70 Years After Doctors Said Her Baby Died, This Old Woman Received A Life-Changing Phone Call

At the age of 88, Genevive Purinton was living a fairly solitary life at her retirement home in Florida. All of her immediate family had sadly passed away, and she believed that the only child she’d given birth to had died soon after delivery almost seven decades ago. But then she received a note that would finally help her to uncover the truth.

As a teenager, Purinton became pregnant with a married man. She was single and yet to graduate from high school. Back then, in the late 1940s, it was frowned upon for a woman to have children out of wedlock. As a result, it appears that Purinton’s mother and father didn’t approve of the situation in which she’d found herself.

At just 18 years of age, Purinton gave birth to her daughter in Indiana in 1949. However, she would never get to hold her little baby. That’s because nurses at the hospital informed her that she’d died. In December 2018 Purinton told NBC News, “I asked to see the baby and they said she died. That’s all I remember.”

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At the time, Purinton had no reason to doubt what hospital workers were telling her. They’d said outright that her baby had passed away, so it didn’t cross her mind to ask to see her daughter’s birth certificate. Instead, she accepted the fact that she’d lost her child and focused on getting her life back together.

Without her baby girl, Purinton found herself feeling isolated. Her mom had warned her that her dad would kill her if she returned home. So she instead went to live with her grandmother. She finished high school before leaving her home state of Indiana for a new life in Florida.

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Purinton reportedly arrived in her new home without knowing a soul. However, what she lacked in company, she made up for in grit and conviction. She carved out a life for herself in Tampa. But she would never go on to have any more children following a hysterectomy to treat a tumor.

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Despite that health scare, Purinton was destined to live a long life. However, the downside to that was watching all of her eight siblings pass before her. As of December 2018, Purinton was 88 and believed that she was the only one remaining in her family. Consequently, she lived a simple existence at a care home in North Tampa.

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As Purinton wiled away the days at her assisted living facility, she had no way of knowing that she would soon discover a new relative. One which would ultimately lead her to a whole new side of her family that she never even knew existed. It all began in September 2018, when Purinton was handed the phone number of a lady called Connie Moultroup.

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Moultroup was raised in Santa Barbara, California, after being adopted as a baby. She was always aware that her parents weren’t biologically related to her. Nevertheless, she loved hearing about how they came to welcome her into their family. And the fact that they chose her to be their own no doubt made her feel special.

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Moultroup revealed how her parents would talk openly about her adoption. In 2018 she told Inside Edition, “My favorite bedtime story was how my parents walked up and down the halls of the hospital looking at all the babies until they found me and then they stopped. It was sweet.”

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However, Moultroup’s happy bubble was not to last. Sadly, her adoptive mother died when Moultroup herself was just a small child. Her father subsequently remarried, but he too fell ill and soon passed away as well. As a result, Moultroup had lost both her adoptive parents by the age of five.

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In 2018 Moultroup’s own daughter, Bonnie Chase, revealed to CNN, “Her adoptive mother died of cancer. And shortly after, her adoptive father was diagnosed with a heart condition.” Plus, to make matters worse, Moultroup’s stepmother was reportedly abusive. As such, hers was not the happiest of childhoods.

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With no major maternal influence in her life, Moultroup supposedly always fantasized about meeting her real mom. And she did actually look for her biological mother during her 30s – but her efforts proved fruitless. Eventually, it seems, life got in the way of Moultroup’s quest to find her family.

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As an adult, Moultroup settled in Richmond, Vermont, enjoying a career as a nurse and then a massage therapist. She had just one daughter, Bonnie Chase, who herself went on to have two children. As a result, by the time she was in her late 60s, Moultroup only had three blood relatives that she was aware of.

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But all that was set to change in 2017 when Chase bought Moultroup a DNA testing set as a Christmas present. After all, she thought her mom might like to learn more about her genes. However, Chase had been interested to learn more about her own heritage, so she also got a kit for herself.

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Chase could relate to Moultroup. Like her mom, there was a whole side to Chase’s family that she didn’t know. In 2018 Chase explained to Yahoo, “I never met my own biological father, and growing up, it was just me and my mom… I remember mom trying to find her birth mother, and it was hard to see her go through that.”

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But while Chase and Moultroup both longed to find out more about their family backgrounds, neither of them took the DNA kits seriously. Chase would later tell NBC News, “It was just a cool Christmas present.” In fact, Moultroup felt so lax towards her test that it took her some time to even send it off for analysis.

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But if Moultroup had known how the test would change her life, she might have completed it sooner. She explained to CNN, “It took me a while to use it, but when I finally got the results I went from having only three known relatives (a daughter and two grandchildren), to 1,600 relatives. I was floored.”

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Among the relatives that the DNA kit had linked Moultroup to was a long-lost cousin, who introduced her to her biological family for the first time. The pair struck up a conversation, and Moultroup quizzed her new-found relative on her family tree. That’s when things took an unexpected turn.

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Moultroup knew the name of her biological mother, and so she divulged this information to her relative online. Recalling what happened next, Moultroup told CNN, “I told her my mother’s name was Genevieve Purinton, and my cousin said, ‘Oh, that’s my aunt. And she’s still alive, living on her own.’ I couldn’t believe it.”

