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Orphan Boy Finds Battered Backpack in Abandoned House and Learns It Belongs to His Missing Mom – Story of the Day

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By Roshanak Hannani
Apr 22, 2022
03:00 A.M.

Jason Garrison was an orphan who ran away from his foster homes often. One night, he stumbled upon an abandoned house and discovered a backpack hidden in the closet. It belonged to a woman named Kathleen Garrison, and when he read her diary, it led him to a shocking search for his biological family.

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"I'm sorry, Mr. Rogers, but Jason keeps running away from our home. He clearly doesn't want to live with any foster family. Is there no way to find his family?" Mrs. Candid asked the orphanage director, Mr. Rogers.

Jason was eavesdropping on them. He had recently run away from Mrs. Candid's home and returned to the orphanage where he had lived since he was a baby. At 13, he didn't want a new family at all. He wanted to find his birth parents, but they never gave him any information about them. So now, he was forced to eavesdrop on the adults.

Jason discovered a backpack in an abandoned house. | Source: Shutterstock

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"Mrs. Candid, Jason was brought here as a baby by an older woman who claimed to be his grandmother. Apparently, her daughter disappeared, and they couldn't take care of Jason. We have no other information about him. We can do nothing except wait for him to adapt to foster families. Will you give him another chance?" the director asked the kind woman.

"No wonder she never called again! That was a lie!"

Jason had heard enough. They never told him anything because they had no clues, and he didn't want to be placed anywhere else. This time, he ran from the only home he had ever known and walked for miles in his hometown of Mississippi. He might be able to find his parents on his own. Eventually, he stumbled upon an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. He entered it through a window.

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It would seem a bit creepy to a regular 13-year-old, but Jason thought he was brave enough to be inside. The house was cozy and warm despite having no heat or electricity. There were a few broken pieces of furniture covered in blankets, and every surface was covered in a thick layer of dust, so it was safe to say no one had been staying there in a long while.

He went upstairs and saw a mattress in one of the bedrooms. He was happy he wouldn't have to sleep on the floor. He went to a closet, hoping to find sheets that weren't covered in dust so he could be more comfortable. A couple of sheets were on the top shelf and he had to jump several times hoping to reach them.

He went to a closet and started jumping to get the sheets. | Source: Pexels

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There was nothing he could use as a stepping stool, but he finally grabbed one edge of a blanket and pulled it to him. However, something heavy on top of it came down with it and it fell on his head, making him fall to the floor. After a few seconds, he stood up, wiped the dust from his eyes, and rubbed the side of his head.

"Ouch! What was that?" he asked himself, looking around the floor. It was a backpack. It was also covered in dust and battered, but he might be able to use it in the future. However, its weight suggested there was something inside. 

Unfortunately, he couldn't see anything because there was barely any light coming from outside, so he just changed the sheets for the somewhat cleaner ones he found in the closet and went to bed.

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The following morning, Jason got up as the sun was shining on his face, and he immediately remembered the backpack he had discovered. Maybe there was something more inside that he could use in the future.

He sat back down on the floor and started rummaging through the bag. He discovered several documents like a passport. It belonged to a woman named Kathleen Garrison, which made him smile, considering they shared the same name.

The girl in the picture could've been his older sister. She appeared to be in her teens in the photo, but her passport had expired years ago. This might have been left behind a long time ago by another squatter or by the house owners, he thought.

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He started reading the diary earnestly. | Source: Pexels

But then a notebook caught Jason's eye, and he opened it. The first words he saw read "Dear Diary," and his eyebrows went up. This belonged to Kathleen. He suddenly felt the urge to find out more about this woman who shared his last name.

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The first few pages said random things about her life, but things got interesting after a while. Kathleen was 16 years old, and she had a boyfriend named Clyde. They were together, and shortly after, she got pregnant. Her parents had kicked up a fuss after discovering this. So she came up with a plan to escape with her boyfriend.

However, one day, her mother said that Clyde and his parents didn't want anything to do with the child. In fact, they denied that Clyde was the father.

"How could he do this to me? We made this baby together! My parents want me to get rid of it. I don't want to do that! But how am I going to raise it without Clyde?" she wrote.

