The story of how one man rediscovered his Ohana

I remember being a small child and watching “Lilo and Stitch,” and getting completely lost in the crazy antics of a young Hawaiian girl and her alien dog. As a kid, I never realized just how deep that movie was or how much her sister, Nani, did for Lilo.

The entire movie was about family–and the lack thereof.

After the loss of her parents in a car accident, Lilo began to feel like the meaning of her name: Lost. Losing her parents threw Lilo’s world into disarray–and it wasn’t until she met Stitch that her life began to get stitched back together. Over the course of her journey, she found new friends and learned to redefine her definition of a family to make room for all of those people she came to love.

Somebody to love

After World War Two, many soldiers returned home from war and got married–and subsequently pregnant, giving rise to the Baby Boomer Generation.


For the most part, that generation led conventional lives, but before Roe vs. Wade, the lives of some returning veterans, their wives, and their children took a turn down an entirely different path.

Take, for example, the story of a woman named Helen, a young woman from Georgia:

A young nursing student working at a notorious mental hospital meets an alcoholic patient, a scarred World War II combat Marine. She falls in love, but when she tells him she’s pregnant with his child, he abandons her and she’s forced to give up her first baby for adoption. After grueling hours of labor and childbirth, she never gets to hold her baby or even lay eyes on him.

~Helen, a documentary film

This story is far from rare. There are millions of children who had the same fate as the son of the young nursing student. Their stories of love and loss–of giving up your child for adoption without ever seeing him or her went forever untold.

Until now.

Investigative Reporter Stuart Watson

Mr. Watson is a three-time Peabody, ten-time Emmy-winning investigative journalist with over 30 years of experience for WRAL in Raleigh, CBS Raleigh, and WCNC in Charlotte, NC whose work has had far-reaching impact throughout his stellar career.

He’s the father of one of my best friends.

And he’s the son of that young nursing student.

Now, he’s putting his acumen and his efforts into sharing with us all the story of his mother–and the story of millions of other Americans who share a similar fate.

Help this story be told: Join the project’s Ohana

Mr. Watson and his co-filmmaker, Leighton Grant, have spent more than a year and their own money in filming and researching and preparing the documentary to share with the world. Now they need our help.

Your help.

I invite you to take a look at their website for more information about the Helen Project as well as to donate.

If you feel generous and wish to donate already, please click here to be taken to the project’s donation page.

Any amount would be a tremendous help for them in getting this story out and told.


And finally, thank you. From me at Why Mondays, thank you for supporting this project–one of the few I take publicly for support. I believe in Mr. Watson and this story, and having seen the documentary I’m already hooked and can’t wait to see how this story turns out.

Thank you from my best friend, who had no idea I wrote this until I sent it to her to be proofread.

And thank you from the filmmakers themselves, who have no idea I’m about to push the “Publish” button but who highly value your and anyone’s support on completing this project.

As always, do good. Be kind. And don’t stop believing. 

Cover photo by Eric Froehling

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