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They Kept a Vow Not to Talk for 51 Years. Then They Married

Biological daughter who was put up for adoption played a role
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2021 10:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's not often a person can say they introduced their parents, but that's sort of true for Arkansas' Laura Mabry. Mabry, who was adopted as an infant in 1968, took a DNA test in 2019 that connected her with her birth mother, Donna Horn. During text and email interactions, Horn told Mabry that she'd resulted from a two-year romance between high school sweethearts in Indiana, per ABC News. Horn was a cheerleader and Joe Cougill was a star athlete. The problem was that their parents didn't approve. As the Indianapolis Star reports, "Donna's father wanted Joe to never speak to his daughter again." So the couple went their separate ways, promising never to contact each other again, though that meant Cougill had no idea what became of the pregnancy. When Mabry reached out to him, he was ready to break his 51-year promise.

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"If you look anything like Donna I bet you're so pretty,” Mabry recalls Cougill telling her on their first phone call, per the Star. He'd often wondered about his old flame over the years. "She was all I wanted, and I was all she wanted," he tells the Star. "It was obvious first love." As Cougill was divorced and Horn's husband had passed away, Mabry gave Cougill her phone number. They "immediately bonded," Mabry tells ABC. And "that was just that." A half-century after separating, Horn and Cougill married last May and now live together in Greenwood, Ind. It turns out it's a happy ending for the whole family. "This has fulfilled something in my life that even I didn't realize I needed so much," Mabry tells ABC. "I think that's been a key part of just knowing my history, [their story] has been so important in my life," she adds. "That helped complete my whole identity." (Read more reunion stories.)

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