This story is stranger than fiction. It all began when Janet Barnicoat, who was told her whole life that she was an abandoned baby in a paper bag. She began to search for her birth mother.
That search would lead her to a touching reunion with two half-siblings. None of the siblings knew each other existed; they each had a different father. When Janet met with her brother Dean and sister Julie, they made a shocking connection: Janet, Dean, and Julie had all been abandoned in paper bags by their mother, too.
A DNA test on Ancestry.com made another match to a half-cousin who was shown to be genetically related to their birth mother. This cousin led them to a woman Janet had known for years: Joann Hauser.
Joann was supposedly the Good Samaritan who discovered Janet in the paper bag those 35 years ago. In fact, years before, Janet reunited with Joann to thank her. Janet had no idea she was related to Joann, and Joann never mentioned this fact at their reunion. How was it possible?
Determined to get to the bottom of things, Janet confronted Joann, who immediately came clean. She had never told anyone who she really was. Joann was Janet, Dean, and Julie’s biological mother.
She posed as the “Good Samaritan” to make sure Janet would be put somewhere safe. Fearing judgment, Joann never told a soul. Janet and her siblings had never been abandoned, thrown in the trash, or left for dead. Their mother had just been a frightened and confused woman who was trying to do right by them the only way she knew how.
Learning that she wasn’t seen as “trash” by her birth mother was a gift in and of itself.
“I wanna say it was like a sigh of relief,” Janet said in 2016. “I had gone 15 to 20 years with that story in my head constantly, that I was tossed away, that I was thrown into a dumpster.”
Janet forgave her mother and holds no grudges — in fact, she thanked her.
“She did us a favor,” Janet said. “All three of us had amazing families.”
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Abandoned Baby In A Paper Bag Reunites With Mother After 35 Years