Mother, daughter reunion 45 years in the making - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mother, daughter reunion 45 years in the making

SCOTT CITY, MO (KFVS) -

This is a story about a daughter's mission to find her mother.

As it turns out, the woman who gave her up at birth nearly 50 years ago was never very far away.

The timing is ironic. Almost to the very day she gave her up, Jane Duncan met her daughter again. It was a reunion 45 years in the making.

Jane Duncan had no plans for the holidays.

"I don't have any Christmas decorations, my daughter Kara isn't coming home for the holidays and I have no grand kids,” said Duncan.

That was until the phone rang last week.

"I said, ‘Are you Jane Louise Gibbs?’ And she said, 'Yes.' I said, ‘Did you have a baby in 1970 that you named Michelle Lee?’ And she said, ‘Yes, I did.’ And I said, ‘I am your daughter.’"

After 45 years and nearly two decades of searching, Angela Riley had found her birth mother. 

Angela was born Michelle Gibbs on January 15, 1970 to a then single Jane Gibbs.

"Through a glass, I couldn't hold her or touch her or anything,” remembers Duncan.

With her baby just days old, Jane made the heart-wrenching decision to give her daughter up.

"I had a very good life, but I've never not known that I wasn't adopted,” said Riley.

"And that's what I wanted. I wanted her to have a good life,” said Duncan.

Angela grew up just down the highway in Charleston, unaware that Jane was so close in Scott City. 

"I started looking for her about 1995, but I kept hitting a dead end,” said Riley.

It was only when Angela got her hands on her birth certificate with her mother's name on it that she solved the mystery and made that phone call.

"I said, 'Oh my god, I'm a grandma. Oh my god, I am a great-grandma,'” said Duncan.

Which turned an otherwise quiet holiday season into the best one yet.

"My heart is healed,” said Riley.

Jane Duncan also learned that she has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren with one on the way.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly