By Donna Tarrant
On Columbus Day, Oct. 14, 2019, I was working at my job at an outdoor restaurant/ice cream stand. I felt a child come up against me. Turning, I saw a little girl with long, curly, brown hair who said, “I can’t find my Mommy.”
Immediately I set down the trays I had been holding and said, “Come with me — hold my hand.” She obediently took my hand, and I asked her, “Do you remember where you saw your mother last?”
She shook her head, and I led her into the Country Store where they sell coffee, soda, and gifts. I called out to the staff there, “I have an emergency!” Another woman, a senior staff member, came out from behind the counter. I said, “This little girl can’t find her mommy.”
The woman stretched out her hand to the little girl, saying “Come here, honey.” a
And I said, “Go on honey, go with this lady.” Then I left the store.
The woman came out a few minutes later into the tent where I had continued my work, and she told us, “An all points bulletin has been sent out — if anyone comes asking for the child, tell them I’m in the Country Store.”
Right after that, I collected my jacket and backpack and headed up to mini-golf where I would sign in and out on the computer to start and end my shift. It was ten minutes of four in the afternoon, and when I got to the desk, I heard a woman asking about “a little girl with long, curly, brown hair.”
The staff said, “No one has come in with her.”
And I asked the woman, “You lost a little girl?”
She said, “Yes.”
I reassured her, “We found her; she’s in the Country Store.”
The mother exclaimed: “Oh, thank you, thanks so much!” and she dashed out.
I was happy to have reunited a mother and child, but a chord of grief struck me when I thought about how I was separated from my son in the 1980s, by the state. I knew where he was for two years, in a foster home in a neighboring town, although I was not allowed to go to the house to see him. Then in 1988, he was placed in a pre-adoptive home with a couple who would eventually become his new parents. I didn’t know, and still don’t know, where they lived, even though someone told me, “If the couple used the social services office in your town, your son is probably not that far away from you.” This was the only consolation I had.
In later years, I was told that they had moved away, but I was “reunited” with my son, in a manner of speaking, when I was told by the social worker who had placed him that she had heard from his parents, and she took that opportunity to tell them that I had been asking about him. They gave the social worker some non-identifying information.
I still grieve at not having seen my son since the age of two years and two months, but after thirty years, I still have hope. I wrote to the mediatrix between my son and me, a woman who works for the Department of Children and Families in Boston, to tell her this story. I still feel distraught and distressed the way that mother at my place of work must have felt, but I pray every day for a reunion.