Man Reunites with Long, Lost Family and Discovers the Truth of Abandonment
For a soft spoken, mild mannered James Ferguson, the truth was a priceless gift, one he will cherish forever. At 8 years old, Ferguson thought he was abandoned when was taken away from his family. Ferguson's mother was unfit to care for him. She would spend her time dating and drinking, neglecting the care of her child. His father was no longer in the picture and left the family many years prior.
When Ferguson was taken from his mother, his family thought he was adopted, yet he was placed in foster care traveling from one family to the next. Ferguson was born with some learning disabilities which he believed was the reason behind his mother’s abandonment.
His family wondered what had happened to him and thought he was in a better home. They were told he was adopted even though it was not the case.
Vickie Elliot, Ferguson’s cousin and her mother, Wanda Walker, remember Ferguson from nearly half a century ago and always questioned where he went and what had happened to him. She remembers the family gatherings as a small child and noticing his disappearance after 1953, the year he was taken.
Now, 58 years later, a chance discovery reunited the two families back together.
Ferguson’s picture came out in the paper as part of a story published for the Season for Caring campaign. Ferguson is a member of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign. The charitable organization assisted 10 families and many others via local nonprofits.
Walker noticed his name and face in the newspaper and saw some similarities between the picture and her stepfather, O.B. Smith, who was Ferguson’s uncle.
The photo was in fact the James Lee Ferguson Walker she had suspected and this chance occurrence led to an overdue, heartfelt reunion.
Elliot and her mother Walker arrived at the Star Seeds Café in Austin with her daughters Avery and Erin to meet Ferguson after 58 years of separation. Ferguson was met with the biggest hugs of his life as his family rushed towards him with embracing arms.
The conversation led to the truth about Ferguson and why he was taken. When Ferguson learned that his family had not abandoned him, the tears came streaming down his face.
Elliot brought old family photos and the family shared memories and the details of their lives. They shared with Ferguson his mother and grandmother’s deaths and assured him of their love. “Your grandmother worried about you,” Walker said.
Ferguson proceeded to answer their questions about what his life was like after he left them. “I always take care of myself,” Ferguson said. “I’m doing good taking care of James.”
The family asked about his relationships and whether he had any children. “No,” he replied. “And now I’m too old.”
“You can adopt me,” Elliott said.
Ferguson laughed and smiled in response to Elliot’s comments.
The families exchanged contact information and planned to meet up to celebrate Ferguson’s birthday. Sadly, Ferguson never celebrated birthdays with family and every year he would buy himself a cake that said “Happy Birthday James” while singing “Happy Birthday” to himself.
Season for Caring has allowed miracles to happen for Ferguson. Amplify Credit Union and Chic Interiors had his apartment redecorated and took him to enjoy various recreational activities. Capital Metro treated him to a train ride where he met the engineer and was given a Wal-Mart gift card and jackets, hats and paraphernalia with the Cap Metro logo.
Ferguson even landed VIP Round Rock Express baseball tickets including a private tour, gear and a signed team ball. He is even scheduled via personal invite to watch batting practice and meet the manager.
The lonely, mild mannered man is finally smiling again after 58 years.
“I feel better now,” he said.