Son finds deaf mother after 46 years

[Transcript] Last week, Kathy Wink, a mother finally met her son, Bill, after not seeing him for 46 years.

[Video clip of Kathy and Bill being reunited at an airport]

Wink was 17 years old when she got pregnant by a hearing boyfriend who went to prison. She gave birth to Bill in 1971. When Bill was 15 months old, Wink had to give him up to foster care. The Daily Moth reached out to Wink for her story.


I was with my boyfriend who’s hearing, and he lived in New York City at the time. We unexpectedly became pregnant and we just took that into stride. I’d accepted that fact. Then he got arrested because he killed someone while using LSD and he shouldn’t have done that. Someone got killed so he was put into prison. When I was 4 months pregnant, my mother wanted me to have an abortion.

I didn’t want to do that. I don’t know how I did it, but I refused and ran away, again, to New York City with my former boyfriend’s family. When the baby was born, I kept the baby. So cute. I’ve had a hard life and I’ve never received SSI and welfare. I didn’t believe I needed it, but people were encouraging me to do it for the baby. I gave in and got welfare.

It was worth it, but what about flashing lights, the baby crying and all these things…you know how we used to have TTYs? I didn’t have one. My neighbors were so sweet. They could hear my son crying and me crying sometimes. They once called a priest to come visit us. I told the priest that I’d given up, when my son was 15 months old, but I still really loved him.

So, when the priest came, and I was giving up, the priest suggested that I call a foster home. I misunderstood, but I learned something.

I didn’t want him to go to a children’s home. The priest said this wouldn’t happen. I met several prospective foster parents and I liked the third couple. That couple was unable to conceive and that they already have a foster son who was lonely needing a brother.

That touched me. They said they lived upstate and had a house with a backyard.

I liked what they were saying so I decided to visit them with my son two weeks later. I had this feeling that I needed to leave my son with them. That was the end.

Renca: Wink had to give him up due to financial hardships and no babysitter/daycare. Wink said it was one of the hardest decisions she had to make. It was not until the 3rd foster family she met that she felt would be a good fit for her son.

Wink finally met him last week. We asked her how did Bill find her.


Then my brother opted in to do DNA testing with the (Ancestry), that family tree. He did it for his father. My son reached out to him to ask about his cousins. His cousins lived in the 1960s, born in the 1940s, it was a big family.

There was nothing. He said, “Hey, my mother is deaf.” My brother knew that he had a deaf sister. So, my son texted me asking for his birthdate, so I told him. My answer matched his birthday.

He wanted to chat through text messaging. I insisted on calling him and we ended up having a wonderful conversation. After some planning, we met in Panama City Beach, at a beachfront resort. After talking with him, we’re almost exactly the same! It’s like we’re twins, not mother and son. Awesome conversation and some laughs too!

Renca: Thanks to Ancestry DNA, Bill was able to find his mother again. Wink explained that people are able to find their families if they are also registered for Ancestry DNA. Because Wink’s brother was registered and Bill’s wife convinced him to register for Ancestry DNA, they were able to find each other. We asked Wink how she felt when she finally saw him after 46 years.


Oh wow, it was exciting. I can’t believe that he’s accepted me. I’d imagined differently. What a feeling. I’ll remember, always remember my baby. Always in my mind, but he’s not a baby anymore, in my mind, he’s become older.

Renca: Wink is a grandmother of 3 kids and will be a great-grandmother. She plans on visiting Bill and his family this fall. Wink said she is looking forward to holding her grandkids and her soon to be great-grandkid for the first time. Thank you for sharing, Wink. What a happy ending to this story.


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