Abandoning a newborn child should never be a decision that any parent should have to make. Still, it happens—and for a variety of reasons: sometimes the parents don’t have enough money to support their child, while other times they’re trying to “undo” what they consider to be a mistake. Regardless of the situation, there is always a better option than abandonment.
When Donna Massie Wysong was a teenager, she learned that she had been abandoned by her birth mother. Luckily, the family that adopted her provided all the love and support she could want, so she never felt the need to investigate the matter further.
Forty-three years later, though, she made a huge discovery that changed her life completely…
It doesn’t matter what kind of circumstances a new parent is in—they should never feel that they must resort to abandoning their newborn. Still, it happens, and it’s something that Donna Massie Wysong experienced firsthand. See, when she was a teenager, she found out she had been abandoned by her birth mother. As she started to learn more and more about her past over the next four decades, some very startling truths emerged.
Donna was just a few months old in the winter of 1973 when her mother wrapped her in an old rag and left her to fend for herself on the side of the road one evening in Norfolk, Virginia. Thankfully, a pedestrian tripped over the bundle and discovered the baby. They immediately gathered her in their arms and rushed her to the nearest hospital.
The discovery of Donna caused quite a ripple in the news. People all around the country became infatuated with the adorable blue-eyed, blonde-haired infant, and she was even nicknamed “Baby Jane Doe” by media outlets. Unfortunately, no one was exactly certain what would happen to her; she still did not have a home or any known history.
A woman named Eileen Massie was one of the people who were anxiously watching Donna’s story unfold on the news. When she first saw Donna, Eileen knew right away that she wanted to adopt her. It took nearly two months of calls to social services, but eventually, Eileen’s dream came true—and Donna finally had a loving home.
Then, when Donna was a teenager, she began to learn bits and pieces about her history. She would visit the local library and read old newspaper articles that were written about her. However, she didn’t want to disrupt the loving home she was raised in, so she didn’t pursue it any further.
It wasn’t until she was 43 years old that Donna’s full story was revealed. A genealogical investigator named Angela Trammel had watched a special news segment on Donna, and she was fascinated by what the woman had gone through. So she reached out to Donna and volunteered to look into her family history for her.
Angela was a specialist when it came to tracing families that had abandoned their children. In November of 2016, Donna submitted a DNA test so that Angela could begin her search. By January, Angela determined that Donna had Irish heritage—and Donna was one step closer to the truth.
Donna’s connection to Ireland allowed Angela to trace her distant relatives; Angela was actually able to locate one of Donna’s aunts. Then, Angela called Donna one Saint Patrick’s Day with some unbelievable news…
Angela told Donna that she had located a full-blooded biological sister who was only 11 months younger than her! Donna was in shock. For years she assumed she was an only child; she had no reason to think otherwise. But, that wasn’t the only surprising news that Angela told her…
Donna’s sister had also been abandoned by their mother when she was just an infant. Donna was heartbroken that her mother had also put her sister through such a terrible experience, but she was thankful that she’d ended up safe.
Donna’s sister, who was named Vanessa, was found in February of 1974 by a door-to-door salesman outside of an empty building. He heard what he assumed to be a kitten making noises inside an old cardboard box, but when he opened it, he discovered baby Vanessa. She was left only 20 miles from where Donna was found on the roadside.
Fortunately, Vanessa had also ended up with two loving, adoptive parents who provided her with a fantastic life full of love and support. Coincidentally, Vanessa’s in-laws gave her a DNA testing kit as a Christmas present one year. The combination of the testing kit and help from the website Ancestry.com led her to believe that she had a biological sister somewhere.
The ABC news program 7 On Your Side decided to connect the two sisters as well as feature a piece on their dramatic story. Both Donna and Vanessa expressed that they were hesitant at first about contacting each other. So much time had passed, and neither one knew exactly what to say.
Finally, the sisters decided to speak on the phone. Both were nervous, but they knew that the time had come for them to rekindle a relationship that had been lost for over four decades. As soon as they started speaking to each other, their sisterly bond couldn’t have been more apparent. They began to speak on a daily basis, sometimes for hours at a time! Then, two weeks later, they decided to meet face-to-face.
The reunion was special, but it was unfortunately overshadowed by an event that took place just two days earlier. The women reached out to their biological mother in hopes that she would want to finally establish a relationship with them, but she refused. She even sent a text to them the next day saying she would go to the police if they tried to contact her again. It was heartbreaking for both Donna and Vanessa.
Both women were upset by the conversation they had with their mother, but their moods changed a few days later when Angela called Donna and told her she had located a third sibling; the sisters had a biological brother! Their mother had kept their brother, but apparently, their father never even knew that Donna and Vanessa existed. In April 2017, all three siblings had an emotional reunion, along with an aunt that they had become close with.
Donna and Vanessa now plan to relocate their families to Virginia Beach—the very place where they were abandoned more than four decades ago. According to the 7 On Your Side interview, Vanessa said to Donna, “I’ve lost 43 years without you. I’m not going to lose one more day.”
What a bittersweet story! It’s a shame that their mother was so unwilling to establish a relationship with them, but the fact that they found each other after so many years was truly a miracle.
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