A woman found out her whole life had been a lie after she applied for a business license as an adult, and the documentation bounced back with multiple inconsistencies. It took her 50 years to reunite with her real family.
Being curious about your roots is one thing, but have you ever imagined dealing with an identity crisis? There are stories where individuals can spend a large part of their lives having no clue who they are or where they come from.
A woman from West Baltimore, Maryland, had gone through the same dilemma, spending more than two decades solving the puzzle of her life.
[Left] A childhood picture of S-Monique Smith. [Right] S-Monique Smith sharing an emotional hug with her older sister. | Photo: twitter.com/deliangoncalves
Monique Smith-Person, who identifies herself as an advocate, author, and speaker, spent a tough childhood where she was often beaten and chastised for even the slightest misconduct. Talking about her bitter experience, Smith-Person shared:
"The beatings were daily. If the sun came up, if it rained, if the wind blew too hard, I was chastised (sic)."
Unfortunately, the beatings and scolding came from a woman she thought was her mother. Every day, Smith-Person decided to look normal to the outside world. She never missed school and did her homework regularly.
Smonique Smith-Person. | Photo: YouTube.com/AmenRa Darby
VICTIM OF CHILD ABUSE AND ABDUCTION
Smith-Person had to endure physical, mental, and emotional abuse for a long time. At the age of 29 in 1996, she applied for a business license but was shocked when the paperwork revealed some secrets.
The Baltimore woman shared that it was like a dream come true, and also discovered her real name, "Symbolie."
Then, she realized that the woman who had brought her up wasn't her mother at all. When Smith-Person talked to the people she thought were her family, they told her that her alleged mother had shown up with her one day.
Smonique Smith-Person has collected a puzzle full of photos and documents of her false identity. | Photo: YouTube.com/AmenRa Darby
I AM THE ANCESTOR
To find out who she was and where she came from, Smith-Person registered herself with the Missing Person's Registry, put out flyers and posters with her childhood pictures on them, and even embarked on a multistate search.
Sadly, nothing seemed to help much, but the Baltimore woman vowed to continue her search. Then, she began raising awareness regarding human trafficking and child abduction and even wrote a book in 2011 titled "I Am The Ancestor."
The proceeds from her book went to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She started organizing workshops in schools and other educational institutions to teach children and young adults how to protect themselves.
Smonique Smith-Person shares a document her alleged mother had falsified. | Photo: YouTube.com/WUSA9
BATTLING IDENTITY CRISIS
While becoming a voice for other people, Smith-Person continued her search and even confronted her alleged mother. Talking about the confrontation, she revealed:
"She just rattled on until she had gotten so furious and said, 'You know what? I'll go to my grave before you will ever know (sic).'"
Despite trying to stay strong and being as productive as possible, there were days when Smith-Person struggled to move forward. Having no clue about how old she really was or where her real family could be, sometimes it all became too much bear.
Smonique Smith-Person in conversation with WUSA9 representative. | Photo: YouTube.com/WUSA9
LONGEST LIVING JANE DOE
"I actually have all the documentation that she falsified with her signature on it with all the fake names all the fake identities (sic)."
On March 26, 2019, Smith-Person became the longest living Jane Doe and had all the necessary documentation to prove her claims. She also became an advocate for missing children and contributed to passing the state's Missing Children's Act.
Smonique Smith-Person and her sister shared an uncanny resemblance. | Photo: YouTube.com/WUSA9
A LONG TIME COMING
Smith-Person spent a large part of her life doubting whether someone was looking for her. But it wasn't until 2019 when the longest living Jane Doe finally reunited with her family after 50 years. Talking to WUSA, she said:
“My sister told me the last time she saw me I was 1 years old. One day she saw me, the next day she didn’t and that was over 50 years ago. It’s like I’ve been living in captivity for over 50 years and now I’m finally free!”
Smith-Person was reunited with her long-lost older sister in an emotional reunion, and the resemblance they shared was too much to ignore. The Baltimore woman shared that it was like a dream come true and discovered her real name, "Symbolie."
Smonique Smith-Person pictured with her older sister. | Photo: YouTube.com/WUSA9
THE FACE OF MISSING CHILDREN
Smith-Person also started a non-profit organization, "Known as Monique," where she's been documenting her personal story and helping other people like her become strong, independent, and responsible individuals.
In a conversation with "The Sisters of SOS" in 2014, Smith-Person shed light on a couple of important topics. She explained how families of missing children should never give up hope because they just might be out there looking for help.
Drawing from her experience, she highlighted the importance of being resilient in life and said it helped her cope with all the trauma. She also talked about how parents need to encourage children to become more confident.
Smith-Person, who is now a mom of four, has come a long way from being a victim of child abduction and abuse to a victorious woman who has been doing her level best to raise awareness and motivate people to speak up and help one another.
We need more strong, passionate, and kind souls like this Baltimore woman, who has taught the world through her personal example that one should always hold onto hope and never give up.
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