Birth mother, daughter close but never met

December 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It was a mother and child reunion just in time for the holidays. Wednesday at the Oakland International Airport, an East Bay woman met the daughter she gave up for adoption many years ago.

It's hard to wait patiently for the person you've dreamed about for nearly 25 years, and when Dena Doherty spotted Jennifer Springer coming down the steps at the airport, there was almost a security breach as she went running towards her.

When asked if the last time she saw Jennifer was when she was a baby in her arms, Dena recalled, "Yes, she was just a few hours old."

The baby was born at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek and then given up for adoption.

"I was just very young, not able to care for her," said Dena. "I wanted to give her a better life, but I always knew that I was going to find her."

Jennifer had always wondered what happened and thought, "I wondered why, of course. I wondered what she looked like, if she was keeping track of how old I was on my birthdays, and just if she thought about me at all."

The questions have been answered thanks to Jennifer's mother-in-law.

You hear all these jokes about mother-in-laws, but there was something special about Jennifer's mother-in-law, Tracey Springer.

"Yeah, not this one. She's amazing," said Jennifer.

"It was all a fluke. I was on the computer one night and I just typed in 'adoption' and put in her birth date and all this information came up," said Tracey.

That's because Dena, the birth mother, had opened up the adoption records on Jennifer's 18th birthday, hoping her daughter would look for her. What neither knew is that all those years they both were right here in the Bay Area. Jennifer only recently moved to Virginia.

Wednesday's reunion includes a son Dena adopted, who is thrilled to have a new sister. There's also one more addition to this extended family.

"It turns out my husband and Dena's husband work together," said Tracey.

Can you imagine this holiday season?

"This is the first of many, many, many visits and a lifetime of reuniting," said Dena.

Jennifer will be in the Bay Area long enough to celebrate her first Christmas with her birth mother and her birthday at the end of the month.


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