A woman finds an abandoned baby in a forest cottage and decides to hand her over to the cops. 23 years later, their paths cross again when a homeless woman claiming to be the baby’s mother shows up on her doorstep.
“Are you Darby Jones, the photographer who clicked this picture?” Elora asked in a trembling voice as she handed a baby’s picture to Darby.
“Yes, that’s me. But where did you find this picture? I took it 23 years ago!” Darby responded, startled by the sight of a poor woman dressed in rags on her doorstep. Her face was riddled with dark circles, and she had sunken cheeks.
“Well, this child,” Elora continued in a weak voice, “She’s my daughter. I’ve been looking for her for years. Please help me find her!”
Darby’s eyes widened. “What? Your daughter?”
“Yes, my name is Elora, and she is…” Before the woman could finish her sentence, darkness filled her vision, and she collapsed to the floor.
Darby dashed into the kitchen to get some water and splash it in Elora’s face. When the poor woman awoke, Darby fed her and dressed her in warm clothes. Then she told Darby her story, bringing the woman to tears.
23 years ago…
Elora was only 16 when she became pregnant. Her so-called boyfriend threatened to kill both her and the baby if she did not comply with his request to terminate the pregnancy. Fearful, Elora fled his home and relocated to a different city.
Elora was orphaned at a young age and had no one to look after her. Her life in the city was difficult, and she wandered the streets looking for work, but no one wanted to hire a pregnant woman.
One day, she was begging near a railway station when her water broke. Some local women assisted her, and the delivery went smoothly, but she fled the station soon after when no one was around because she was afraid the cops would take her baby away from her.
But raising a child without food or money was even more challenging. She couldn’t even feed herself at times, so providing for the baby was out of the question.
Luckily, while wandering around town one day, she came across an abandoned cottage in the woods. It was completely encased in snow, blending with its surroundings where the snowfall had already formed a blanket over the landscape. And Elora, despite the fact that she didn’t have any money, was relieved to find a place where she and her baby could hide from the inclement weather.
The cottage housed a small cot. Elora placed baby Ava in it after wrapping her in an old sweater she’d gotten while begging outside a cafe and decided to go around the forest picking fruits from the trees. However, when she returned, Ava was no longer there.
“I looked everywhere,” Elora said, her eyes welling up. “And eventually, I gave up hope. But then, while digging through the dumpster, I came across her photograph in a magazine. I was shocked to see my baby’s photo there!”
Darby’s past flashed before her eyes as Elora narrated the story. It had indeed been a cold evening. She was a young photographer fresh out of college at the time, and she was walking around a deserted winter forest taking pictures when she heard a crying sound. Following the sound had led her to an abandoned cottage where she discovered Ava.
She picked up the baby and started rocking her until she stopped crying. And when she noticed Ava’s lovely emerald eyes, she couldn’t help but take a picture of the adorable baby, which she later submitted to the magazine Elora had discovered, along with the other pictures she took that day.
However, concerned for the baby, who was alone in the cottage with no one in sight, she decided to notify the cops, who took little Ava with them and gave her to an orphanage.
The day all this happened, Darby called her friend Kylie and told her the whole story. Kylie–who had been trying for a baby for a long time and couldn’t conceive–thought it was God’s sign that her friend had discovered an abandoned baby in a cottage.
She and her husband decided they’d adopt Ava, but when they visited the orphanage later that week, they discovered another family had already applied for the child’s adoption. Going through the documents revealed that Ava’s adoptive parents had named her Amanda Clemmens.
“It would’ve taken a long time to find you as well,” Elora continued. “But luckily, your name and address were still visible on the photograph. So finding you was comparatively easier.”
“I’m so sorry I separated you from your beautiful child, Elora,” Darby said apologetically. “But I promise I’ll assist you in finding her. I believe we should start at the orphanage where the cops left Ava.”
Darby followed through on her promise, and the next day the two ladies paid a visit to the orphanage. The orphanage keeper was hesitant to give them Ava’s documents, but Darby pulled a few strings, and they eventually got them.
When they arrived at the address stated in the documents, a young girl with emerald eyes answered the door. And seeing her daughter after 23 years, Elora just burst into tears! “Honey!” She sobbed and embraced her. “I’ve missed you so much, baby! Mumma will never abandon you again.”
Perplexed by her reaction, the young lady dashed inside and called her mother. Elora told Mrs. Clammens the entire story and stated that she was willing to take a DNA test with Amanda if she didn’t believe her.
Mrs. Clammens’ heart sank when she saw her daughter’s biological mother after all these years. She was a mother, after all, and she didn’t want Amanda to leave her. But separating a mother from a child would be a sin, she reasoned. Hence, she agreed to Elora’s request.
Unsurprisingly for Elora, the test results revealed that Amanda was indeed her daughter. But Elora had no intention of taking Amanda away from Mrs. Clammens. After all, the kind woman took care of her daughter all these years. Likewise, Mrs. Clammens didn’t wish for Elora to be separated from her daughter again.
So in the end, Mrs. Clammens and her husband assisted Elora in finding work in a hotel and allowed the poor woman to move in with them. The two ladies also made the decision to raise Amanda together.
Amanda was taken aback when she found out about everything, and it took her some time to process it and come to terms with the fact that Elora was, in fact, her mother. But everything worked out in the end.
Two years ago, she walked down the aisle and she chose to do so with her two beautiful mothers who love her unconditionally.
What can we learn from this story?
Life is quite unexpected. Elora thought she’d never be reunited with her daughter, but it happened after 23 years.
Families are formed through love and care, not necessarily through blood. Mrs. Clammens adored Amanda and even welcomed her biological mother into her family wholeheartedly.