GARDNER, Kan. — A mom in Gardner will soon be reunited with her daughter five decades after they were separated.
Family is everything to Marilyn Warner, but there’s been a void the past 50 years.
“It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life,” Warner said.
In December 1968, Warner gave birth to a baby girl. It would be the first and last time she would see her daughter because she gave her up for adoption. But Warner didn’t want to.
“I didn’t, but I had to for her sake because I didn’t think she would be treated the way she should’ve been treated, like any other child,” she said.
Warner, who has three other children, said not a day went by that she didn’t think of her daughter.
“The only thing I wanted all my life is for her to be happy and safe and loved,” she said.
A year ago, Warner submitted her DNA through Ancestry, a genealogy service. She created an account after her current husband found out he had a daughter he never knew existed.
“I just thought I’d try it and thought, ‘Well, if I do that, then maybe she’ll look for me — and she did,” she said.
In October, Warner got a message from a woman named Pebble who said, “I think you’re my mother.” Their DNA confirmed they were a parent-child match.
Warner couldn’t believe it.
“I was thrilled and excited, skeptical and scared but it was wonderful,” she said.
The two cried for awhile the first time they talked on the phone.
“One of the first things she said was ‘Did you?’ which was really hard for me. She said, ‘Did you not want me?’ and I said, ‘No, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.’ I said, ‘I wanted you more than anything in the world, but I couldn’t keep you,’” she recalled.
Warner said Pebble is a spitting image of her.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s me when I was 15 years old,’” she said of the first time she saw pictures of Pebble. “I couldn’t believe she looked so much like me. It just amazed me.”
Pebble lives in San Antonio, Texas. She’s getting on a flight Friday night, headed for Kansas City, to meet the entire family.
“I can’t wait for everybody to get together and meet each other,” Warner said.
That missing part Warner’s been longing to fill for decades is now whole again.
“[It’s] full circle,” she said. “This completes it.”