Diane Bell — the woman who, as a baby, was abandoned on an Amish family’s porch near Gordonville in 1976 — may soon have an answer to the mystery of her birth.
Bell, of Lititz, will be featured this season on “Long Lost Family,” a reality series on TLC that seeks to reunite relatives who, for whatever reason, have been parted.
The new season premiers at 8 p.m. Monday. Bell said her episode will air at the end of the season, although she doesn’t yet know the date.
She has “literally been waiting my whole life for this,” she said.
Of course, she already knows how her episode turns out, but she’s sworn to secrecy.
Forty years ago, a widowed Amish woman and her daughter watched from their window late one n…
“This is killing me,” she said. “I’m bad at keeping secrets.”
Bell was contacted by a series representative in September 2016. Casting director Vanessa Garcia told Bell she’d seen an LNP article from the previous June about her bizarre situation.
By accepting the show’s offer to research her story, Bell had to promise to abandon all efforts to find her family on her own.
She turned access to her Ancestry.com account, as well as the DNA results she obtained through the site and all documentation on her birth and adoption, to the show.
It’s been “a waiting game” since then, she said.
In a season teaser, show hosts Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner talk with several guests who are looking to reconnect with lost family.
Bell appears twice in the teaser.
“To come face to face with your birth certificate, and it reads ‘Jane Doe’ — that’s hard,” she says at one point. Later, crying, she says: “I don’t want to be alone.”
In 1976, someone in dark clothing walked up to an Amish farmhouse one night and left a basket on the porch. The widowed Amish woman and her daughter who lived there thought at first it was a litter of kittens.
When they realized someone had left a baby, they called the police.
Seven months after she was left on that porch, the baby girl — called Jane Doe by social services and Rebecca by her foster family — was adopted by Don and Marlene Bell of Mount Joy, who named her Diane.
She grew up knowing she was adopted, Bell said. She began an earnest search for her roots in 2016.
When the TLC series stepped in, Bell said she was excited to have a team of research professionals on her side.
“It would be amazing to have that connection in the world — someone who might know my real name, my actual birthday,” she said at the time.