After 27 Years, Reunited

A Woman's Searches For Her Birth Mother

Sometimes miracles happen to those who aren't even looking for them - they just seem to appear out of the random rush of everyday events. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports on one such case.

Tanya Fisher, 37, grew up in Winston-Salem with her younger brother Doug, and their parents Fred and Hazel Smith.

"I did have a good upbringing," Fisher says. "I had parents that cared for me and took care of me. But there just was no bond. I wish me and my mom could have been closer."

All through childhood, Tanya had a vague sense that she had not been born into this family. She later found out she had spent four years in foster care before the Fishers had adopted her.

Her origins were a forbidden subject, Fisher says: "I brought it out once, and it was let known that 'We're your natural parents and don't you ever speak of that again.' So I never spoke of it again."

But she did get close to one adult. When Fisher was 9, her family moved and she found herself drawn to a woman who lived next door.

"I don't know why," she says now. "But every time I saw this - to me - old lady sitting on the porch, I used to always go down and sit and talk with her."

In 1985, when Fisher was 22 and about to marry, a search for her birth records finally confirmed the adoption. But the state's strict privacy laws still made it impossible to find her birth mother.

Finally four years later, a sympathetic clerk finally took pity and allowed Fisher to see what her mother's name had been when she was been born: G.L. Truesdale. Fisher found that G.L. Truesdale was now Gwen T. Davis. Like Fisher, Davis lived in Winston-Salem.

Fisher found out that her birth mother worked at the Winston-Salem Water Department. She called there and asked for Davis; Davis was the one who answered and said so. Fisher got nervous and hung up. She called again and hung up again. On the third call, Fisher told Davis why she had called. Davis screamed with delight and shock.

That day they met after work. The moment they met, they clutched one another in a tight hug and cried. That night Davis took her daughter home to meet her two sons.

"Mom called from work [and said,] 'Guess what, you got a sister,'" says Davis' son Matthew, laughing at the memory of that day.

Davis was 15 when she found out she was pregnant with Fisher. "When she was born, it was a joyous moment to me, but I'm a child and I'm really not knowing what's going on," Davis recalls. "When they took her from me, I started crying. And that was the last I saw of her."

These days, Fisher and Davis are extremely close.
"I never thought in my lifetime I would ever see this child again, never," she says. Davis was told that a doctor and a teacher from out of state had adopted her baby. "I often prayed to God about her: How is she? Would I ever in my life ever see her again?," she says.

One day, talking about where they had grown up, both realized that they had lived on 24th Street. The houses are scarcely 30 feet apart. Gwen had lived in the first brick house and Tanya, next door in the white house. And neither had a clue who the other really was. The older woman next door whom Tanya used to visit was her own grandmother.

"I never thought anything of it," Davis says. "Mama just liked the little girl!Â… I'll always say that my mother knew that this was her grandchild."

Davis and Fisher have become very close, creating a new extended family, now including Jessica, Fisher's first child. Fisher says that her mother is her "best friend."

Says Davis: "It was just this miracle that God sent her back to me."

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Produced by David Kohn;