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happy endings

After searching for 50 years, woman, 82, finds her 96-year-old birth mother

It took five decades, but Betty Morrell, 82, finally tracked down her 96-year-old birth mother after stumbling upon a key piece of information online.

Morrell was adopted as an infant, and told that her biological mother died during childbirth. She waited until her adoptive parents died before trying to find her birth mother, and since it was a closed adoption, information was scarce. Morrell was finally able to determine that she was born in Utica, New York, in 1933 to a 13-year-old ward of the state named Lena Pierce. Her name at birth was Eva May.

Morrell's granddaughter, Kimberly Miccio, 32, spent years helping her grandmother search for any details on her birth family, and in September, she finally found on Ancestry.com the name of a distant relative, who put her in touch with Pierce's daughter, Millie Hawk. "I had found my baby sister, who's 65," Morrell told The Associated Press. "We just clicked. It was like we had known each other all our lives." It turns out, she also has three other sisters and two brothers, and Pierce is still alive and living in Hallstead, Pennsylvania.

Hawk said when she told her mother about Morrell, "she just sat down in a chair and cried. She said, 'My Eva May, they found her?' It was just so emotional." Morrell flew up from Florida with Miccio to meet her newfound family, and there were tears, Pierce said. "It sure was a joy to finally meet up with her," she added. "It's kind of hard when you have a child that you get separated from. I never wanted to give her up." Morrell and Hawk now talk all the time, and they're already planning their next visit. Morrell told AP that people searching for their birth families should keep hope alive: "I say absolutely don't give up. There's always something that will link it. It's a lot of work. It took me 50 years." Catherine Garcia