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‘I Can’t Believe I Actually Found You!’: Birth Mom Reunites with Son after 33 Years of Separation



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After giving her newborn son up for adoption, a young mother silently celebrated all his birthdays and never forgot about him. Then, one day, she stumbled upon something that completely altered her life.

Some of our life’s most complex decisions haunt us long after we’ve made them. They might take an emotional toll on us, holding us back from living life to the fullest. Something similar happened to Shelley Pitts of Texas when she became pregnant at 14.

Initially, she felt a wave of denial because she thought she was too young to have a child. Also, she knew nothing about being pregnant and couldn’t fathom the unusual symptoms she felt. So, she decided to go on with her life as if nothing had happened.


Three months into her pregnancy, Pitts told everything to her boyfriend, Sidney, who tried to comfort her. They began discussing whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, who the baby would resemble, and what they would name the baby.

Sidney shared he wished to call the baby ‘Sidney Jamal or Jamal Donnell’ if he was a boy. Pitts expressed she would like to call her son ‘Elijah.’ Even while behaving as immature teen future parents, Sidney and Pitts were scared about their parents’ reactions.

They decided not to say anything to their families. Over time, her baby bump started showing, even though she wore bagging clothing to conceal her body. The kids at school became suspicious, partly because Sidney and Pitts had shared the news with their close friends.


Soon afterward, everyone at school learned Pitts and Sidney’s story, including the teachers. The couple became a subject of gossip and judgment. It was the late 80s, and they were the only interracial couple in Texas to publicly declare their relationship.

When pitts told her daughters they had an older brother, they were thrilled and expressed their desire to meet him.
Pitts and Sidney didn’t mind the stares because they were in love and ready to overcome the obstacles. Sidney was a star player and a handsome man with a charismatic personality. His friends and teachers admired the confidence he exuberated.

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He was also eyed by girls at school, who labeled him “the black football player with a white girlfriend.” Pitts was an introverted, chubby girl and preferred staying quiet. Fortunately, the teen couple got along well, and Sidney valued Pitts as his girlfriend and best friend.

Eventually, Pitts and Sidney plucked the courage to tell their parents about the pregnancy. Their families were deeply hurt but insisted the couple put their baby up for adoption. They found an adoption agency that agreed to take their case as a biracial couple.

Pitts was given a place to stay during her pregnancy, where she received the necessary medical care. Sadly, she remained alone and only talked to her family and Sidney through letters and cards. Pitts also discovered she was pregnant with a boy.


Pitts had a surreal experience and went through labor alone. Her mother couldn’t get there in time, and Sidney’s parents didn’t let him be with her. Finally, on March 29, 1988, at 12:54 p.m., Pitts welcomed her son.

As she held her healthy-weighing baby boy, she felt intense motherly instincts. She also noticed he had her eyes and his father’s lips. “He was perfect, but he wasn’t meant to be mine,” thought Pitts as she watched her son leave with the caseworker.

Pitts fought back the tears as she left the hospital. She reassured herself her son would have a better life. Time went by, but the teen mom never forgot the baby boy she gave up. Every year on March 29, Pitts silently celebrated her son’s birthday.


“I saw him having my eyes and his father’s smile. I wondered if he was happy,” wondered Pitts. She married in her 20s and had three girls. Sadly, she divorced her husband but was happy to live as a single mom of three beautiful daughters. 

Pitts had a special place reserved for her son in her heart but never told anyone about the adoption. She also had several questions with hardly any answers. Her son’s adoption was closed, so she didn’t know much about his adoptive family. 

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However, she knew his adoptive parents were Caucasian and that it took some time for his son to be adopted. Pitts also knew that her son was called Eric during the four months in foster care. 


When she celebrated her son’s thirtieth birthday, Pitts started looking into the adoption reunion websites and Facebook pages. She hoped that her boy felt the same longing to find her. She made a profile on a site that matched people with their possible matches.

On March 17, 2021, she stumbled upon something unexpected. She had an 81% match with a man born on March 29, 1988, in Dallas, Texas. He was adopted at four months old, had brown eyes, brown hair, and unknown ethnicity.

To confirm her doubts, she sent a message to the man. After some more searching, Pitts came across an address in Virginia and decided to dig further. Then, at 11 p.m. on her son’s 33rd birthday, she looked up the profile’s name, Daniel Smith, on Facebook.


The profile picture showed a tall, slender, light-complexioned young black man with three children. Pitts scrolled down the profile and saw another photo of the same guy in a coat standing in the snow.

After noticing how much Smith resembled her and Sidney, she immediately made the connection. Then, she sent him a message that read:

“Happy birthday. I’m your birth mom. I don’t know how else to say that without just blurting it out. I pray you respond. I can’t believe I actually found you (sic).”


When Pitts didn’t hear from Smith, she sent a message and friend request to his girlfriend on Facebook. Finally, on March 31, 2021, Smith responded and said he would love to talk to her. Pitts had an emotional meltdown as she connected with her long-lost son.

She told him about his father, Sidney, who was killed in 1992. The mother and son duo continued to talk over the phone and exchange messages. Pitts was overwhelmed but scared that Smith might hate her for abandoning him.

“This is like a dream almost. Just know I love you. I have never once been upset with you,” responded Smith, comforting his birth mom. Pitts developed an instant connection with her son, and they discovered their shared love for the moon and trees.

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When Pitts told her daughters they had an older brother, they were thrilled and expressed their desire to meet him. On April 29, 2021, Smith came to Texas to meet his biological family. He shared a long emotional hug with Pitts, and neither wanted to let go.

My whole being is complete in ways I never knew it could be. My heart is so ridiculously full. My son is home,” wrote Pitts in her Facebook post about the heartwarming reunion. The following days were filled with family time, food, and endless chatter.

Pitts showed Smith his father’s letter and told him how much Sidney loved him. Finally came the day when Smith had to go back to Virginia. It was painful for Pitts to wave goodbye to her beloved son, but she knew she would see him again.


While Pitts had missed out on many first moments in her son’s life, she was eager to make new memories and catch up. She shared a Facebook post with Smith and her three grandchildren in August 2021. The caption read:

“Living in regret does nothing but allow negativity to try to wiggle it’s way in so I can’t live there. There’s nothing but love, hope, and a true appreciation for God’s mercy in this space (sic).”

We’re ecstatic that Pitts and Smith finally found each other, and we hope they continue to cherish their time together. Please share this story with your loved ones if it touched your heart.

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