Mother-daughter reunions guaranteed to make you cry

Many of us are lucky to have great relationships with our mothers. They did their best to raise us right, they loved us with all they could, and we can still share a text message, phone call, and maybe best of all, a hug from time to time. Not everyone is that lucky.

There are some amazing stories of women who have gone their entire lives not knowing their birth mothers and mothers who spent years knowing they made the right decision but still hoping for the day to come when they would see their baby girl again. Their reunions and stories are absolutely heart warming and sure to get the water works flowing. Make sure to grab some tissues before you start watching these reunions!

A whole heart for the first time

Sharon Glidden spent her whole life not knowing that she was adopted. After her adoptive parents passed away, she went on the hunt to learn more about her family history and surprisingly was matched with her birth family. A quick phone call to her aunt confirmed she was adopted and two days later she was tearfully in the arms of her birth mother, Donna Pavey.

It had been 52 years since Pavey was forced by her parents to put Glidden up for adoption, but she never forgot her baby girl. "I knew I would see her in heaven, but I never dreamed this day would come," Pavey told KVUE Austin. Now, Glidden wants to build a home for Pavey right next to her own in Oklahoma so they never have to be apart again.

It's never too late for a miracle

At 16 years old, Minka Disbrow and her friend were walking in the woods when they were approached and raped. Disbrow did not speak of what happened for a few months, until she started to become visibly pregnant and explained what happened to her mother.

Disbrow gave birth to a baby girl, Betty Jane, and while she felt an instant connection to the baby, she did as she was told and gave the baby up to a nice Lutheran family. For years, she wrote letters hoping to hear how the baby was doing. It wasn't until 2006 when Betty Jane, known by then as Ruth Lee, went in search of her family history as a way to get answers to some plaguing health concerns.

After receiving a large envelope full of her adoption case paperwork and all of Disbrow's letters, she realized it was time to connect with her birth family. She was surprised to learn that her birth mother was still alive and, after finding her number in the white pages, gave her a call. As the saying goes, the rest is history.

Silence said more than words

After a bill was passed in Ohio opening up adoption records from 1964 to 1996, Teresa Stinson and her adopted sister Vanessa Navis were of the 400,000 adoptees now able to request their original birth certificates.

As a child, Stinson knew she was adopted. Her adopted mother told her that her birth mother loved her, but gave her to her adopted parents to take care of her. Stinson didn't believe it. "It was easier for me to believe that I wasn't good enough," she told Nightline. "It would almost be too painful for me to hope, to have that hope that, gosh, she might be out there looking for me."

With a little help from her sister, she learned that her birth mother was indeed looking for her too. After a tearful reunion, they learned just how similar they are despite the 47 years spent apart.

The power of social media

While many of us have a love/hate relationship with social media, there's no denying the power of social media to connect us with others, especially friends and family who may be far away. When 22-year-old Carrie Leach wanted to find her birth mother so she could invite her to her upcoming wedding, she posted a photo on Facebook and it went viral. 

When Kelly Gallant's daughter saw the post on Facebook, she let her mom know and, sure enough, within 48 hours Gallant and Leach were reunited for the first time in 22 years. When asked how it felt to hold her daughter again, Gallant tearfully replied, "It was the best thing ever."

The magic of crossing the finish line

Judy got pregnant in 1972 and her father and the baby's father's mother decided the baby would be put up for adoption — Judy never even got to hold her baby before it was taken away. Fast forward over 40 years later and Julie Anna Heinz received a Facebook message from Judy saying, "Hello, my name is Judy. I gave my daughter up for adoption and I think I may have found her. I would love to hear from you."

Knowing that Heinz enjoys running, Judy suggested they run the Disney Half Marathon, training together and working towards a goal together. "There's a relationship that's building and it's already as strong as it is and it can't help it to get stronger," said Judy.

"People are walking around, not realizing, not having any idea. They're into the race, doing all their things which is great and wonderful, but they don't realize that Julie and I, who's my daughter, are having a life changing experience," said Judy. 

Two moms are better than one

When Miss Louisiana Candice Stewart was 26 years old she knew she was different from everyone else in her family and demanded they tell her what was going on. After they explained where she came from, Stewart called the adoption agency the very next day and began the process to get her adoption records with the hope of someday getting to meet her birth mother.