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Jason's eyebrows raised. "This is better than any soap opera I've seen on TV," he said to himself, turning a page and continuing to read.

Eventually, Kathleen managed to keep her pregnancy and have the baby. But one day, her mother took her son away, and she never saw him again. She was desperate to find him and talk to Clyde, whom she hadn't seen in months, so she escaped her home after coming up with a plan.

Jason walked outside until he found a payphone. | Source: Pexels

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Sadly, her entries stopped afterward, and Jason had no way to find out if her plans ever worked. "That's probably when she came to this house and hid her things here. I wonder what happened," he said to himself.

Then he started to think about something else. This woman shared his last name, and her mother had taken her baby away. What if Kathleen was his mother?

Jason turned all the blank pages on the notebook and discovered several phone numbers at the back. They might lead to some answers, and maybe, Jason could return this woman's backpack. He also wanted to find out if she had a happy ending.

He walked outside for a while until he found a payphone. He had stashed a few coins he found in odd places and used them for this phone call. A few minutes later, he called the only number he had not crossed out and waited, bouncing his feet in anticipation.

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"Hello?" a male voice answered. This was not Kathleen, but it could be Clyde.

"I'm sorry. Are you Clyde?" Jason asked hesitantly.

"Yes. Who am I speaking to?" Clyde asked.

"This is going to sound insane, but I found something you might be interested in," Jason began and told him about Kathleen's backpack and her diary. When he finished, Clyde gave him his address and asked him to come visit him.

Clyde was in his late 20s and he greeted Jason with a big smile. "Oh, boy. I can't believe you discovered this backpack. Where was it?"

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Clyde couldn't believe what Jason told him about the diary. | Source: Pexels

"In an abandoned house off the road," he answered, looking around Clyde's apartment. He didn't want to seem too eager, but this man could be his father, and he had no idea yet.

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Jason told him what Kathleen had written in those pages, notably that Clyde denied being the father of her child, but that made the man's jaw drop in surprise.

He stood up from the couch where they had sat down to talk and started pacing. "No wonder she never called again! That was a lie! My mother must have told Kath's mother that lie! I can't believe this! My mother told me that Kathleen had decided to get rid of the baby and didn't want anything else to do with me. I stupidly believed her," Clyde explained.

Jason was shocked. So the young 17-year-old had not abandoned Kathleen in her time of need. The boy continued to explain to Clyde what Kathleen had written, including how her mother took the baby away and she was trying to find him and reconnect with Clyde. But sadly, the entries ended at some point.

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"I suspect she must have left the backpack in that abandoned house. Your phone was on the back of the notebook," the boy continued while Clyde paced his living room.

"I can't believe this, but I'm sorry to say, boy, that I don't have any answers for you. I haven't heard anything about Kathleen. I mean… wait… I think I heard that her family moved to Biloxi. But that's it," Clyde replied, shaking his head and sitting back down. Jason could see that he was thinking hard. He honestly had no idea that Kathleen had his baby.

Jason revealed a shocking suspicion. | Source: Pexels

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"But there's more, sir," Jason started. "I think I might be that baby."

Clyde's eyes raised to his and widened in shock. "What?"

"My name is Jason Garrison. I was left at an orphanage as a baby, and all I know is that a woman claiming to be my grandmother left me there. She said that my mom died giving birth. But with all the lies surrounding this story, I started to think that I could be that baby, Kathleen's baby," the boy added.

"That's impossible," Clyde whispered, but he started thinking. After a few seconds, he stood up. "Will you go get a DNA test with me? I have a friend at the clinic who could get it done. If it's true, you will never be an orphan ever again. I promise!"

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Jason was surprised by the man's intensity, but he could only nod because he felt something in his gut. Emotion. This man, a complete stranger, believed him and was ready to take care of him.

Clyde let Jason stay on his couch until the results arrived, and they confirmed the boy's suspicions. He was Clyde's son. The older man cried while reading the results.

"Can I give you a hug… son?" he said with a knot in his throat. Jason nodded as tears started falling from his eyes. They embraced tightly for several minutes, and Clyde said he would frame the DNA results soon.

An older woman answered and Clyde recognized her. | Source: Pexels

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Now, they had to find Kathleen.

