21 January 2011

Kidnapped: Reunited 23 Years Later...

I tend to spend the odd minute or two surfing the internet. Every now and then, a story jumps out for its horror, its tragedy, its bizarreness or, as in this case seemingly, a happy ending. A young woman who was kidnapped 23 years ago has finally been reunited with her birth mother. It is hard to imagine what sort of feelings one must have learning that you had been kidnapped and have in essence lost 23 years of a potential parallel life. So, when Carlina White / Nejdra Nance says it "felt like a dream", you still wonder whether even in your wildest dreams you would have dreamed that such a day would happen.

The story is one that probably happens a lot more than we care to allow ourselves to acknowledge. The kidnap of children is not a new phenomenon or crime. However, it is rare to here of such happy reunions after such a long period of time.

A 19-day-old Carlina was kidnapped in 1987. The story began with a simple fever and a trip to a Harlem hospital. It ended with Carlina being kidnapped by a woman posing as a nurse and spending the next 23 years living with an abusive "parent". Carlina ended-up pregnant herself at 16 and this is when she started connecting the dots of her own life. A request for a birth certificate could not be fulfilled. The suspicions began to come to the fore as to why that might be. Ultimately, Carlina bailed out of the abusive home in Connecticut and headed to Georgia.

While in Georgia, Carlina met up with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The Center filled in a few of the blanks and joined the rest of the dots. A DNA test and a few phone calls put Carlina back in contact with her birth mother, Joy White.

The emotions for Joy White and the rest of Carlina's long lost family most be overwhelming too, particularly when they are not only getting back a lost daughter, sister, cousin, aunt or whatever, but Carlina has since had a daughter herself.

Hopefully, this is a story that continues to have a happy ending.

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