Just in time for Mother’s Day, this week’s Miracle Monday column showcases a heartwarming family reunion for a woman who had been living on the streets for 28 years, and finally got the chance to return home to Wisconsin.
“We waited 28 years. Every year, every day, every hour, just wondering where she was and if we were ever going to find her—afraid of that phone call that something happened to her and no one knew who her family was,” said Angie, Linda’s younger sister, when they all gathered at the backyard picnic table.
Her life was about to change when Linda met Gabby, who worked for Miracle Messages in South Florida.
Gabby had spoken with her several times before, but on a Tuesday night in January, Linda finally decided to share one of her dreams: although she felt scared and apprehensive of what might happen, she would like to try to reconnect with her mother and children.
“Gabby sat with me on the ground that night, and it was cold. She took down my information. I will never forget that,” Linda recalled.
“Gabby. I love you. You are going to be part of this family forever.”
Struggling with addiction and chronic illnesses, Linda was living unsheltered under the 14th Street Overtown bridge in Miami. She asked Gabby and Miracle Messages to help her reconnect with her mother and her kids, who she hadn’t seen since they were small children, and who were now in their 30’s.
Gabby explained to her how the Miracle Messages reunification program worked, and asked Linda if she had a message that she would like us to pass along to her kids if we were able to find them. Her message to them was, “I miss you. I love you.”
In less than a week, an internet sleuth who volunteers for the team found her mother, Darlene, who immediately said she wanted to reconnect with Linda. She called the rest of her family to let them know Linda had been found.
“The only way I can explain it is that it’s a miracle,” Darlene told Gabby. “I never gave up hope [of finding her].”
Linda’s children, Evelynn and Marcos, hadn’t heard any updates from their mom in over two years when they got the call from Miracle Messages and immediately booked a flight to Miami.
Gabby drove the siblings around the neighborhood where she had last talked to Linda. Even though they struggled to find her, the day was full of hope—and soon Linda was located and agreed to go back home with them.
Shortly after arriving in Wisconsin, Linda enrolled in a treatment program.
A few months later, Linda’s family invited Gabby to a family reunion to thank her for bringing their family back together—and Miracle Messages captured an emotional video that was posted on YouTube.
During the reunion, Gabby had the opportunity to ask Linda what she missed most while she was away.
She responded, “Being together with my sisters and my mom. I am so grateful. There are not words to describe it. I didn’t know how they were going to respond. Thank you, Gabby and Miracle Messages.”
“There’s always been a missing link in this family and Linda brought us back together,” said Angie, Linda’s sister. “I feel like we are whole again.”
Miracle Messages is an award-winning 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness rebuild their social support systems and financial security, primarily through family reunifications, a phone buddy program, and basic income pilots. Volunteer today!