***

Luckily, Clyde had another friend in the police department who managed to find the exact address of Kathleen's parents in Biloxi. He got into his car along with Jason and they drove to Biloxi, hoping to find Kathleen there.

An older woman answered the door, and Clyde recognized her immediately. "Mrs. Garrison," he breathed. "Do you remember me?"

She frowned and stared at him for a few seconds. Then she noticed the boy standing right beside him. Her eyes widened after a moment. "Clyde?" she breathed, but they heard another voice behind her before she could say anything else.

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"Mom, who's at the door?"

Clyde would recognize that voice anywhere, but when the older woman made her way so they could see beyond her, he couldn't believe his eyes. It was Kathleen. His old girlfriend, whom he always referred to as the one that got away. But she was in a wheelchair.

"Kathleen?" he uttered in shock.

Kathleen was right behind her mother, but she shocked Clyde. | Source: Pexels

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Jason stared up at him, not knowing what to do. But the adults needed their moment before they got to the shock of his existence.

"Clyde? What are you doing here?" Kathleen asked in shock. "Who is that?"

"Kathleen, this is our son, Jason," he revealed, not knowing how to sugarcoat it.

Jason looked at the woman in the wheelchair, whose face suddenly registered all sorts of emotions. Tears started falling from her eyes. "Jason? My boy?" she wondered in disbelief, but she raised her arms after a few seconds. "Come here."

Jason ran to his mother and gave her the biggest hug he could. He tried to hold back his tears, but it was impossible. Everyone in the room was crying, including Mrs. Garrison. Meanwhile, Clyde joined the huddle and hugged his family, reunited after 13 years of lies and deception.

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***

They took a seat when they all calmed down, and Mrs. Garrison served them tea and cookies. They talked about nothing for a while, but eventually, Clyde asked why Kathleen was in a wheelchair.

Kathleen explained everything that happened. | Source: Pexels

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"I got into an accident with my father. I had finally convinced him to get our baby back then, and we were driving to the orphanage," Kathleen revealed, shocking Jason. She stared at him with a tender smile. "I always wanted to get you back. But Dad died in that accident, and I was paralyzed for life."

"But why didn't you get me when you got better?" Jason asked. He wanted to be angry at her, but he also wanted to understand.

"I couldn't. It might sound selfish, but I had to learn to live this way, and I couldn't possibly watch a baby. I hoped that you would find a better family with two parents. I didn't want to saddle you with a mother in a wheelchair," Kathleen revealed.

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Jason understood and couldn't be angry at her at all. Clyde also got a chance to explain his side of things and how his mother had lied about him denying Jason's paternity. Kathleen nodded, as her parents had also lied about Jason's birth and life.

Finally, Mrs. Garrison spoke up and tried to apologize through more tears. "I realized too late that what I did was wrong. I only wanted the best for my child, and I might have ruined her chances at a happy life. Jason, I want you to know it was never about you. It was about the circumstances. Would you give me a chance to be your grandmother?"

Kathleen and Clyde got married at last. | Source: Pexels

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Jason smiled and nodded. He hugged his grandmother, too, despite all the pain her actions had caused. They had to start over and forgiving her quickly was the only option. It was the only way to move on.

Eventually, Clyde mentioned the DNA test and said they could get custody of Jason permanently and start to heal their family if Kathleen got one too. Then they could co-parent.

Kathleen agreed, especially because she had learned to live with her condition, and Jason was old enough to fend for himself.

Although they lived in different cities, she and Clyde started co-parenting the kid. But Clyde decided to move after a year of this situation. He wanted to be closer to his family, mainly because he had fallen for Kathleen again.

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They got married when Jason was 16, and he was the best man at the wedding. They framed the DNA tests and Kathleen's old diary in their new home to never forget how their family was reunited after so long.

What can we learn from this story?

  • True love has no barriers. No matter what happened in the past or Kathleen's condition, true love persisted, and Clyde fell in love with her once again like they were always meant to be.
  • It's best not to control your children's life. Clyde's parents and Kathleen's parents spun a web of lies that caused heartbreak for everyone for years. But Jason managed to unravel it and reunite his family.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about an orphan boy who was adopted by a woman and then discovered she was his mother.

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 info@amomama.com.

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