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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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!

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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?”

I know this seems like a foolish thought at this stage of the search, but I was very nervous all of a sudden. After the two years of therapy, after hundreds of counseling assignments, after five years of knowing I was supposed to contact my birth mother but resisting, and now after an intense 30 day search, I was just one phone call away from talking with her. But I’m thinking, “The time’s finally come to make that call, but what if she rejects me again? What if she’s angry with me?”  The “What ifs…” were attacking me again! So, I went to the bathroom, I was so nervous! That seemed like a reasonable stall!

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Janet Tombow
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