Woman Sees Little Girl in Orphanage with Toy She Knitted for Her Missing Daughter 26 Years Ago – Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
May 08, 2022
12:00 P.M.
Share this pen

A lonely woman is stunned to see the toy she made for her own little girl she lost touch with 26 years before in the hands of an orphan child.


Tina Doubleday was a lonely woman. She was 56 and alone. She had once been married, but her marriage had ended twenty-six years ago and Tina had never married again.

She muffled the pain of her aloneness by doing volunteer work at a local orphanage, where she played the part of 'part-time granny' for many of the lonely little souls who lived there. One day, one of those orphans brought her painful past back to life unexpectedly.

Tina did volunteer work at the local orphanage. | Source: Unsplash


"Tina, Tina!" cried Polly, one of the smallest girls and Tina's secret favorite cried. "Look what I've got!" Polly held up a teddy bear that had obviously seen a lot of loving as she ran towards Tina.

As Polly held the teddy bear up, Tina felt the strength flow out of her legs, and she staggered towards one of the benches in the playground and sat down. She knew that knitted teddy bear.

Parents sometimes have to make hard decisions for the good of their children.

She had made it herself from scraps of wool she'd begged from a neighbor in order to make a present for her daughter's fourth birthday. Deddy, her daughter had called it, and she'd refused to sleep without Deddy in her arms.


Those had been some of the darkest days in Tina's life. She had been trapped in an abusive relationship and had realized that she couldn't support herself. Most importantly, she couldn't support her daughter.

Out of all the children, Polly was Tina's favorite. | Source: Pexels


Tina could escape, take to the streets and try to survive, but could she do the same to a tiny four-year-old? So she left her child in the orphanage, telling herself she'd be back soon...

Her last vision of her daughter was of the little girl holding Deddy in her arms and waving the toy's hand in a gesture of goodbye. Now that same teddy bear was here in her hands once again!

"Polly, where did you get this?" she asked.

"Well, there's this lady who comes here every week to play with us," Polly explained. "She's very sad, you know, like you. Anyway, she brings us toys and yesterday she told me she had something special for me.


Tina was shocked by what she saw in Polly's hands. | Source: Pexels

"You see I told her I missed my mommy a lot, so Cynthia brought me the teddy because she said he helped her when she missed HER mommy."


"Cynthia?" gasped Tina. "That's the lady's name?"

"Yes," said Polly. "That's it. She's really nice. You should meet her. She always comes on Thursday mornings."

The next Thursday morning, Tina was at the orphanage, sitting on the park bench waiting with a thundering heart for Cynthia to appear. It HAD to be her daughter! 

Tina knew that Cynthia had been adopted by a loving couple from this same orphanage when she was six, and when she ad finally got her life back together, it was too late. 

Tina recognized the teddy bear Polly was holding. | Source:


The orphanage director had explained that now that Cynthia was nearly nine, tearing her away from the family she'd grown to love would be cruel. "She's so happy," he'd told Tina gently. "She's one of our success stories, and she's loved..."

"I love her too," Tina had whispered as tears ran down her cheeks.

"I know..." the director said kindly. "But you did give her up, and we are committed to doing what is best for the child. Your child." And so Tina had walked away from Cynthia and left her in her new and happy life.

Now, after twenty-six years, she had an opportunity to see her daughter again. "Even if I don't say anything," Tina thought. "Seeing her will be enough! I won't disturb her, or upset her life!"


Tina had knitted that teddy bear for her own daughter. | Source: Unsplash

Suddenly, she heard Polly shouting: "Tina! Tina! Here is the lady with the teddy!" Poly was dragging a slim woman in her early thirties towards Tina. "Come on, Cynthia, meet my granny Tina!"


Cynthia stopped in front of Tina and smiled. "Hello! I see we are both Polly's friends!" she said.

Tina nodded. "Yes, I especially like the teddy you gave her," she said in an unsteady voice. "Where did you get it?"

Cynthia smiled. "My birth mother made it for me, and for years it was my best friend," she explained. "Whenever I was sad or lonely I would hold it and remember her voice singing to me."

Tina had been forced to leave Cynthia at the orphanage. | Source: Unsplash


"It was very kind of you to give Deddy to Polly!" Tina said.

Cynthia stood stock-still and stared at Tina. "How did you know?"

"Excuse me?" Tina asked, confused.

"How did you know the teddy's name?" Cynthia asked and she took a step forward and grabbed Tina's hand. "I know you! I know you... It's YOU!"

Tina started crying. "I'm so sorry, please don't hate me, Cynthia," she sobbed. "Walking away from you was the hardest thing I ever did, but I had nowhere to go and..."

Thanks to Polly and the teddy bear, Cynthia and Tina were reunited. | Source: Unsplash


"And you came back for me," Cynthia said softly. "The director told me a few years ago after my adoptive parents died. "He said you walked away so I'd have a stable, happy childhood. I know you loved me, mommy, I know everything. I forgive you."

Tina was sobbing in her daughter's arms and Polly crowed triumphantly: "I KNEW you were her daughter! You have the exact same eyes!"

Cynthia laughed. "Yes we do, miss smarty-pants," she said. "I was going to ask you today if you think you'd like me for a mommy one day, and guess what? You get a granny too!"

What can we learn from this story?

  • Don't be afraid to own up to your mistakes. It's the first step toward correcting them. Tina had been forced to leave her daughter in an orphanage for safety, and she was afraid Cynthia would never forgive her -- but she was wrong.
  • Parents sometimes have to make hard decisions for the good of their children. It broke Tina's heart, but she walked away and left Cynthia with her new family.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them. 

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a young boy who draws a portrait of the mother who abandoned him when he was very young and goes looking for her.

This account is inspired by our reader’s story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to