When Samantha Snipes, 26, missed her connection and boarded a different flight, something incredible happened.
Here, Samantha, tells the story in her own words.
R￼ubbing my bump, I was in complete turmoil. Although I’d found the courage to leave my abusive partner, I couldn’t escape the nightmares and flashbacks.And now I was seven months pregnant with his baby, trying to piece my life back together while recovering from the trauma of what he’d put me through. I’m not in any position to give this baby the life it deserves, I thought.
Lonely, I started playing video games online. I noticed I kept coming up against a guy called Tom who lived 1300km away.
After a bit we started messaging, then talking on the phone. He had such a warm voice and when I told him I was pregnant, he was so sweet. ‘We should meet,’ he said. By now, I was only four weeks off my due date, but I decided to fly to him fora quick visit.
So on September 30, 2016, I boarded one plane, then changed for my connection. But as I slowly waddled through the terminal, I realised I’d missed it.
Luckily, I got another flight soon after and as I strapped myself into the middle seat, I found myself jabbering to the woman next to me. ‘I’m just so nervous,’ I blurted. ‘I’m on my way to meet my online boyfriend for the first time.’ ‘Wow!’ the woman smiled.
Noticing I was pregnant, we started talking about the baby and I explained I wasn’t sure yet who would bring it up. Confiding in me too, she told me her name was Temple and she’d always wanted kids, but things hadn’t worked out. ‘I hope you don’t mind me saying this…’ she began nervously. ‘I’m very keen to adopt a baby and I have a great support network of friends and live in a lovely town...’
Rummaging in her bag, Temple handed me a card with her number on it. ‘Please consider it,’ she said. After we’d landed, Temple helped me do my make-up in the toilets and came with me to find Tom in arrivals.
Hugging goodbye, it felt so surreal. I’d only been on the flight for an hour and yet I felt like I’d made a friend for life.
Back at Tom’s, we spent three days getting to know each other more. Then on the fourth day, I felt a twinge... then another... and another! ‘I’m in labour!’ I said.
Tom rushed me to hospital and there I gave birth to a baby boy. My new bub was adorable, but as I held him close, the same thing kept running through my mind. I need to find him the right mummy.
So supportive, Tom went to get nappies and the other things I needed. But after two days, he had to go back to work and the reality sank in. Here I was, hundreds of kilometres from home with a newborn baby.
Calling Temple, she came straight to the hospital. And as she cuddled him, full of emotion, I could see instantly what a great mother she would be.
‘You know what you said on the plane about adoption?’ I began. ‘I would like you to become my baby’s mother.’ ‘Do you mean that?’ she stuttered. ‘It’s such early days.’ But I knew I had made a good decision.
Signing the paperwork giving Temple custody, I asked what she’d like to call her son. ‘Vaughn,’ she beamed. ‘It’s my middle name and it was my father’s middle name.’
Tom supported me all the way. Although we hadn’t planned for things to happen so fast, we decided to move in together so I could be near Vaughn and Temple.
At the beginning, she was worried I would get upset if I saw her with Vaughn, but I assured her that I loved watching them together.
Sometimes I stayed the night and I even started working for Temple as her assistant. She and Tom have changed my life completely.
I’m a much more confident person compared to the shattered shell they first met.
Now one, Vaughn is such a bubbly little boy who loves making people laugh.
Temple and I talk about how she’ll tell Vaughn he’s adopted. In the meantime, we’re writing letters to him that we keep in a box. I know Vaughn is in the best possible place with a mum who loves him.
It all happened in the most extraordinary way and I never imagined I’d give my baby to someone I sat next to on a plane.But that chance meeting was the answer to my prayers – that my boy would get the life he deserved.
Gripping podcast How I Survived this week features Rhonda Stapley who accepted a lift from the world’s worst serial killer, Ted Bundy, and lived to tell the tale. Subscribe via Omny: https://bit.ly/2Kshzch or iTunes: https://apple.co/2KKusdT
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