Donna Pavey was a young woman when she got pregnant with her first daughter, and her parents said she was much too young. At age 20, she was forced to give up her baby, but Pavey said she’s thought of her baby “every day” for the next 52 years.
“From the time I conceived her, I wanted her,” said Pavey, now 70. “I prayed and prayed and as soon as I saw [pictures of] the adopted mother I said, ‘Thank you, Lord, for taking care of my baby.'”
Pavey went on to start a family of her own and had two more daughters.
“I’ve always felt like my mom was missing something,” said her daughter Donna. She was a great mother, but there was an “indescribable sadness” that hung with Pavey.
Her sister Deanna said of their missing sister, “I’ve always wondered where she was, what she could be doing.”
Pavey’s first daughter had been adopted by loving parents. Theofore Hotaling and Edna Gallo loved Sharon Glidden as their own child, and she, a hospice nurse, cared for them until their deaths in 2007 and 2011. They never told her she was adopted.
“My adopted parents made their whole life mission to make me feel like I was loved,” Glidden added. “I was a happy kid and I just accepted what they told me.”
It wasn’t until after both their deaths that she learned she was adopted. Glidden had gotten married and had two children of her own, and wanted to learn more about her family and did some genealogical digging. The website Ancestry.com matched her DNA with a sister and a Donna Pavey who had other children, in Texas.
Shocked, she called her aunt.
“I didn’t even get half the sentence out and she said, ‘Yes honey, you were adopted,'” Glidden said.
So Glidden looked for Donna Pavey, and the two connected on Facebook.
Pavey was overwhelmed with emotion when the two of them agreed to meet the day after the next.
“I knew I’d see her in heaven, but I never dreamed this day would come,” Pavey said.
So Glidden arranged to make the 6-hour drive to Kingsland, Texas, while Pavey paced in and outside of her house nervously, awaiting their reunion after 52 years.
As soon as Glidden stepped out of the car, Pavey burst into tears. Glidden, spotting her, ran toward her with her arms out.
The mother and daughter crashed into a hug—the first time they had touched in 52 years. Both were heavily emotional, and Pavey was still crying. They only let go to have a good look at each other’s faces—“My eyes! My mouth!” Glidden said of the resemblance.
“I never want to let her go!” Pavey said.
Though the two had never met, they had some uncanny similarities—their facial features showed obvious resemblance, but they also had the same shoes and matching nail polish.
“I’ll have a whole heart for the first time in my life,” Pavey said.
Watch the emotional moment in the video below: