This story is bound to bring tears to your eyes. If it doesn’t, then I’m just going to assume you have no heart (I kid…kind of). After searching for five decades, 82-year-old Betty Morrell was reunited with her 96-year-old birth mom for the first time since she was born, according to PEOPLE.
Morrell had been trying to locate her birth mom after her adoptive parents died in 1954. So, this was a long time coming. Pierce gave birth to Morrell in Utica, New York in 1933 when she was only 13 years old. Since Pierce was a ward of the state, New York state placed Morrell (then named Eva May) into the care of an adoptive family in Long Island. However, Morrell grew up thinking they were her biological parents until a neighborhood kid told her, Morrell explaining:
“One day a neighbor kid came up to me and said, ‘You know you’re adopted, right?’ I didn’t know what that meant, so I asked my mom, who explained everything by saying I was chosen by them and very special. My family made me feel so comfortable that I didn’t even think about the fact I was adopted until I was in my twenties.”
After going to the adoption agency that handled her case, she acquired her birth certificate and a vague letter that described her mother. Unfortunately, and none too surprising, the letter wasn’t very helpful. It wasn’t until her granddaughter, 32-year-old Kimberly Miccio, signed up at Ancestry.com that the ball started rolling. They weren’t successful until September 2015 when they were contacted by Morrell’s birth mother’s family members. Morrell was astounded, stating:
“It wasn’t real for me until I saw her in person. I kept thinking, ‘There is no way that both of us are still alive.’ I also found out I had four sisters and two brothers. I had a whole new family that I never knew about.”
Pierce, along with her two daughters, Millie Hawk and Carol Vanhorn, met Morrell, Miccio and Miccio’s 2-year-old daughter in the small Utica airport in January. Morrell says she felt the connection instantly:
“I looked her right in the eyes and hugged her and smiled. It was like I had known her my whole life.”
Of course, the reunion was bittersweet, as they had already lived most of their lives without ever knowing each other. That being said, it is better late than never.