Cape Town: A mother’s love is never-ending and the sentiment rings true as a mother never stopped searching for her son for 40 years.
In 1981, Salomé Tadford, 13, gave birth to her son. Her pregnancy was the result of sexual abuse when she lived in Alberton.
Her son, Fritz Brandon Olmar, was then abruptly taken away from her when he was only three months old, and adopted.
It would take 40 years before she would see her son again.
During those years, she grew up, married the love of her life and had three children – two girls and a boy – but she never stopped longing for the missing piece of the puzzle.
For years, Tadford and her husband, whom she has been married to for 38 years, embarked on the journey of trying to track and trace her beloved son.
“It was always at the back of my mind that I was going to find him, no matter what. Back in the day, things were very different and my husband and I started placing articles and advertisements in the newspapers, hoping for some help.
“When Facebook was created, we put it on Facebook.
“My husband and I went to Germany, England and Scotland but we didn’t feel happy and decided to come back. We just had a feeling he was in South Africa. When we came back, we went all out,” Tadford told IOL.
In 2019, she started a Facebook page called “Son where are you? – Fritz Brandon Erasmus – Born 17 September 1981”. There, she implored the help of the nation to reunite her with her son.
The determined mother said she was looking for the name registered on her son’s birth certificate but did not know if his adoptive parents had kept only his middle name, Brandon.
“It was a closed adoption. I did not sign any documents; my adoptive mother did. It was never my intention to give him away. My wish was just to find him. Know where he was. If he didn’t contact me, it would have been okay, but the bonus was he would contact me,” Tadford explained excitedly.
Tadford, 55, who lives in Krugersdorp, said her life changed forever on July 5, with a simple text message via WhatsApp.
“It was before 5am and I was checking my messages just before we got load shedding (you know the ever struggle), and I saw a message from an unknown number.
“A woman said she had information about my son I’d want to know. I gave the phone to my husband and he told me to ask her for more information.
“She sent me a document that was part of his adoption records. In the corner, there was writing. I immediately recognised it – it was my mother’s handwriting. That was the confirmation I needed.
“This woman, whom I now know is his ex-girlfriend, gave my number to him and he WhatsApp’d me and called me about three or four times,” Tadford said.
Overwhelmed by emotion, Tadford and her son arrange to meet at a restaurant near the Asian market in Pretoria.
“We decided to meet at 2pm. It was all still very surreal to me. That day, as I walked into the restaurant, I reached out my hand, I was not sure what to do, and he gave me a hug.
“All the emotions came flooding at once. It was amazing,” Tadford told IOL.
She said that four days before finding her son, he had started looking for her. His ex-girlfriend had searched Facebook and found her.
Speaking to IOL on Thursday, Brandon Blignaut, 40, from Pretoria who has just started a corporate clothing and embroidery business, said he had always wondered about his biological mother.
His adoptive parents took good care of him. His adoptive mother passed away in 1992 and his father in 2009.
Blignaut said he went through a dark time in his life and asked his brother to look for his biological mother.
“He said ‘no’, but I know he was just trying to protect me. The first time I met my mother, I was shocked to know she had been looking for me all my life.
“Meeting her was so nice, it was awesome getting to know where I come from, what my background is.
“We have already started on our relationship and she sends me a message every morning,” Blignaut said fondly.
While the mother and son have reunited, Blignaut has also been blessed to meet his siblings, nephews and nieces and introduce his 15-year-old daughter to the family.
“I am overjoyed. My husband and I have gone through trials and tribulations and more so when he lost his job in the tourism industry due to Covid-19, but we remain positive.
“All our children are precious to us and I am so happy to have gained another granddaughter and I’m awaiting the arrival of another.
“We are truly blessed,” Tadford added.