Nearly 50 years ago, Zella Jackson Price was told that her premature baby girl had died soon after birth. Heartbroken, Price went home from the Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis without her baby.
Little did she know that the hospital had somehow confused her baby with another, and that her daughter, Melanie Gilmore, was adopted and raised by another family.
Both woman moved on – Price raising six other children, and Gilmore moving to Oregon and starting a family of her own. As a young adult, Gilmore tried to find her biological mother, but repeatedly met dead ends.
Years later, Gilmore’s own daughters took up the search, and found their grandmother through Facebook. DNA testing revealed a 99.9997 percent match between Gilmore and Price.
Gilmore’s children surprised her with the news and a video chat with Price. Overcome with emotion, Gilmore broke down sobbing at the sight of her mom. “I love you,” both women repeatedly said and signed, as Gilmore is deaf.
The heartwarming video received over 1.7 million hits:
“You could see how much joy she felt,” Gilmore’s daughter said. “She’s been lost and confused for so long. That next morning, she looked at peace with herself.”
Through a GoFundMe campaign, Gilmore’s family raised over $7,800 to visit Price in Missouri. Mother and daughter reunited face to face for the first time on April 9.
“She needs to know who her family is,” Gilmore’s daughter said. “She has missed out on these years. Visits are not going to cut it. She’s always wanted this. She’s so happy.
The families plan to make time to visit frequently.
“(God) has given me everything the devil has taken from me,” Price told Fox News. “I’m getting it back. I’m getting my baby back.”
After The Adoption Exchange finally placed one girl in a loving family, she missed her foster care sister terribly. Seeing how close the two girls had become, her new family planned a special Christmas surprise for their newly adopted daughter.
The family flew her foster care sister across the country and hid her in a huge gift box beside the tree, complete with pink wrapping and a gold bow.
To the delight of his new daughter, the father lifted the box to reveal her smiling foster sister.
Though the dear friends had to part again after the Christmas holiday, their separation would not be for long.
The older girl was nearing the legal age of emancipation from the foster care system, yet she still longed for a real family to call her own. Learning of her wish during the visit, the family decided to adopt her as an adult.
A month after the Christmas surprise, the two girls became true sisters.
“The Adoption Exchange envisions a world in which all children are valued and grow up in safe and permanent families, and where families are supported in their critical roles,” the organization’s website reads.
Learn how to play a supporting role for adopting families here.
When doctors told her she had cancer, Tricia Somers’ first concern was for her 8-year-old son, Wesley. With no other close family and little interaction with his father, Wesley would be devastatingly alone when his mother passed away.
Somers was hospitalized for epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, a rare vascular cancer, in March. Her worry for Wesley increased until she met Tricia Seaman, an oncology nurse at Community General Hospital in Pennsylvania.
“I remember when she came into the room, it was just an overwhelming feeling I had over me,” Somers said in an interview with Today. “It’s really hard to understand – it was just a warmth. I felt calm, I felt at peace, I felt like this woman is going to be the one who’s going to take care of me.”
Throughout Somers’ hospital stay, the women bonded and shared stories about each other’s families. Like Somers, Seaman had a young son, Noah. She also had three teenage daughters.
One night, when Seaman came in to check on her patient, Somers blurted out a daring plea: “Can you raise my son if I die? If the cancer takes me, can you take my son?”
Little did the woman know that Seaman and her husband were in the process of becoming foster parents.
Recalling that moment, Seaman said, “I didn’t know what to say …. I told her I was flattered …. I was trying to be very diplomatic, everything in me said was saying, ‘Yes, I’ll do it.'”
As the two families began spending time together, Wesley and Noah became fast friends.
“We need to try to help this woman,” Seaman recalled her husband, Dan, saying. “We just need to follow whatever it is God wants us to do here.”
When she started chemotherapy in May, Somers became disoriented, dehydrated, and physically drained. It was then that the Seamans adopted both Tricia and her son into the family home.
“My son is well aware that when I pass on, he is welcome to stay here. And he knows that Dan and Tricia will be his guardians. They’ve explained to him that they’ll never be mommy and daddy, but they’re sure going to try to be close,” Somers said.
“They’ve answered my prayers. It’s wonderful, it’s absolutely wonderful.”