The judge, who has always championed justice, was stumped when she sentenced a single, disabled father of three to prison for theft, not knowing it was her long-lost son.
Doctors and nurses ran in and out of the maternity ward as Linda, 28, screamed in pain. It was her first child and the pain of childbirth was more horrific than anything she could have imagined. The arrival of the baby was like a bright ray of sunshine breaking through dark storm clouds. Linda cried in pain and joy, looking forward to holding her newborn baby.
But when she woke up, she did not hear the cries of her newborn. No one was bringing him in. “Where is my baby? Nurse, where is my baby?” – she asked. She looked around, alarmed that she woke up and saw an empty bunk next to her. She was shocked when the nurse told her that she had slipped into a coma after giving birth.
“Edison, where is our baby? I want to see him,” she asked her husband when he came to her a few minutes later. “Bring me my baby. Where is he? Why won’t you answer me?”
Looking away, Edison confessed the most painful truth that had destroyed Linda. “The baby was born with Erb’s palsy and we can’t afford to raise him. You were fired from your job and no law firm wants to take you back after you lost this case. We can’t raise a disabled child when we’re already struggling to make ends meet.”
“Edison, what have you done with my son?”
“I put him up for adoption.”
“How could you do this to me?” – she said and burst into tears.
Edison’s confession destroyed the poor mother who had so longed for a child. The child she gave birth to was a miracle baby because she had spent years trying to conceive a child. Unable to bear her husband’s act, she divorced him and tried to find her child. But Linda never found her child, as an unknown family adopted him. The emptiness in her heart after the loss of her only child increased over time. As the years passed, Linda still continued to suffer, something no mother would wish for. Thirty-eight years later, in court….
“Please sit down…. Good morning ladies and gentlemen,” Linda addressed the court as she took her seat. She had risen through the ranks and was now a highly qualified criminal court judge.
She took off her glasses and cleaned them. The case she was handling that day was the most unusual and complex in all her thirty years of service. She was about to sentence a man to prison for stealing expensive medicine for his sick daughter. His name was Jonathan, he was poor, disabled and had three children.
“Your Honour, I had no money to buy expensive medicines for my sick daughter. I stole them from the pharmacy but intended to pay for them when I got my monthly allowance,” Jonathan said with tears in his eyes.
“Whether you intended to pay or not…, theft is theft,” Linda interrupted and looked at the man’s papers. She looked at him and noticed that he had Erb’s palsy. Linda double-checked his date of birth in the file. Something about it struck her as Jonathan’s date of birth was the same as her son’s date of birth. Could Jonathan be Linda’s missing son, and would she change her mind and sentence him to prison if he turned out to be her son?
When Linda worked as a lawyer a few years ago, she was fired for failing to help a rich man out on bail after a car accident. She stood up for justice at the cost of her career. Then, that day, she decided to do the right thing, even though she suspected Jonathan might be her long-lost son. The judge had found him guilty of robbery and sentenced him to a year in prison. Justice was her priority and Linda did what her duty demanded. She later followed her mother’s heart and went to visit Jonathan in prison to find out more about him. The man was taken to the visiting room and was surprised to see a judge waiting for him.
“I know what you might be thinking. But I am not here to apologise for my verdict. I have seen your papers and would like to know more about you.”
“Can you tell me about your parents?” – she asked Jonathan, learning that he had been adopted thirty-eight years ago.
“My adoptive parents died a few years ago. My wife and I lived a wonderful life, but after she died of cancer, I was left alone to bring up three daughters,” the man said as Linda began to cry softly.
“Jonathan, would it be all right if you and I did a DNA test?” Linda’s question, which sounded unexpected, surprised Jonathan.
“A DNA test, but why?”.
Clenching her lips and swallowing a lump in her throat, Linda replied, “Because you could be the son I lost thirty-eight years ago!”
The man was shocked and speechless. He agreed to take a DNA test with her and the results, a few weeks later, confirmed that they were related. Jonathan, a loving father imprisoned by his mother, was her lost son. Linda visited the man again and told him about her incredible revelation. At first he didn’t know how to react.
“I am confused and happy. I thought I was an orphan again after my adoptive parents died. But I am happy that my mum has come to get me. Mum, where’s Dad?”
“Don’t talk about him. He was the main reason that triggered our separation. He robbed me of my motherhood. He stole my son. I divorced him and I heard he died of a heart attack recently.”
“Son, forgive me. No matter how hard I tried, I never found you. Since you were put up for forced adoption, I couldn’t track you down. I had no idea we lived in the same town.”
Linda and Jonathan embraced in tears as she promised to look after his daughters. Later that day, the judge visited Jonathan’s three girls and assured them that they would no longer be alone. A few weeks later, she adopted them and took them home. Although Linda could not go back in time and undo what her late husband had done, she was determined to improve the future of her granddaughters. A year later… Jonathan returned home after serving his prison sentence. Linda helped him get a new job with her friend’s company and they lived together as a happy family. They never went back to their dark past and strove to make their lives brighter and happier.