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In a shocking twist, it turned out that Moultroup was the baby that Purinton believed she’d lost in 1949. It seems that her nurses had lied to her – the child hadn’t died at all. Instead, she had been taken to an orphanage, ready to be adopted into a new family.

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Later Moultroup reflected on why she may have been taken from her mother in such a callous way. She told CNN, “Because she was an unwed mother, she was told that I had died. She continued with her life not knowing I was still alive.” And sadly, Purinton was not alone in this kind of experience.

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Ann Fessler is the author of the 2006 book The Girls Who Went Away. In it, she explored the pressure that pregnant single women felt to give up their babies during the period between the close of World War II and the time in which abortion became legal in 1973. She interviewed over 100 women who’d begrudgingly surrendered their children to protect themselves from the “shame” of being a single mother.

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During the 1940s and 1950s, illegitimacy was usually considered the woman’s fault, a symptom of her psychological shortcomings. As a result, it was often the view that it was best for them to be separated from their babies. Often, unmarried mothers had little option but to hand their offspring over, receiving no support from society to help them raise their children themselves.

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Forced adoptions were disturbingly commonplace in the era in which Purinton gave birth to Moultroup. And the fact that she was told her child had actually died is particularly grim assessment of social attitudes of the time. As Puritan herself put it to the Daily Mail in 2018, “Things were different back then.”

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As for Moultroup, it seemed that now, aged 69, she was going to finally meet her biological mom. This was to be a reunion she had been dreaming of since she was just a child. As Moultroup’s own daughter Chase told NBC News, “She would fantasize about her mother rescuing her since she was five-years-old… It’s truly her life-long dream.”

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After receiving Purinton’s contact details from her cousin online, Moultroup reached out to her biological mother. Leaving the ball firmly in Purinton’s court, she simply sent her a card with her phone number on it. That way, Purinton could get in touch with her long-lost daughter if and when she felt ready.

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The moment that Moultroup had waited most of her life for came on September 8, 2018. It was then that she answered the phone to find Purinton on the other end. Finally, she could hear her biological mother’s voice for the first time in her living memory. And it seems that Moultroup believed fate played a part on that special day.

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In her interview with CNN, Moultroup revealed, “I was at church that day, and I never want to leave early, but that day I did. Literally, 20 minutes after getting home, my mother calls.” The conversation had been almost 70 years in the making, and so the pair had lots to catch up on.

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Recalling that first phone chat, Moultroup told NBC News how Purinton had told her, “I think I’m your mother.” Then, recalling the atmosphere of the call, Moultroup added, “You could’ve heard a pin drop… She wanted to remember if I knew my original name, Margaret Ann Mitch.” As it happened, she did.

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That initial conversation was to be the start of a meaningful relationship between Moultroup and Purinton. Indeed, they subsequently began calling regularly. And it was during these catch-ups that the two women realized just how much they had in common. As a result, Moultroup was in no doubt that she’d finally found her mother.

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Joking, Moultroup said of Purinton, “She couldn’t deny me if she wanted to – we look exactly alike… We have the same facial features, bad knees, and we’ve both had heart attacks and strokes.” She added, “My mom had always wanted to be a nurse, but she couldn’t afford school so she became a cook… I was a nurse for 34 years and my passion is cooking.”

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Moultroup finally got the chance to meet her mother at Purinton’s retirement village in Florida in December 2018. She later recalled the moment that she first set eyes on her biological mom to Inside Edition. In her words, “I walked into her retirement home and I knew it was her because she walked with a walker.”

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Moultroup revealed, “[There] was only one woman there with a walker… She turned around and it was like looking in the mirror. I look just like her. We just walked over to one another and both of us started crying.” And from there, it seems like there were a lot more tears shed.

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Chase’s recollection of the meeting echoed her mother’s memory. She, too, described an outpouring of emotions as Moultroup and Purinton reconnected. She told NBC News, “We’re criers… We just cry a lot. There were a lot of tears and there’s been a lot of tears the entire time since then. It’s been really amazing.”

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Between her tears, Moutroup was able to fill Purinton in on the 69 years since they parted. This included telling her mom that she was also a grandmother and great-grandmother. In 2018 Moutroup told FOX 13, “It’s been a lifetime of wanting this. I remember being five years old, wishing I could find my mother.”

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Given the positive experience Moultroup had in finding Purinton, she encouraged others to seek out their biological parents. With that in mind, she told CNN, “Not everybody has this kind of outcome when looking for their parents. But I recommend you give it a try. You don’t know what will happen.”

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Commenting on the heartwarming story, a spokesperson for AncestryDNA – the company which manufactured the DNA kit used – spoke to NBC News. Jasmin Jimenez said, “We’re thrilled that Ancestry was able to play a part in helping to connect Genevieve Purinton with her daughter after 69 years… We wish her and her family the best, and that this is only the beginning of an enduring relationship.”

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And Moultroup’s journey of discovery into her biological family didn’t end with meeting Purinton. That’s because she also had plans to connect with her two half-siblings on her dad’s side in the month after her reunion with her mom. As such, Moultroup was watching her family grow before her eyes.

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For Moultroup’s daughter Chase, the journey that the DNA kits she’d bought for herself and her mom had taken them on had been life-changing. She told CNN, “We knew nothing about our family, it was just us three… Now, through Ancestry, we see we are related to over 4,000 people.”

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