After years of futile searching, a mother and daughter who hadn't seen each other in almost half a century were finally reunited this week at a restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Fla., CBS News reports.
Stephanie Phillips and her mother, Joan Courchene Wehrmeyer, had not been in contact in 48 years before they finally reconnected on Facebook last month.
"It's been a long time," Wehrmeyer, 67, told her daughter as they shared a long hug during their tearful reunion.
Wehrmeyer was 17 when she became pregnant with Phillips. She got divorced when her daughter was still a baby and due to a disagreement with her ex-husband and his family, was compelled to leave her child in their care.
Phillips, who was raised by her father, told the Boston Herald that talk of her mother was discouraged when she was growing up.
“I was never allowed to ask any questions,” Phillips, 48, said. “It was a completely taboo subject.”
However, Phillips said she remained curious about her mother and longed to connect with her.
“There were key times in my life, like when I was having my first child and important milestones, I wished my mom had been around,” she told CBS News.
When Phillips got married, her husband promised that he would help her to find her mother.
Coincidentally, Wehrmeyer, who remarried and has other adult children, said her family had made a similar promise to her.
“I wondered about her many times, I looked many times,” said Wehrmeyer. “I knew it would happen, because she’s my daughter and I was her mother.”
Finally, earlier this year, Phillips -- whose father died a few years ago -- obtained her birth certificate which had the correct spelling of her mother's name.
Her husband entered the information on a people-search website and soon found Wehrmeyer on Facebook. He reached out to her and sent his newfound mother-in-law their contact information.
“I was totally shocked and speechless, I just broke down and cried,” Wehrmeyer told CBS News. “I said ‘I don’t believe it’.”
Since then, mother and daughter have spent hours talking on the phone and catching up over texts and Facebook messages.
Though they haven't been in touch in almost 50 years, the two women soon discovered how much they have in common.
“She likes to cook and we both have that. And then jokingly I said I was the only left handed person in my family and I found she’s left handed too,” said Wehrmeyer, who -- like her daughter -- is a caterer and owns a restaurant.
This week, mother and daughter finally got to meet in person after Phillips, who lives in Pennsylvania, flew to South Florida, where Wehrmeyer now resides.
“It’s almost like she was never gone,” Wehrmeyer told the Boston Herald.