mother embracing son

Mother and child reunion: They had looked for each other for decades. A DNA test reconnected them.

For nearly 53 years, Richie Millidge has been searching for his birth mother. What he didn’t know was that she was searching for him, too. Finally, in February of this year, the pair found each other thanks to a DNA test. Though the mother and child reunion can’t happen in person until COVID regulations in Canada allow it, they are excited to finally be a part of each others’ families. (1)

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The Mother And Child Reunion 53 Years In The Making

In July 1967 at just 17 years old, Sandy Hutton gave birth to a baby boy who she named Leonard. Unfortunately, she knew that she wouldn’t be able to give him a good life at such a young age. After holding him in her arms for a few minutes and nick-naming him her “sweet baby boy”, she then gave him up for adoption. It was a closed adoption, which made it nearly impossible for her to find him. It would be 53 years before their incredible mother and child reunion. (1)

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Baby Richie

In November of that year, 4-month old Leonard was adopted. His adoptive family changed his name to Richie. His parents told him they adopted him when he was seven or eight years old. He says this explained why he never felt completely at home with his adopted family. At 11, his adoptive father passed away, and at 14, he left home and moved into a group home. (1)

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In 1998, authorities arrested him in British Columbia, Canada, after committing a series of armed robberies. They sentenced him to 12 years in prison, which provided him with plenty of time to think and reflect on his life. He saw older men in prison serving life sentences. With three years left of his own, he decided that he didn’t want that to be him. (1)

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“I saw all those old guys. I didn’t want that to be me,” he recalled. “I had to start fresh.” (1)

He completely turned his life around. He has stuck to that promise ever since. Finally, his girlfriend suggested that he complete a 23andMe DNA test to see if he could possibly find any biological relatives. (1)

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“It was a shot in the dark, but it was worth a try,” she said. (1)

They found a distant cousin who forwarded his information to other family members. Connecting his birth date to Sandy’s story, they connected him with his birth mom. (1)

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Read: Baby Was Photographed with the 1,616 IVF Needles It Took To Conceive Her

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Sandy’s Story

As already mentioned, Sandy had to give Richie up when she gave birth to him. She tried to find him later, but the adoption was closed, so she had no information. She went on to get married and have three other children, Richie’s half-siblings. They have known about Richie their entire lives. (1)

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When their relatives reached out to her, she couldn’t believe it. She thought that she would never in her lifetime have the chance to meet her son. The pair corresponded via email at first while they awaited the results of the DNA test. In the meantime, they also looked at one another’s Facebook pages. (1)

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“I recognized myself in him. He looked like me. He had my smile,” Sandy recalled. (1)

When they received the result that affirmed they were mother and son, they spoke on the phone later that day. They chatted for three hours and told each other about their lives up until that point. (1)

“I called her ‘Mom.’ It just came naturally.” Richie said. (1)

A Sibling Reunion

Though Richie and Sandy have not yet met in person because of COVID-19 precautions, he has met his three half-siblings. They drove to him from Montreal, where they met at a restaurant. His siblings said that they all hit it off instantly. It was as if he had always been a part of the family. They also said that they didn’t need a DNA test to confirm that he is their mother’s son – he looks more like her than any of them do. (1)

Sandy is overjoyed that her children all get along so well. Having her first son be a part of her family is something she has always wanted. For Richie, it gives him even more motivation to continue down the path of positivity that he has stuck to for the last 11 years. It was a difficult start in life for him, but with his newfound family, he is making the most of the rest of it. (1)

Keep Reading: ‘Why are you flying with such a young infant?’ He grinned, then walked away. My wife and I exchanged curious looks.’: Flight attendants pay it forward for adoptive couple after 9-year battle with infertility

Sources:

  1. “Mother and child reunion: They had looked for each other for decades. A DNA test reconnected them.” Joanne Laucius. Ottawa Citizen. May 9, 2021.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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