LUTZ, Fla. — While many of us have tried to distance ourselves from others during the pandemic, a mother and daughter, separated by adoption, have reunited for the first time in 26 years. It’s something both of them always wanted, but the timing didn’t fall into place until now.
They called it the hug felt around the world, when they first met in Michigan in July. The last time Beth Cole saw her daughter Rebecca Hook was in the hospital when she gave birth to her, back on Oct. 3, 1993.
“Honestly I didn’t know it would ever happen. When it did happen it was so much more awesome than I could have ever expected,” said Hook.
“My friends were like, ‘you could see the emotion,' and it is just a sweet memory for me,” said Cole.
Cole, who now lives in Lutz, was a 19-year-old college student when she made the choice to place her daughter into adoption. Every year she asked Rebecca’s adoptive parents to send a photo. She shared those photos with Hook this past week when she came to visit.
Hook grew up not knowing anything about her biological mother and uncertain whether she should try to even find her.
“What if its just something that I’ve been brushed under the rug, that she doesn’t want to talk about and doesn’t want to think about,” said Hook.
As for Cole, she dreamt of the day there would be a reunion, but wasn’t sure if it would ever be the right timing.
“I never wanted to disrupt her life,” said Cole.
Then Hook, who now lives in Michigan, gave birth to her own daughter and felt 2020 was the year to go searching. It was a search that has ended in pure joy.
“It was just incredible how normal and how natural it felt, like it felt like we just knew each other our entire lives,” said Hook.
As a bonus, Hook learned she has three more siblings, and those siblings not only have another sister but a two-year-old niece.
“Its just more people to love and more family and more fun to be had,” said Hook.
Cole has been so moved by the entire experience she even started her own organization, HopeReunited.com, helping other parents and children reconnect.
“Call it the pandemic positive, how do I channel this into something bigger, better, greater to help more people,” said Cole.