As Facebook becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives, it also reflects both the highs and sometimes the lows that our friends experience. For instance, at this time of year, my Facebook timeline is filled with young shining faces in caps and gowns, graduating and setting off for life's big adventures.
Other times, Facebook is also a place where folks can reach out for comfort and share grief or loss. But with about 1 billion people using Facebook worldwide, it also offers ways to connect like never before. This story is about one woman using Facebook in a desperate effort to make a life-changing connection.
57 years ago, a newborn infant was found abandoned in a cardboard box. The baby girl weighed just 5 pounds 8 ounces, and doctors estimated she was only 5 days old. Though left out in a box, she was wrapped in a warm blanket. News reports at the time indicated police searched door to door for the baby's mother and even checked nearby shops in hopes of finding who bought the baby's clothes.
Despite best efforts of police, the investigation apparently hit a dead end. The orphan baby was put in a care home and given the name Elizabeth Rylands. Eventually she was put up for adoption and was raised in a loving home where her name was changed to Karen Waterton.
But a lifetime of not knowing where she came from or who she is has weighed heavily on Karen. Seven years ago, she appealed through the local newspaper for information from anyone who knew anything about her background. Those news stories lead to a woman who claimed to be Karen's mother. But DNA tests confirmed that Karen and the woman were not related, dashing any hopes of a heartfelt reunion.
Now, the 57-year old mother of two is turning to Facebook in hopes of filling in her past. In an emotional post, she writes:
"Please share.....I was abandoned in a cardboard box on 28th March 1958 in Grafton Street, Manchester (an area known as 'Little Ireland'). My only blood relatives are my 2 daughters. Together we are hoping to find some links to our birth family."
She goes on to write:
"Perhaps our birth family is in England or Ireland. Or they may have emigrated on the ships that left Liverpool at that time to Australia, the U.S. or even Canada? Please help and share this post! Thank you."
Karen's Facebook page is under the name she was given in the care home, Elizabeth Rylands.
In another newspaper interview, she says, "As the years go by, time is running out for me to find out what happened. In a perfect world I would find my biological parents but any information from that time would mean the world to me – who named me Elizabeth Rylands? Having a family of my own has helped me but there’s still something missing. It’s not about blame, it’s about finding out the truth before it’s too late.”
She goes on to tell the newspaper that she became a social worker working in adoption services because of her past.
You can follow Karen's search on her Facebook page here.