What Happened After Theresa and Heidi’s Reunion on Long Lost Family

posted: 02/28/17
by: Korenne Smith
Long Lost Family
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Heidi and Theresa with their families

Grab the tissues! We've got another heartwarming update from the families featured on Long Lost Family: What Happened Next. Learn more about how Theresa and Heidi's mother-daughter relationship progressed after their reunion.

How did you feel when you first started this process?

Heidi: Nervous! There were so many unknowns, and I had a script I had been playing in my head for as long as I could remember about the reasons I was placed for adoption, and the possibilities of what reunion would look like.

Theresa: I was emotionally in shock that this might happen.

What was that moment like when you reunited with your long lost loved one?

Heidi: I was so excited to meet Theresa face-to-face. When I first saw her I just 'knew' that she was who I had been looking for all this time. Every doubt I had had just fell away and I was overwhelmed with peace and wholeness.

Theresa: Beyond joyful!!!

How did you make an effort to build your new connection with your loved one?

Heidi: Because we don't live close to one another, we have used all sorts of electronic ways to keep in touch. Sometimes we video chat, text, or talk on the phone. During the early days of my searching, I had the opportunity to ask other birth mothers what they would want to know about the child they placed for adoption and they all responded with a resounding "everything!" - so I have tried to share everything, and I am grateful that it has been so well-received.

Theresa: I was open and honest in our communication. I gave her all the contact information so she could choose when and how she would contact me.

What are some surprising similarities between yourself and your loved one?

Heidi: Our personalities are so similar! Growing up I had wonderful, loving parents but my personality is just not similar to theirs. I have so enjoyed discovering little quirks that Theresa and I share. I think the first main similarity I noticed was that I have her eyes, which is something I had often wondered.

Theresa: We both have families with lil toes! We both are naturally happy people. Our love of music.

What did you expect from this experience? What didn't you expect?

Heidi: I was hopeful that Long Lost Family could find my birth mother, and that she would be alive, and that she would be OK with contact. I was afraid of her not wanting anything to do with me, that I would somehow jeopardize the life she had built for herself. I didn't expect to be welcomed with open arms by all of my biological family.

Theresa: Nothing except meeting my daughter. How much my thoughts and feelings would change so quickly! How my heart felt whole again! The darkness of shame lifted.

If you are adopted, what advice would you share with other adoptees searching for answers about their birth family?

Heidi: Understand and try to prepare for all of the realities of what reunion might bring. Also, don't forget that you are walking into the middle of a family's life story - there is history and family culture that you haven't been a part of and it may take some time to adjust into that. Be very mindful of your adoptive parents (and family) and their feelings through your search and reunion, this can be very difficult for them! Most importantly, that reunion is a lifelong process, it's always evolving and hopefully in a good way.

What advice would you share with people searching for their lost loved ones?

Heidi: Remain hopeful! There is a good chance that the story you've been telling yourself isn't actually true. You never know the circumstances around that person's disappearance and the pain they have endured as well.

How did Long Lost Family change your life?

Heidi: Since working with Long Lost Family, I have felt complete as a person. I did not expect that reunion with my birth mother would result in a closer relationship with my adoptive family, but it has. Seeing what my life could have been, and what it actually was brought a richness to my life that is difficult to put into words. Reunion can be tricky to navigate, both with biological family and adoptive family, but I truly believe it is worth it. I am grateful every day that I have access to my birth mother and that I get to hear her say, "when I was pregnant with you..." it's something I never heard before!

Theresa: I have been transformed into a whole person with real joy because of the reunion with my daughter. The entire process is an exciting, scary, joyful journey you share with people who are kind, loving and patient with you while you travel back in time to places in your mind you haven't thought of in years. I cherish and love all those involved in the process who helped us.

Watch this family's story on Long Lost Family: What Happened Next. You can watch the full episode here on TLC GO.