CARMEL, N.Y. - On this Mother’s Day, Carmel resident Carol Julian, 52, is asking for your help finding her mother and siblings.
Julian, who was born in 1964 in Amityville, N.Y., with a condition called Spina Bifida, was abandoned at 2 months old.
Spina Bifida, which means “split spine,” is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States, according to the Spina Bifida Association. The condition is developed in utero when the spinal column does not close all of the way. The condition has left Julian confined to a wheel chair all her life.
“I was not really a wanted pregnancy and the fact that I was born with a disability just really freaked [my mother] out, I think,” Julian said in a phone interview.
Growing up and throughout her adulthood, nobody seemed to have the information that Julian was looking for.
At only a couple of months old, a social worker sent her to Queens General Hospital, where she spent the first few years of her life. None of the doctors or nurses who worked at the hospital at that time have any recollection about Julian’s background.
At around 3 or 4 years old, she was sent to live in a Christian home for children run by the Children's Bible Fellowship of New York (CBFNY), founded in 1943 by the Rev. Winfield F. Ruelke. Known as Uncle Win, according to the CBFNY website, the Christian organization notes that people with special needs were often left in hospitals, just like Julian.
“Seeing this, Uncle Win was compelled to minister to those who were physically and mentally challenged,” according to the website. “After hearing a parent say, ‘You’ve all done so much for my son – therapy, education, etc., and I’m so grateful, but does anyone know that my child has a soul?,’ Uncle Win's heart was moved and he then decided to start a camp for people with special needs. This was the beginning of what we know today as Camp Hope.”
Julian stayed at this home until she was 20 years old and has stayed a part of the church her entire life. She is now a member of the Lakeview Community Church in Carmel. She is currently on disability since her breast cancer diagnosis in 2008, and her breathing is maintained through an oxygen tank that she must keep at her side at all times.
“I have been through a lot of challenges in my life and knowing and trusting God has been the one thing that has sustained me in my relationship with Him,” Julian said. “Not that I don't have my days of not trusting Him.”
Throughout her childhood, Julian’s legal guardian at the Christian home sent out a host of letters to Julian’s mom, but to no avail.
As an adult, Julian has even utilized a private investigator, but that was a dead-end.
Julian’s mom was 33 at the time Carol Julian was born and would be in her mid-80s today.
“There’s a possibility that she may not want to know who I am,” Julian conceded.
Julian’s estranged brother was 7 and her sister was 4 at the time of her birth. Her brother would be around 59 and her sister would be around 56 today.
As for her first name, Julian is unsure whether her mom named her Carol or if the hospital gave her that name.
Julian said she doesn’t know what she’d say if she found her family.
“Not knowing my mother and knowing that she did not want me was really hard to process, but God showed me that He has and will take care of me,” Julian said.