The Plans I Have For You: A mother’s answered prayer

The Plans I Have For You: A mother’s answered prayer

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As a high school sophomore, Cindy never thought she would see her baby boy again after giving birth. She prayed a special prayer over him and placed him for adoption in the hope of giving him a good life. 

Upon meeting him after 50 years apart, the parallels of their lives were astonishing. It was evident that God had been answering Cindy’s prayer all along.

In 1887, The Salvation Army opened it’ first “rescue home for women,” primarily caring for young expectant mothers. Within seven years, 15 homes were operating across the United States. 

By the mid-1970s Booth Hospitals in the Western Territory had either closed or revamped their services to meet the needs of a new generation. After the closing of the maternity homes and hospitals, many “Booth babies” and birth mothers reached out for information looking to reunite with their birth parents. 

Tom was one of those babies. 

With the help of The Salvation Army’s Booth Memorial records, Tom was reunited with his birth mom, Cindy.

Below is a transcript of the video edited for clarity.

Cindy: When I was a sophomore in high school, I met and started dating a young man. I found myself pregnant.

After months of very painful decision making, I decided that adoption was the best route. I knew how important it was to have an intact, very loving family that I wasn’t able to provide. I didn’t want the child to be at any disadvantage.

Back in the 1960s, teenage pregnancy was a rather taboo, very shameful thing. My parents and I hid it from our neighbors and our relatives. I moved into the Door of Hope as a sanctuary. I remember the facility itself having little cottages and then one building that was referred to as the hospital, where we would eventually deliver. The Salvation Army would have group therapy, individual counseling. 

Tom was born, and I held him for four days. Many people chose not to hold or even see the baby. For myself, I wanted to remember the baby. It was the most difficult thing I ever did in my life. And I would just tell him how much I loved him, and I would love him every day of my life. I was doing what I really felt that God wanted me to do.

Tom: My parents explained to me that they adopted me. They said it in a very positive way. So I was really excited about it. I felt very special. I just had that stability throughout my life. I felt like God gave me my parents. I had a great life.

I went on one day just for fun, and I put all the data. It came back with a redacted record, but it had my birth mother’s maiden name on it. I saved it as a PDF, and I put it on my laptop, and it sat in a folder for ten years.

And then I had a cancer scare. That was kind of a wake up for me. I decided, you know, maybe it’s time to try to find her. My mom, she said, if you ever want to find your birth mom, The Salvation Army could help you.

I decided, I’m gonna send an email to try to obtain my birth records. I had some data. I had my birth mom’s maiden name. I had my date of birth. I had my original name. Captain Diana Gomes confirmed all that was true. So she wrote a letter. 

Captain Diana Gomes: I said, we have an inquirer that was born on this day. My search leads me to believe that you are the birth mother. 

Tom: A few weeks go by, no contact. And then Diana said, well, I’m gonna call. I’m like, you’re gonna call the house? Really?

Cindy: I still remember walking into my office and seeing that the call was coming from Salvation Army. So I thought, oh, Salvation Army. Door of Hope. My baby. When I picked up the phone. I think I went into kind of a total shock.

Captain Diana Gomes: First she said that, you know, she wasn’t the person that I was looking for.

Cindy: I was shaking my head no, telling her I was sorry. I couldn’t help her. I immediately ran to my husband, who has known, and I said, I just got a phone call. My birth son is looking for me.

What impact is this going to have on our children and our family? And he said, one step at a time. One step at a time. I was very, very slow in being able to process the dynamics. I didn’t want to be disappointing him, but I still wasn’t ready to meet him.

Bob and I talked. We prayed. I called Captain Diana back to tell her that, yes, indeed, they had found the birth mom. Captain Diana said that Tom and his wife were going to be on an anniversary trip to California, even though he was across the country in Tennessee now, he was going to be almost in our neighborhood.

That’s all she had to say. And I just immediately said, oh, may I have his telephone number? I’m going to call him.

Tom: There was 14 weeks that went by. I didn’t hear anything. I see that there was a voicemail on my phone. I was like, oh. So I played it, and it was her. She left a message.

So then we set up a meeting. I remember walking in the hotel. There was nobody but this woman sitting in a chair facing the fireplace.

Cindy: I knew it was Tom. I recognized him because he looked so much like his birth father.

Tom: We smiled at one another, and we gave each other a hug. It went, like, totally silent. It felt like I’ve hugged her before. I was weeping a little bit on her shoulder. She’s weeping a little bit on my shoulder. 

So I was like, wow, this is incredible. This is powerful. The connection was instant. It just felt perfect.

Cindy: And I really believe those four days of bonding with him kind of melded our hearts and made such an imprint on our lives.

My prayer for him was that God would find the perfect Christian family who valued education. And God gave me a peace about that. His life with his adoptive parents was parallel to my life with Bob and how we raised our children.

Tom: That was just God’s hand in the whole process.

Cindy: He shared with me, his mother had written me a letter thanking me for the gift of their son Tom, that there wasn’t a birthday, that she did not lift me up in prayer, knowing that I was thinking about him.

Tom: I wanted to tell her that I had no resentment towards her. That I had a great life, and I thanked her for doing the adoption. I told her she made the right choice.

[Tom to Cindy] How many days did you hold me again in the hospital?

Cindy: Four days. 

Tom: Four days. Well, I have a picture on the fifth day, so the first picture was taken of me after you said goodbye to me.

Cindy: I’ve not seen this. I have no mementos or pictures at the hospital. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for trying to bridge the years that were missed.

There was another month or so that went by before we were able to get all of us together.

Tom: We had a special time where my daughters got to meet her and then she got to meet her two great grandchildren.

Cindy: That was a time of absolute celebration.

Tom: That was a desire of me for both moms to meet. I flew my parents out and my mom met Cindy. They’re friends now. So she has seen a lot of me.

One of my favorite things to do with her is we go for walks to the harbor and just walk along the boardwalk. We probably chat on the phone two, three times a week.

Cindy: I didn’t know that I wasn’t a whole person. God had so much more of a gift for me. My life is full.

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