VANCOUVER, Wash. (WAND) – A Thanksgiving celebration nearly 60 years in the making happened over the weekend in Wichita Kansas.
On Saturday John Hart flew back home to Wichita from Vancouver, Washington.
"I hadn't had that kind of Thanksgiving in I don't know how many years. It was the best Thanksgiving that I've had in forever," Hart said.
Hart knew his whole life he was adopted and love dearly by his adopted parents, but when both his parents passed away in the same year, he had a yearning to meet his biological family, he told KING-TV.
He started his search in 1987.
Hart paid for a company to find his mother and spent thousands without any real leads.
"It's just one wall after the other," Hart said.
Eventually Hart decided to try ancestry.com. He thought he lucked out when he found a match for close relative, but it was yet another dead end.
"It just seemed that every time I tried to do something there was always a stop," he said.
Little did Hart know, his biological mother, Rosie Ashmore, was looking for him all along.
Rosie was teen in 1963 when she became pregnant at 17 years old. At the time she was living with her mother in Los Angeles.
"At that time, if a girl got pregnant, it was her fault — no matter what the circumstances were," Ashmore said. "So, she said we can't have this, we have to hide this."
Ashmore's mother took her away to have the baby in secret.
"When I gave him up I thought, 'How do you explain to a child, who doesn't understand language at this point, that it's out of your hands?'" Ashmore said. "It's out of your control and so, I gave him up."
Her life moved on and she got married and had two children. But her son she gave up was never far from her mind.
"I wanted to find him, I needed to find him to tell him that I know in my heart I always did love him and that it was out of my control that I could not find him," she said.
Eventually Ashmore turned to ancestry.com to find him. And as luck would have it, she found her son. She tried to contact him, but Hart never got the message.
But as faith would have it the close relative Hart found earlier on ancestry.com helped the pair make the connection.
Ashmore’s children realized what their mother was looking for and began searching on social media. At the same time Hart’s two daughters were doing the same thing in Kansas City. Within days the mystery was solved.
"To have all this come through my children was – it was very overwhelming," John said.
Hart flew into PDX just ahead of Thanksgiving for a very emotional reunion with the mother he hadn't seen since birth.
"It's like the puzzle. There's all these pieces of puzzle out there that have finally started to be put together," Ashmore said. "And him coming through the airport and me seeing him, it's like the last piece of the puzzle in place. It was just meant to be."
"The way that they welcomed me and have accepted me and loved me -- it's more than any one man deserves. A second chance at love and life," Hart said.
Hart not only found his mother, but his brother and sister as well. They say they plan to talk just about every day and are already looking ahead to the next visit.