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.

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It wasn’t more than 15 minutes later and the telephone rang. I thought it would be my birth mother, so with some trepidation, I answered, “Hello?”

To my disappointment, it was Aunt Phyl again. She called me back with the update, “I spoke with Norma and she wants to talk with you…” Now I was getting hopeful, but then she added, “…but she wants you to call her because she’s afraid you’ll hang up on her if she calls you.”

That didn’t sound like a problem, so I said, “I will call her.” Then, she gave me my birth Mother’s telephone number in Clearwater, Florida. (By the way, William Wallace in Clearwater, Florida was on one of the lists Sally had given me; I just hadn’t reached that point in the call lists yet! I concluded that the contact was not supposed to be made via a “cold call”!)

Aunt Phyl wanted to talk a few minutes more, while I was eager to make that next call! But I was polite and took the time to converse with her briefly. Aunt Phyl told me a few interesting things that I didn’t realize had occurred. She asked, “Do you remember playing with Rusty (her son and my cousin)?” But I didn’t have that memory either. Then, she mentioned she had letters from me, as she used to correspond with me when I was a little girl. Surprised, I questioned, “You have letters that I wrote??”


She added, “Yes, and from your stepmother too!”

I told her, “I don’t remember writing those letters. But my stepmother used to write out the words for me when I was little, and I copied them into letters to people. So maybe that is what happened.” This was another memory of which I had no recollection, nor did I want to dwell on it. When I copied those letters, I remember getting verbally and physically abused if I made any mistakes. Not a happy memory!

I didn’t know I wrote letters or received any from relatives for all of those years I had been apart from my birth Mother. I thought no one wanted anything to do with me. So, hearing about these letters was a big surprise.

She added, “I saved them. I hope you’ll come to see me and I’ll show them to you.”

Now, my Aunt Phyl AND my Uncle Rich wanted me to come see them. But I could only focus on the goal of talking with my birth mother. So, I promised to visit in the future, but couldn’t promise when. We ended the conversation at that point.

Contacting the “Right” Norma Wallace…

Now I had the right phone number for the RIGHT Norma Wallace…but my first thought was, “Okay, what do I do now?”

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Janet Tombow
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