There was a period in time when single girls and women who got pregnant were often sent away until giving birth and then gave their babies up for adoption. This was a highly common practice during the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s before birth control.

It was done and hardly ever spoken about, leaving unwed mothers to make the decision based on society’s norms at the time. Such was the case for Valerie Leatherwood, who gave her daughter up for adoption more than fifty years ago.

She was working at a nursing home run by nuns, and at 20 years old, she found herself unmarried and pregnant. According to Leatherwood, her supervisor – a nun – sent her off on assignment to keep her pregnancy a secret from everyone, including her own family.

She had a little girl but gave her up for adoption with the intention of never telling anyone she knew about the child. That all changed with a phone call. Her biological daughter tracked her down 52 years later through the website Ancestry.com.

Leatherwood’s brother and niece sent their DNA to the site, and it only took a few months for her daughter, Mia Keske Anderson, to find them. It would force Leatherwood to finally reveal her secret.

Diane Mindt, Leatherwood’s sister, told the family that her niece was trying to figure out if anyone had a baby 52 years ago that they’d given up. Mindt came up empty, but it was then that her sister admitted what happened. She was floored.

After reaching out to Anderson, the family arranged for a meeting. What you’re watching in this video is part reunion, part first-time meeting. Anderson, who was brought up in the Midwest, always had a desire to learn more about her biological mom. She was so happy to find her.

Anderson told Fox 40 News:

“I have all these weird feelings going on right now. I was scared, nervous, excited. I wanted to find her and it worked. I just want to get to know both of them. It’s nice to see where I get my cheeks from.”

It is estimated that over 1 million women gave their children up for adoption during those eras when there was a stigma attached to being a young, unwed mother. Stories like Leatherwood’s were not uncommon where the mother and/or other family members simply buried these incidents as if they didn’t happen.

The moms often carry guilt or shame for years, wondering about their child’s fate. Reunions like these are filled with excitement, joy, and even a little bit of anxiety over what to expect. Fortunately for this mom and daughter, everything went over well.

Watch to see these women meet for the first time and take a look at how much these two resemble one another. Now, Anderson has the opportunity to get to know her mother, aunt, and other biological relatives. There is a lot to catch up on!

What are your thoughts on this woman’s story? Do you have a similar situation that occurred in your family? Did you know how prevalent “pregnancy homes” were decades ago?