After 77 years, mother reunited with daughter she gave up for adoption

From the AP comes this remarkable story of enduring love:

For most of her 100 years, Minka Disbrow tried to find out what became of the precious baby girl she gave up for adoption after being raped as a teen.

She hoped, but never imagined, she’d see her Betty Jane again.

The cruel act of violence bore in Disbrow an enduring love for the child. She kept a black and white photograph of the baby bundled in blankets and tucked inside a basket.

It was the last she saw of the girl — until the phone rang in her California apartment in 2006 with the voice of an Alabama man and a story she could have only dreamed.

Read it all.


  1. Beautiful, heart-warming story Deacon Greg. Just the thing to start off 2012 on the right foot.
    Thank you.

  2. Greg,
    I know you’re just repeating what the Associated Press (who should know better) wrote, but to say “gave up for adoption” is not considered sensitive. It implies that the thing being “given up” is not of value, and that the birthparent did not put much thought into the decision (sometimes true, sometimes not).

    As a adoptive mom, birthmother and journalist, this is one of my pet peeves. I happen to believe the language we use is important and shapes our thoughts and beliefs about things. If we believe in adoption, as many Catholics and prolifers do, we should talk about it sensitively.

    If you’re interested in learning more about positive adoption language (a very prolife thing to do, I would argue), see this link from “Adoptive Families” magazine:

    Heidi Schlumpf

  3. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Well, this is news to me. Clearly, this isn’t information that has trickled into the mainstream of popular conversation on the topic. (In another, unrelated matter, I still encounter a lot of people who persist in saying “deaf and dumb.”)

    But on adoption: What should someone say? “Gave for adoption”?

    I think of Jesus Christ, who “gave his life, as a ransom for many.” What greater gift, or sacrifice, could there be?


    Dcn. G.

  4. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Ah, I see here that the proper phrase should be “placed her child for adoption.”

    Dcn. G.

  5. I find the phrase “released the baby for adoption” to be suitable. It’s positive, denotes liberating one’s potential, and so on. Anyway, theses things take time to percolate through speech.

  6. pagansister says:

    What a beautiful story! The internet was a positive factor in this great story. So happy for the entire family. And she is 100! Bless her—-

  7. This story made me cry…what an amazing journey!

  8. Regina Faighes says:

    I love heartwarming stories with happy endings! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story, Deacon Greg! God bless you and God bless Minka and Betty Jean!

  9. Yes. Although to be precise, sometimes that is not accurate, for children who are abandoned, for example. You should see the debate in the adoption community about the use of the word “abandoned”!

    Given the frequency of adoption these days, I am surprised that more sensitive language has not trickled into the mainstream, as you say. I take it as a challenge!


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