Lifestyle & Human Interest

After 42 Years Apart, Woman Finally Meets Her Biological Mother for the First Time


After 42 years of waiting, Amy Bottomley was able to hug her birth mother for the first time, marking this Mother’s Day as one that both women will forever cherish.

Bottomley was placed for adoption as an infant, a heart-wrenching decision her then-18-year-old birth mother made out of love for her daughter.

Bottomley was adopted by a loving couple, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, then married, had a son, and moved to Tampa, Florida.

She was always curious about her birth mother, and last Christmas, Bottomley’s adoptive parents gave her a DNA test as a gift, hoping it would help their daughter find her birth mom.

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As a result of the DNA testing, Bottomley did find her birth mother, a woman named Kathleen Buchanan. The pair spent months talking on the phone before deciding to meet in person.

Seated alongside her adult son in the Tampa airport, Bottomley felt nervous and excited to meet her birth mom in person for the first time ever.

“I am feeling a mix of emotions right now,” Bottomley told WPTV. “It’s going to be interesting.”

It was a moment that Bottomley had been waiting for since she could remember: “My whole life, my entire life, 42 years.”

The moment Buchanan stepped off the tram and glimpsed the baby girl she had last seen 42 years ago, she embraced her daughter with a huge, long-awaited hug.


“I just couldn’t wait. You know I just couldn’t wait to get my arms around her,” Buchanan said.

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Buchanan said she had always hoped that one day, her daughter would find her.

She recalled the day she made one of the bravest decisions an 18-year-old new mother could make: the decision to place her daughter in an adoptive family. It was Valentine’s Day, 1977, when Buchanan last saw her baby.

Buchanan knew she had no control over whether or not she would ever reunite with her daughter.

“One of the things that you have to accept is that it could be forever, you don’t really know,” Buchanan said.

Just days after the adoption, Buchanan wrote a heartfelt letter to her daughter and mailed it to her adoptive family. It was a letter that Bottomley had always cherished.

“It was something that I have looked at and read one million times over because it was a piece of her,” Bottomley said.

Bottomley has been walking through a painful and lonely season, as her husband recently passed away. She said it made the timing of meeting her birth mom all the more perfect.

“I’ve always been told by my mom who raised me that I’m a strong-willed woman, independent woman. And I am. I always thought I got that from my birth mom,” Bottomley said.

The voice of a birth mom is often lost in the adoption process, but Buchanan’s 1977 letter to her daughter explains the very raw, selfless reason why she knew she needed to place her daughter for adoption:

“To my beautiful daughter,

By the time you are old enough to read this I am sure you will also be old enough to understand the reasons behind this.

I gave you up to the good people who are now your parents, not because I didn’t want you but because what I wanted for you I could never have given you. 

When I saw you after you were born you were so beautiful and that’s the way I wanted you to stay — physically and emotionally.

I hope at reading this you love me as much as I love you as I write it. 

Even as our lives go on, if the situation arises that I have other children don’t ever feel that I could forget you. 

Please be good to yourself, to your parents and to me in your thoughts because my decision was the best road to happiness for us all. 

I love you,

Your mother.”

Both women agree that Mother’s Day now holds a more beautiful, deeper meaning than it ever had before.

They look forward to building a relationship with one another, excited for what the future holds.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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