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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -
It's been said there is nothing stronger than a mother's love. After 28 years, a Columbus mother is telling her story and trying to find the baby she gave up for adoption.
"Love was not the issue. I loved her the second I knew she was there. I loved her the whole time she grew in my tummy. Because I loved her so much I had to give her a better life. I had to give her a chance. She deserved it," explained Dove Foutz.
Dove Foutz found herself pregnant at 18, having just graduated from high school, "My priority at the time was taking care of my mother. I had to take care of her."
Her mother was fighting breast cancer, going through tough chemo treatments, with Dove the only one to take care of her. "It was the most difficult, agonizing, heart wrenching decision I have ever had to make. But, I knew I couldn't take care of her the way she needed. I would lay in the bed with my mother after her chemo treatments and my mother would just cry. She would rub my stomach and would feel her moving and she would just cry and said 'I wish we could keep her. I wish there was something we could do.' But, there was nothing we could do, we didn't have the support."
Dove made the decision to give her baby up for adoption for that chance at a better life. The adoption was set up before she even entered the hospital.
August 5th, 1984, Dove gave birth to a baby girl at the Medical Center in Columbus. She never had the chance to hold her daughter. "They opened the curtains and they held her up. I only saw her through the glass. They let me look at her for a minute and then they shut the curtains and I left."
When she went for her 6 week check up, her doctor, who was in contact with the adoptive parents, said to her, "I have a photo for you that they sent, if you would like to have it." Dove said "Oh my gosh, yes."
One more picture was sent to Dove through the doctor. It was a picture of her little girl at three months old. The picture had the name 'Lindsey' written on the back.
Dove wrote a letter to her daughter explaining why she gave her up for adoption. The adoptive parents said they would give the letter to the baby girl and tell her she was adopted.
But, it has been 28 years, and Lindsey has not reached out to her mother. So, Dove Foutz decided to start looking. "I have to start. If she hasn't found me yet, I knew I had to start doing something because my heart is broken. And, I will never be complete and I have to find her. I have to hold my child one time and I have to look her in the eye and tell her I love her."
Dove began with a Facebook page, "Looking 4 Lindsey," so she could share her story and the two pictures publicly for the first time. She is hoping that someone might see these two faces and recognize her lost daughter. "I have had an incredible amount of support from total strangers. Offering prayers and best wishes and help if they can. I feel like somebody out there may know her or know the family or something."
In the state of Georgia, birth mothers have no rights after the adoption is complete.
"I may not be the mother that raised her, but I gave her life. And, I have loved her ever since," said Dove.
Every year on Lindsey's birthday, Dove went to the Hallmark store and bought a hand painted porcelain doll for Lindsey. The dolls ran out at age 21, but Dove still celebrates by lighting a candle and taking a moment to think about the daughter she has never met. She hopes one day to be able to give the dolls to Lindsey.
"I want to know that she has had a good life. I want to know that she has had everything possible that I was afraid I couldn't give her. That was the whole purpose for her to have it all. So, I hope at the end of this rainbow I find my pot of gold, which will be my daughter. And, I hope we can have a nice relationship."