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.
BY: Janet Tombow
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!
While there, God said, “What do you mean, what should you do?? It’s time to call her!” God just wouldn’t let it go, would He! After all, He had been arranging this moment in time for over 45 years! He doesn’t give up. It’s just that sometimes we’re too stubborn to listen! So, I thought, “I had better obey!”
I grabbed a tablet and pen. I took a couple of deep breaths and picked up the telephone. It only rang a few times, and then I heard her say, “Hello.”
“Hello. Is Norma Wallace there?” I inquired.
“Speaking,” she replied.
"I think I’m your daughter.”
Another deep breath and bravely I went on, “This is Janet Tombow and I think I’m your daughter.” Now the moment had come. What would she say?
Gently, she said, “Hi Sweetheart, how are you?”
WOW! What a loving response. She didn’t yell at me. She didn’t hang up. She didn’t say, “It’s about time!” or “What took you so long?” That was pretty encouraging!
Now it was my turn to figure out what to say next. Tentatively I said, “Well…I’m not sure; but I think I’m a little older than when you saw me last.” Brilliant, right?
She chuckled and said, “I think so!” She had last seen me at 5 years old, and now I was approaching 50. It was my turn to speak again already, and I realized, even though I had rehearsed it several different ways, I didn’t know what to say next! So, I said, “Even though I’ve called over 250 people across the country asking them if they were my mother, now that I’ve found you, I don’t know what to say next.”
Gently she offered, “Why don’t you let me start?”
With that, she proceeded to explain much about the past that I didn’t know. I was still thinking that she didn’t want me or love me my whole life. So, I was listening with a doubtful and hostile heart. She wasn’t hesitant about answering any of my questions and promised to be honest with me.
Learning About Our Separation…
Then, a most shocking statement was made next, “When your father kidnapped you from me, I was never able to get you back!” Holy smokes! Kidnapped? That was something even Beverly, my Counselor, hadn’t suggested, and definitely wasn’t part of any explanation I heard over the years. She added, “ Whenever I’d go to a different state, we (her and her second husband) would hire an attorney to try to get you back. But the attorney would say, because you were in California, there was no hope of recovering you from your father.”
*Excerpted with permission of Janet Tombow
To read more about this remarkable story go to http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-But-Lost-Janet-Tombow/dp/0984977112.