For everyone that thinks it may be too late to find a birth mother or child, here is a great story of reunion after 82 years. Betty Morrell, 82, was reunited with her 96-year-old birth mother, Lena Pierce, in January 2015. Betty was helped by her granddaughter who helped her work with information on Ancestry.com. This story by is certainly a ray of hope to all who are looking. Read the original article at Mother and Daughter Reunite 82 Years Later
Mother and Daughter Reunite After 82 Years of Searching: ‘We Just Had This Instant Connection'</a>
It was the reunion of a lifetime.
After five decades of fruitless searching, Betty Morrell, 82, was reunited with her 96-year-old birthmother, Lena Pierce, for the first time since she was born.
“She cried and hugged me and said, ‘It’s been so long, it’s been so long,’ ” Morrell says of the emotional get-together that took place in Binghamton Airport in New York on January 15.
Reunion After 82 Years
Morrell, of Spring Hill, Florida, had been desperately trying to locate her mother ever since her loving, adoptive parents died in 1954 – but she always came up short.
“I hired private detectives, called adoption agencies and wrote letters to anyone that might have been able to help me,” Morrell tells PEOPLE. “I believe in fate though, and I think we were meant to meet, when we were meant to meet.”
Pierce gave birth to Morrell in a Utica, New York, hospital in 1933, at the age of 13. The mother, a ward of the state at the time, named her baby Eva May.
After six months with her daughter, the state of New York placed Eva May under the care of an adoptive family in Long Island, where Morrell grew up as an only child – unaware that her mom and dad were not her real parents.
“One day a neighbor kid came up to me and said, ‘You know you’re adopted, right?’ ” she says. “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.”
Intrigued by her past, Morell went to the New York adoption agency that handled her case as a child and to the hospital where she was born to gather more information.
She eventually acquired her birth certificate and a non-identifying letter that described her mother.
Morrell continued on her quest to find Pierce, but to no avail – her adoption files were sealed, making it extremely difficult to get any leads.
“I had sort of given up when my granddaughter Kimberly signed me up for Ancestry.com ,” she says. “We then started on this mission together.”
Kimberly Miccio, 32, says she helped her grandmother search for clues on her mother for over 20 years.
“I spent summers with grandma, and she would always tell me stories about her big journey to find her mom,” Miccio tells PEOPLE. “So I helped her look online through family history websites.”
It wasn’t until September 2015 that Miccio found any definitive trace of her birth mother.
“We were contacted by Lena’s family members, who offered to put us in touch with her daughter,” she says. “When they sent over a photo, I knew it was the right woman, they looked exactly alike.”
Morrell says she didn’t believe it at first.
“It wasn’t real for me until I saw her in person,” she says. “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, Lacey, in the small New York airport in January.
“We just had this instant connection,” says Morrell. “I looked her right in the eyes and hugged her and smiled. It was like I had known her my whole life.”
Miccio says the first thing Pierce exclaimed when she saw her long-lost daughter was, “Oh my baby! Oh my Eva May!”
“The reunion was happy and sad at the same time,” Miccio says. “Just to know that she had been thinking of her daughter for all those years, wondering where she was and what she was doing… I just can’t imagine that happening with my own little girl.”
Morrell talks to her new sisters every day on the phone and calls her mother a few times a week. A visit to Florida is already in the works.
“Betty was so amazed and so, so happy,” says granddaughter Miccio. “I think it gave her a sense of peace to finally know where she came from. She feels like all of her life’s puzzle pieces are finally fitting together.”
Miccio says she can’t wait to tell her own daughter the incredible story of the reunion when she gets older.
“This is a piece of family history that I treasure and I hope to pass down the tale to future generations,” she says.
As an adoptee that found her birth parents too late to meet them, I am so glad these too women were able to reunite. It gives hope to all who are searching.