BUFFALO, N.Y. — Hand in hand, Linda Restrepo recently walked with her birth mother, Madelyn Michel, to her pub as they celebrated a reunion that was decades in the making.
"I thought this day would never happen, and here it is. I'm thrilled," said Michel.
Restrepo was put up for adoption as a child and has been looking for her mom for almost 52 years.
"I was a little, little girl and I would go up in my room and cry and pray that I'd find her," Restrepo said.
Those prayers were answered last year when a new state law allowed adoptees in New York to get a copy of their birth certificate when they turn 18.
She'd been searching online to try and track down her mother. Two weeks ago, she messaged Michelle Szatko, Michel's neighbor.
"She said, ‘I think this is my mother.’ And I said, ‘oh my God, I know about you.’ And she's like, ‘yes, can I please call you?’ And we talked and I waited for Maddie to come home and I said, ‘Maddie, I think we found your daughter.’" said Szatko. "I've known Maddie for three years, and I've sat with Maddie for three years, her searching and her crying, the guilt that she had felt in the 60s putting a little girl up for adoption."
But now, they're celebrating the fact that they've finally found each other.
"I wasn't whole, and I needed to find her to become whole again," said Restrepo.
"And all these pieces can finally come together, and they can build off of this, and she can meet her grandchildren," said Szatko.
This story was originally published by Ala Errebhi at WKBW.