When Helen Torres was 17 years old in 1948, she became pregnant and was sent to a home for unwed mothers. Helen gave birth to a little girl that she named Christina, but was forced to hand the child over to a couple that had the means to take care of the baby. Helen attempted to stay in the child’s life from a distance for the next 12 years, but lost track of the girl over time. Helen went on to get married and five more children, but always paused for a moment on March 8 to remember her first child’s birthday.
After Helen told her children that they had a sister, the youngest child, Deneen, attempted to track down Christina through public records using an old marriage license and birth certificate. Hitting only dead ends, Deneen collected all photos and other information about Christina to create a Facebook group about her in late January of this year. The title of the group was “Searching for my sister, Mary Christine Bustamante (Gray) DOB 3/8/1948″. Deneen also included details about the parents that adopted Christina, the name of her husband as well as the church they were married within and even the name of her best friend in Pico Rivera, California.
In April 2011, Deneen was contacted on Facebook by a now 63-year old Chris Gray, living only 70 miles east of the family in Riverside, California. Ms. Gray was shocked to learn that she was adopted as her now-deceased parents never told her of the adoption. In June 2011, Helen Torres and Chris Gray finally met at the Sacramento International Airport. After a tearful reunion, Ms. Gray also met her siblings as well as nieces and nephews. Without siblings when she was growing up, Ms. Gray has decided to move closer to her newly found family in Yuba City, California.