‘You’re more beautiful in person’: Woman meets her birth mother for the first time in over 50 years

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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MONROVIA, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) – A Colorado mother had a tearful reunion with her own mother, someone she has never met.

Sarah Kleinhans was put up for adoption in South Korea when she was just 14 months old.

Her mother now lives in California, and with the help of some DNA analysis, Kelinhans was able to track her down.

Kleinhans was waiting with excitement to meet her half sister, Linda, and birth mom, who they call Oma.

She anxiously awaited the two at a friend’s house in Monrovia, California, after flying into the state from Colorado with her two kids for this reunion that’s been decades in the making.

When she was given up for adoption, Kleinhans was adopted by a family in New Hampshire along with her half brother.

They each had a locket with their mother’s picture and their baby picture in it.

She had been wanting to reconnect with her birth mom for her whole life.

“Every year on my birthday, I think of you,” Kleinhans said. “Every single year and I look out and I go, ‘Are you alive? Are you wondering, are you thinking about me?’”

They just spoke on the phone two weeks before the big moment.

There were hugs and tears when the two embraced for the first time after 53 years apart.

“I’m so happy,” Kleinhans said to her mother. “I’m so grateful to you. I’m here. You’re more beautiful in person.”

She showed her mother the locket she had kept all of those years.

“Look what I have,” Kleinhans said. “I found you.”

Linda, Kleinhans half sister, had been looking for her for 15 years. Kleinhans did not even know Linda existed.

Kleinhans used the genetic testing company 23andMe to begin her family search.

Linda finally found Kleinhans through Facebook and sent her a message.

Kleinhans also found what she believes is a picture of her biological father, who died in 2015. He was a sergeant in Seoul when he met Kleinhans’s mother

Kleinhans had toured as a dancer and model, and now is a single mom. Her son, Addison, survived leukemia as a young boy.

While Kleinmans said she can’t imagine ever leaving her children, she admires what her own mother had to do.

“How selfless do you have to be to know that your child is going to have a better life,” she said. “And so, as a mixed baby, it’s a kind of hard time and it was the late 60s.”

Now, the two are faced with the delicate and slow process of getting to know each other and enjoying the little moments together, like talking about their favorite dish, kimchi.

Kleinshans and her family are in California until Thursday, where they will be catching up on all of the time they missed out on. She said they plan to have her birth mother visit them in Colorado.

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