Detective search finally finds ‘lost’ parent
- Last Updated: 7:00 AM, May 13, 2012
- Posted: 11:54 PM, May 12, 2012
Christy Cole-Manlove had always wanted to find her birth mother to let her know life had turned out OK — but it took two tragic turns to finally find her.
Today she and biological mom Sandee Weaver will celebrate their first joyous Mother’s Day together in upstate New York after decades of longing and years of fruitless searches.
“This has been the most amazing journey I have ever been on in my life,” said a jubilant Christy, 48, who was told growing up only that she was born to an unmarried church organist from “back east.”
“My life is complete now,” said Weaver, 65. “When I heard her voice for the first time on the phone, all I could say was ‘My baby, my baby.’ If you had a hole in your heart like I had, you don’t know what it’s like to see your baby again.”
Her parents, pillars of the suburban Buffalo community of Silver Creek, were so ashamed of their 16-year-old daughter’s pregnancy that they sent her to New Mexico to give birth.
“I was not allowed to see [the baby], touch her or hold her. But I knew I had a daughter who was born 5 pounds, 2 ounces,” she recalled.
Christy’s dad, who was 19, didn’t know Weaver was pregnant until after the adoption. Weaver was sent away to college and the two drifted apart.
“Christy had a wonderful family,” said Weaver. “I would have given her all the love in the world, but not the advantages her mother gave her.”
The women almost didn’t meet.
Christy, an interior decorator, was riding in a car with her husband, Ed, and teenage daughter Mackenzie, in September 2010, when they were struck head-on. Two teens in the other car died and Christy and her husband were seriously injured.
“You realize your life can be gone in a second,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to die not knowing who my mother was.”
Last February, Loudel Cole, 76, the woman who raised Christy, lay dying. She had already told her the name of her birth mom, and made her daughter promise to keep searching.
That’s when investigative genealogist Pamela Slaton came to the rescue. Christy saw Slaton, a Queens native who works out of her New Jersey home, on the cable show “In Search For.”
It was a hard case to crack. There was no age on the birth mother and there were many Weavers. Slaton — the author of “Reunited: An Investigative Genealogist Unlocks Some of Life’s Greatest Family Mysteries” — concentrated in the New Mexico area and then expanded her search.
She finally found a woman around the same age who played the organ at a Lutheran church in Silver Creek.
Weaver had been praying for the call for 48 years.
“She screamed and cried so loud that every hair on my body stood up,” Slaton recalled.
On Friday night, Christy met her birth father, Edmund Elwell. He lived 27 miles away from Weaver.
“Now I have all the pieces of my life in place,” said Christy.