After 50 years of separation, daughter finds biological mother a few days before Christmas
Pam Miller, of Fargo, spent more than 30 years looking for her biological mother before she finally found her, three days before Christmas in 2010.
"It was truly a Christmas miracle," said Laura Faye Bobo, Miller's mother, who lives in Ohio.
Miller, now 52, endured a difficult childhood, even after her adoption at birth.
Her adoptive mother died when Miller was 5 years old.
When her adoptive father couldn't take care of her, her adoptive mother's sister took over custody until she was 15 years old, when Miller went into foster care until age 18.
As an adult, Miller spent countless hours in libraries looking at newspapers and phone books for any clues that might lead to her biological family.
All Miller knew was that her mother's first name was Faye, her last name might have been something like Clemens, and she lived somewhere in Ohio.
She spent a lot of time calling people who would just hang up.
Eventually she stopped.
"I came to peace with myself that it probably would never happen," Miller said. "I had spent years looking, and I just figured it would never happen, so I just moved on."
But after she had a family of her own and her daughter, Presley, who is now 20, developed medical problems, Miller started looking again, this time needing information on her medical background in addition to wanting to find her parents.
She contacted the hospital in St. Louis where she'd been born and the courthouse to try to get the adoption records opened.
Both resulted in dead ends.
She started and stopped her search a few times over the years.
Then a couple of years ago when Miller was looking for Presley's birth certificate, she came across a box of get well cards addressed to her first adoptive mother.
She started searching the cards, looking for clues and decided on a whim to type her first adoptive mother's name into Google to see what popped up.
It was late on Dec. 21, 2010, when Miller came across a notice on adopteeconnect.com that said: "I am searching for my birth daughter, her name was Pamela Jean Hubbs, adoptive parents were John and Viola Hubbs of St. Louis, Missouri."
It had been posted Oct. 20 of that year, the day after Miller's 50th birthday.
"I was crying," Miller said. "I was a wreck and didn't know what to do."
She immediately called her oldest daughter, who was at a friend's house.
"I got a phone call from my mom and she was bawling," Presley Wanner said. "My stomach just dropped."
When Miller told her daughter that she had found her mother, Wanner started crying, too.
"I was just blown away," Wanner said.
Miller clicked on the reply button on the notice and wrote: "My name is Pamela Jean Miller Hubbs. I know that I'm your daughter," she said.
She added where she was born and her adoptive parents' names and hit send.
"I was sick to my stomach," she said. "I was nervous, excited, but apprehensive. I didn't know what to think."
Miller said she didn't sleep all night, and when she checked her email at 6 the next morning, she had a message from her sister, Karen, whom she didn't know existed until that moment.
Karen had posted the notice to help her mother find Miller.
"It was the most wonderful thing that happened," Bobo said. "I had been trying to find her for about 50 years."
Bobo, who said she never wanted to give her daughter up for adoption, said she wrote letters and never got answers back. She said the court told her they would release all of the adoption information when her daughter turned 18, but they never did.
"You don't know how much I suffered in those 50 years," Bobo said. "I cried all the time. I always cried on her birthday."
"There was a piece of my heart that was missing," Bobo said. "After we found her, I felt like my heart was back. I can't really explain it. When I left St. Louis and left her there, I left a piece of my heart there. I'm very excited and happy that she's in our lives. I didn't think we could ever find her."
It took Miller a little while before she could call her mom, she said.
"I don't know why," she said. "These people were like total strangers, but yet, they were my family."
Miller and her sister emailed back and forth, exchanging information and family photos.
"It was like we'd always been sisters," Miller said.
She learned she had seven siblings, and she flew to Ohio to meet them and her mom a few weeks later.
When she arrived, there was a huge party at her mother's house with a big cake that read, "Welcome home."
"I hugged her and we were crying," Bobo said. "She just acted like she was at home. It was amazing. I just felt like I knew her."
Miller stayed about a week, spending time getting to know the family she never knew she had.
Her mother also identified Miller's father, a man with which Bobo was no longer in contact. Several months later, Miller started looking for him.
She found two listings for a Dewey White in Arkansas. She guessed which one was likely her father and called the number.
When a man answered, Miller asked if he had ever known a woman named Faye Cremeans.
"He said, 'I most certainly did,' " Miller said.
She then told him she was his daughter.
"She said, well thank God, I found my father," White said. "I didn't know what to think."
White said he was shocked, but he was happy. He knew he had a daughter somewhere, but never knew where to look or how to find her, he said.
Miller then visited him, too. They got along well and have a close relationship now, White said.
"I just love her a whole lot," he said. "It seems like I've known her forever."
Miller still keeps in close contact with both sides of her new-found family and says she feels a sense of peace.
"I have that feeling that I belong somewhere now," she said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526