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Daughter given up for adoption reunites parents that gave her up 51 yrs ago as high school sweethearts

Sometimes, no matter how many obstacles that stand in the way, love that is meant to be will be.

At least that was the case for Indiana high school sweethearts Joe Cougill, a freshman, and Donna Horn, a sophomore.

The two were torn apart by their parents. Forbidden to see each other ever again after Joe, a star athlete, got his love Donna, a cheerleader, pregnant.

“Joe will do whatever you want him to,” is what Joe’s dad said to Donna’s dad in 1968, according to Joe.

“If you want Joe to marry Donna, he will marry Donna.

If you want Joe to keep this secret, Joe will keep it secret.

If you want Donna to have the baby, Joe will support her. If you don’t want him to be part of her life, Joe won’t.”

The decision was made that both teens would have to swear to never call each other again.

And they didn’t for five decades until their daughter, which had been given up for adoption, brought them back together.

It didn’t take long for them to fall in love all over again and married after that.

Laura Mabry of Springdale, Arkansas, who was adopted by Wayne and Darline Montgomery in 1968, set out to find her biological parents at age 52 by taking a 23andMe DNA test.

She ended up finding Donna first who lead her to her biological father.

“We started communicating by text and email,” Laura told ABC News. “She said, ‘Are you interested in knowing who your father is?’ I was like ‘Of course I am!’”

Laura somehow got a hold of Joe’s cell phone number and sent him a text.

“Oh gosh, if you look anything like Donna I bet you’re so pretty,” was one of the first things he said.

At this point, he had no idea if Donna even had the baby, if she kept it, if it was a boy or girl, or if the baby was put up for adoption.

“I can’t tell you over the years how many times I had wondered,” Joe told Indy Star.

He also thought a lot about Donna over those year, every time he would mow a particular area of grass on his lawn.

“We were first loves,” Joe said. “She was all I wanted, and I was all she wanted.”

Donna ended up moving away after the pregnancy and was devastated after losing Joe.

She had her baby on Joe’s birthday another jabbing reminder that they were no longer together.

She also saw Joe’s mother, who worked at the hospital, that day.

Donna and her mother agreed that she wouldn’t hold the baby after it was born but there was a mistake and a nurse placed the baby in her arms.

Congrats to these two lovelies. 50 years later they find each other again. And May 22, 2020 together forever. We wish you so much happiness!!

“That has haunted me,” Donna said.

Donna ended up marrying twice, with her second husband dying from cancer in 2011.

She is a breast cancer survivor with three children.

Joe had been married and divorced twice and had two children. It was Laura who played matchmaker for her both single biological parents.

“I gave him her phone number, and they started to talk immediately, and they just immediately bonded because, you know, he was divorced and her husband had passed away,” Mabry told ABC News. “So they were both single. And they immediately started talking, and I mean that was just that.”

The couple has been talking ever since and married in May.

“We saw each other and we hugged each other and we cried,” Joe said. “We knew. We knew. You know what I mean?”

I got to Indiana last May 15 and we rushed to get married on May 22nd so we ordered a couple of wedding bands from…

Not only was Laura overjoyed to find a family that shares her physical features but to also learn that she was born out of love.

“I think that’s been a key part of just knowing my history, [their story] has been so important in my life,” she said. “That helped complete my whole identity, which has been great.”

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