aunt Phyl answered the call, she seemed very happy to hear from me. I explained who I was and that I “…wanted to reach my mother, Norma Wallace.”


She asked, “Why do you want to talk with her?”

For a moment I wanted to say that I’d prefer discussing that with my mother. But I was afraid to offend this direct link to finding my Mother. So, I went through the logic of, “…wanting to ask her forgiveness for judging her all my life and explain why I haven’t been in touch before this.”

She surprised me by saying, “I’ll have to call her to see if she will talk with you, because there has been so much hurt over this, you know!”

I thought to myself, “You’re darned right there has been hurt over this!” But instead of verbalizing that, I said, “Please see if she will talk with me”, and gave her my telephone number.

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Janet Tombow
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