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youtube.com/Toronto Sun twitter.com/WorldJewishCong

Mom Gives up Only Daughter to Save Her from Poverty, Hugs Her Again Right on Her 98th Birthday

Brittany Chalmers
Jun 09, 2022
05:15 P.M.

When a woman living during World War II found out she was pregnant, she decided to give the baby up for adoption. Nearing 100, the older woman had no hope of seeing her child again.


Parents make many sacrifices for their beloved kids, and often their choices are painful. One young mom knew another family would be able to give her daughter a life full of opportunity.

As a Jewish refugee living in England, she said goodbye to her child, hoping it would save her from a life of poverty. The mother never stopped thinking about the baby girl and always dreamed about seeing her again.

Gerda Cole. | Source: youtube.com/Toronto Sun

Gerda Cole. | Source: youtube.com/Toronto Sun

In 2022, Gerda Cole celebrated her 98th birthday and received the gift of a lifetime. Grab your tissues, and read her beautiful story that will inspire you to believe in miracles.



Cole has lived through many eras, but she will never forget 1942—when she fell pregnant with a baby girl. The woman was only 18 years old and unable to take care of the newborn child and provide for her basic needs.

Unable to afford to raise an infant, Cole made the heartbreaking decision of giving her baby to a German family living in England. She stated: "I felt it was only fair to her." But it wasn't easy, and the choice left the young mom miserable.

Sonya Grist. | Source: youtube.com/Toronto Sun

Sonya Grist. | Source: youtube.com/Toronto Sun


Cole believed giving her baby up for adoption was the best decision, but she still longed for the infant named Sonya. The woman's life progressed, but she never had another baby over the years.


Her only experience of motherhood was distant but precious memories of Sonya. Nearing 100 years old, Cole was sure her chances to meet her daughter were all but gone. However, something unexpected happened.

One of her grandchildren, who she had no idea existed, needed important family documents to visit another country, and he made a startling discovery while searching for the papers.

Stephen Grist. | Source: youtube.com/Toronto Sun

Stephen Grist. | Source: youtube.com/Toronto Sun


Sonya Grist's child, Stephen, contacted a family member and asked for his grandmother's death certificate so that he could finalize his application for Austrian citizenship.

The family member replied: "No, you're not going to find her death certificate." Stephen was confused, but things started to make sense when he discovered that Cole was still alive.


She lived in a nursing home in Canada, and the news caught him off guard. He said: "It had never occurred to us that my grandmother would still be alive." Stephen waited two weeks for the perfect moment before sharing the news with his mom.


Sonya was speechless and instantly wanted to meet the woman who gave birth to her. She shared: "My first reaction was I want to go and see her. I was thrilled."


She was eager to jump on a plane and fly from the United Kingdom to Canada. As the days leading up to their meeting grew closer, Sonya couldn't contain her excitement—and she started shaking before seeing her mom for the first time.


Grist's son stumbled upon news that his grandmother was alive by chance, leading to a tear-jerking reunion they would cherish forever.


Cole was equally ecstatic, discovering that she would meet her long-lost daughter. It was the best birthday gift she could've asked for and meant the world to her. The older woman expressed:

"When I heard, I couldn't believe it. This must be a miracle."


The pair enjoyed a special celebration and birthday party for Cole, and there wasn't a dry eye in the room. "I haven't come down to earth yet," said Sonya, after hugging her mom.


For Cole, reuniting with her child gave her "something to live a few more years for." She added:

"I made so many mistakes, and yet she went looking for me and she found me. It was incredible."

Reading a letter of appreciation, Cole thanked her grandson for making the meeting possible. She said: "Thanks for this opportunity. It means so much to be able to live to see this moment."


It took more than 80 years for the mother and daughter to reunite, and despite the decades apart, they were looking forward to making up for the lost time.

Sonya had many questions, as did her mom, and the pair instantly bonded, getting to know each other. They were destined to meet, and even though it took a lifetime, it was worth it.

Do you think their reunion was a miraculous gift? Please share your opinions with us. Click here for another beautiful reunion story. A mother and her child met again after 21 years apart, and the moment will have you grabbing your tissues.

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