"I know that 26 years have passed so I put it in a book for you," said Stewart to her birth mother when they were reunited on the show Searching For… on the Oprah Winfrey Network. They tearfully flipped through the pages of Stewart's life, from her baby pictures, first steps, and birthday parties of years passed. Memories that her adopted mother was sure to catch.

"I always wanted to know what you looked like," Stewart's birth mother said as they hugged on the couch. "I'm sorry," she sobbed. "It's okay because we're here now," Stewart responded as she continued to hug her mother.

Stewart went on to share a message from her adoptive mother. "My mom said to tell you thank you for the 26 years and she wants you to be a part of our lives," said Stewart. "You birthed me, you loved me enough to make an unselfish decision, we were separated and we're together, and I have two moms." Stewart recognizes that some people don't even get one, but she is blessed to have two.

If it means that much to you, you should do it

As a young surgeon in Little Rock with no desire to be a parent, Today Show Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman surprised herself when she received a call one night asking if she would adopt a baby and she said "yes." She named the baby girl Kate and, 27 years later, Snyderman accompanied her daughter on a flight to Little Rock so her daughter could finally meet her biological mother.

"Being a single teenage mom, I could not give you a life that you would amount to anything," said her birth mother, Sheryl. Kate told her, "I have had a wonderful life and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank you for everything you've given me, so if you would like, I would be honored to introduce you to my mom." The two moms met, hugged, and cried just as much as when mother and daughter met for the first time. 

This day is special

Imagine being 14 years old and having a baby. "I was just a baby myself," said Jennifer Stuart, as she spoke of the day 23 years prior when she put her baby up for adoption. She nervously stood at Six Flags in Arlington, Texas awaiting her daughter's arrival until finally, the daughter she'd been anxiously waiting to meet came running toward her.

Stuart and her biological daughter Christina Weissenborn shared an emotional embrace as spectators applauded their special moment. "I'm so glad you're okay," Stuart told her daughter before the two spent the day at the park, laughing, riding rides, and enjoying each other's company. "This is a new beginning, a new beginning for both of us. And I will never let her go again, ever," said Stuart.

Now your sunshine will never go away

At only 14 years old, Laurie Roberts was a victim of date rape and after conceiving and giving birth to a baby girl, Julie Mercer, she gave her up for adoption. "It's just a fairytale, the fact that she wanted to find me as much as I wanted to see her," said Roberts. 

Roberts and Mercer were able to reconnect after 32 years and immediately started learning their similarities, from favorite colors to college majors and taste in music. They finally met in person for the first time in front of 20,000 people in Houston, Texas. 

"Before we go," said Mercer, "I want to say to Laurie, or sing to Laurie, the very last thing she ever said to me before this moment." Mercer began singing "You Are My Sunshine" before Roberts was handed a microphone to sing along.

It was truly a family reunion

"I'm nervous, I'm excited, I've waited 50 years for this moment," said Cindy Burns as she walked down the hall to finally meet her birth mother who gave her up for adoption at ten months old in South Korea in hopes of her having a better life in America. 

Burns even traveled to South Korea the previous year in hopes of finding her birth mother, but when her search came up short, she was coming to peace with the fact that it might never happen. Then she received a DNA test that confirmed who her biological mother was and that she lived on the west coast — they had actually been in the same country for decades. 

They shared a tearful reunion and as they spoke with CBS News their hands were glued together. Burns not only got to meet her biological mother, but also her sisters and brother as well. It was truly a family reunion. "It's what all of us who are adopted want is for our existence to be validated," said Burns, "and to know that our parents loved us."

It's the best thing that's happened to me

At 14 years old, Lena Pierce gave birth to a baby girl named Eva May. Six months later, the state took her baby away, saying Pierce was too young to have a child. Eva May was adopted and grew up on Long Island under the name Betty Morrell. While her adoptive parents did confirm that she was adopted, they claimed her birth mother passed away when she was a baby, a lie to keep her from searching her out. 

In 1966, Morrell began actively searching for her birth mother. "I know I was loved and had a wonderful family. There was that missing link. It just kept driving me," she told ABC News. With the help of her granddaughter, Morrell connected with one of her sisters, Millie Hawk, and eventually also her mother. Morrell speaks of the moment reconnecting with her mother as "the best thing that's happened to me." 

It took 50 years of active searching, 82 years apart, but they finally found each other. "My life is complete at this point," Morrell said.