Gift of Love: Mother And Daughter Reunion - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/28/07 - Ore City, Texas

Gift of Love: Mother And Daughter Reunion

It was August 22, 1985 in Amarillo. Donna Swanson gave birth to a baby girl named Misti. "I thought about it and thought about it. I finally decided that it was best to give her up for adoption to try to give her a better life," says Donna.Swanson.

That was 22 years ago. Donna now lives in Ore City, Texas and says a day doesn't go by that she doesn't think about her daughter. "She wasn't easy to forget. There was no way I could forget her. I always thought about her on her birthday because her birthday is a day before mine."

Then, in August of 2005, Donna got a surprise phone call. It was Misti. "Oh my gosh, that was one of the most exciting days of my life," says Donna with a big smile.

Misti's first question was, why? But what she said next, let Donna know she made the right decision in giving her up. "She said she had a good life and she thanked me for it. She said she didn't hold any resentment toward me and she wanted to be a part of my life now, if that was O.K."

It was the beginning of a new relationship. Making up for lost time, they shared photos. Donna thumbs through a photo album looking at pictures from Misti's first dance, her first car and her high school graduation.

"She's known about me since the second grade. She's been waiting all these years to find me," says Donna looking at baby pictures of Misti.

The two now talk on the phone often sharing stories from their past and discussing their future. Misti is now married, living in Phoenix, Arizona. Her husband is currently stationed in Iraq. He left for his 3rd tour of duty just 4 months ago, in August.

That month would bring another life changing event for Misti. She would meet her biological mother for the first time as Donna travels to Phoenix. "When I was getting off the plane I just couldn't get to her fast enough," says Donna.

When they finally embraced, the tears began to flow and it is a moment neither of them will ever forget. Looking at her daughter for the first time since birth Donna says, "She's just as beautiful as ever."

Being face to face is something Misti has longed for "I wanted closure and answers to questions I've had for a long time," says Misti.

They would spend every waking moment of their week together talking and savoring every second.

"It makes me very grateful to have the opportunity to have her back in my life. Now I feel like there has been a hole in my heart that's been patched," says Donna.

Now back home in East Texas, Donna flips through the photo album again, looking forward to filling the rest of the pages with memories of a daughter she never thought she'd see again.

With Christmas fast approaching, Donna has just one wish this year; to have all of her children home for the holidays. She's hoping Misti could make her first trip to East Texas to meet her two other biological children.

If you'd like to know more about adoption, call our Gift of Love hotline, toll-free, 1-888-kids-275.

Gillian Sheridan, Reporting 

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