It was 69 years before Genevieve Purinton had the chance to hold her daughter.
As Fox 13 reports, Purinton is now 88 years old and lives at an assisted living center in Tampa, Florida. One of eight siblings, Purinton is the only still alive. As far as she knew, she was alone in the world.
In 1949, when she was only 18, Purinton gave birth to a baby girl. However, the hospital staff told the new mom that her daughter hadn’t survived. She told Fox 13:
“I said I wanted to see the baby. They told me she died.”
As Purinton explained to Yahoo News, “I was a young, unwed mom.” The Indiana hospital never provided her with a death certificate, but she didn’t question that her daughter had passed away. She never had more children.
However, the baby hadn’t died and was secretly adopted by a family in California. Connie Moultroup, Purinton’s daughter, told Yahoo that she always knew she was adopted:
“My parents would tell me this fabulous story of walking up and down the hospital halls looking for me.”
However, Moultroup’s adoptive mother died when she was 4 years old. She told Yahoo that she had a difficult relationship with her new stepmother and spent years dreaming about meeting her birth mother:
“I dreamt of meeting my real mom — a beautiful woman who swooped in and rescued me.”
Finding her mother would remain a dream until last year, when Moultroup’s daughter bought her a DNA kit for Christmas.
The DNA test led them to a cousin, who mentioned Purinton … and that she was still alive.
Moultroup sent a letter to her mother, and on September 8, Purinton and her daughter spoke on the phone for the first time.
Moultroup told NBC News she remembered Purinton beginning the conversation by saying, “I think I’m your mother.” She added, “You could’ve heard a pin drop. I said, ‘Oh my God.'”
Over the following weeks, they compared notes and learned how much they had in common. Purinton had been a cook who wanted to work as a nurse. Moultroup was a nurse who loved cooking. Moultroup told Yahoo:
“She couldn’t deny me if she wanted to — we look exactly alike. We have the same facial features, bad knees, and we’ve both had heart attacks and strokes.”
The two arranged for Moultroup to visit Purinton at her assisted living facility. When they finally met face-to-face, Purinton cried as she said, “You’re really not dead.”
To which, Moultroup responded, “I’m not dead.”
Moultroup’s daughter told NBC News that finding Purinton has been an emotional experience:
“We’re criers. We just cry a lot. There were a lot of tears and there’s been a lot of tears the entire time since then. It’s been really amazing.”
As for Purinton, not only did she get her daughter back, she’s also learned she has a granddaughter and two great-grandchildren.
Moultroup told Yahoo she’s thrilled to get this chance to know her mother at last: “It’s a Christmas miracle. I don’t think Santa can outdo this one.”