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Mom and daughter, separated in 1933, reunite 80 years later

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February 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Fifty years after first searching for her birth mother, a woman adopted as a baby finally had success, and she says the hard work is worth it.

Eighty-two-year-old Betty Morrell, of Spring Hill, FL, was united with her birth mother last month and has also developed a relationship with her newfound sister.

"The minute I saw her come through the security door, I just got goose bumps," Morrell's sister Millie Hawk said, speaking of Morrell's first meeting with their 96-year-old mother at the Binghamton, NY airport. "Mother reached for her; Betty said, "Mom." They hugged and cried."

Morrell was born in 1933 in Utica, NY, to Lena Pierce, and named Eva May, an SFGate report said. She was taken as an infant by welfare officials and adopted out, because Pierce was just 13 and a minor ward of the state.

The years did not diminish the pain of separation for the mother and daughter.

"There were a few tears, and shaking," Pierce said of meeting Morrell for the first time. "It sure was a joy to finally meet up with her. It's kind of hard when you have a child that you get separated from. I never wanted to give her up."

Eva May had been adopted by a Long Island family and raised as Betty Morrell, an only child, who recounts a happy childhood.

"I grew up a very happy child," Morrell said. "I was so content in the family I was adopted by."

Having been told that her birth mother had died in childbirth, it later came as a surprise for Morrell to learn her mother was actually still alive, andwhen she was in her early 30s, she began seeking information about her birth family.

"After my adoptive parents died, that's when I started looking," said Morrell.

She continually encountered obstacles because the adoption had been closed, but with the help of her granddaughter, the internet opened up new doors in the search.

"My grandmother had been looking for a long time," Kimberly Miccio said.

Miccio, 32, began helping Morrell back at age 12.

"She had never tried through the internet," she continued, "so we started going through different sites."

In September, after 20 years, Miccio was able to connect via the Ancestry.com website with one of Morrell's distant relatives, who then put her in touch with Hawk, resulting in Morrell learning of her long lost mother and newfound family.

"Kim and I got on the phone and called her," Morrell recalled. "I had found my baby sister, who's 65. We just clicked. It was like we had known each other all our lives."

Hawk, who is one of four sisters and two brothers Morrell learned of with the find, and who lives 20 miles from Pierce's Hallstead, PA assisted living apartment, hurried to her mother's home with the news.

"I rushed to my mother's house to tell her," recalled Hawk. "She just sat down in a chair and cried. She said, 'My Eva May, they found her?' It was just so emotional."

Morrell and Miccio, who lives near her grandmother in Florida, flew together to the Binghamton airport in January, where Hawk brought Pierce for the meeting. 

Since that time, Morrell has been in regular contact with Hawk on the phone and through Facebook, and the sisters are arranging a visit in Florida this spring.

Morrell talks less frequently with her mother, explaining, "Sometimes I have to remind my mother of who I am. I say, 'I'm your long-lost daughter Eva May.'"

She continues to give encouragement to other adoptees who have reached out to her through Facebook, sharing their own search stories.

"I say absolutely don't give up," said Morrell. "There's always something that will link it. It's a lot of work. It took me 50 years."

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