New Moms

Kathleen Akeson & Daughter Reunion: Baby Snatched 34 Years Ago

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

An emotional reunion in the suburbs of New York City, as a woman who was snatched from her mother's arms as a newborn 34 years ago saw her real mom for the first time.

According to the New York Post, the story begins in 1976 when unwed 18-year-old Kathleen Akeson found out she was pregnant. She decided she couldn't raise a baby, and found a newspaper ad that promised to find a good home for the baby, as well as provide medical and financial help.

It turns out the ad was placed by a Brooklyn lawyer and rabbi named Seymour Fenichel, and it was all a scam. He wasn't arranging legal adoptions -- he was basically selling babies. He and others were later arrested and pleaded guilty. He died in 1994.

Kathleen said after she gave birth to the baby, a woman who was part of the operation showed up at the hospital and couldn't be nicer. But things changed when she was discharged. While sitting in a wheelchair in the Long Island hospital parking lot, "She suddenly grabbed the baby, jumped in a car with Fenichel and drove off," Kathleen said.

Kathleen later went to court to formally relinquish any rights to her daughter. She said Fenichel encouraged her to lie to the judge, to say she didn't know who the father was. Afterwards, she said Fenichel told her, "Don't make things hard for me. I can get you in a lot of trouble, because you lied to the judge."

He also told her the girl would be told who her birth mother was on her 18th birthday. That never happened.

The baby was given to a couple in Manhattan and named Sara. About a year ago she started looking for her birth parents. New York adoption papers are sealed, and her adoptive parents weren't sure, but remembered the name "Catherine Akeson."

After several dead ends, in June they found an old man named Akeson living in Florida. It turns out he is Kathleen grandfather. They got Kathleen's name, and Sara sent her a note on Facebook.

Last week Sara met her mom, now named Kathleen Rhodes. She married Sara's father six years after Sara was born and they had four more daughters.

"I have been waiting for you to find me. I've always loved you. I've always thought about you," said Kathleen. 

"I'm sorry it took me so long," Sara replied.