Mother and son reunite after 54 years

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 12:10 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 7:23 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - More than half a century and a closed adoption couldn’t keep a mother and son apart. They both recently used a genetic testing service to find each other and WCAX News was lucky enough to be at their reunion on Monday afternoon in Montpelier.

“I knew I was doing the right thing when I did it and this just kind of confirms it more,” Mary Eileen Mooney said.

The Calais woman held her son only for the second time in his life on Monday.

It was 1967 and she was 18 when she gave birth to her son on Long Island. The young Catholic knew she had given him up for adoption and did so when the baby was just a few days old.

“I had to hand him over to the lawyer’s wife and get out of the car as if nothing had happened,” Mooney said. “So this is just a pickup continuation of all those years.”

She moved to Calais 11 years ago and for several years now, the two have been on a similar course, looking online for each other. However, it wasn’t until she did a 23andme DNA test that she matched with Bill White in March.

“I love you so much and I am so grateful that you gave me this amazing life that I’ve had,” White told Mooney on Monday.

He has spent his career in many leading roles in New York City, helping to honor veterans and their history. He was adopted by parents who desperately wanted a child and loved him dearly.

“Apparently he had very good people that adopted him and he was raised in a very nice way and I couldn’t have asked for more with that,” Mooney said.

“They would have loved her and I’m just sad they passed away before this happened, but I’m kind of glad that I can give her my full attention now as a dutiful son and express my gratitude toward her every day,” White said.

Bill and his husband, Bryan, made the trip to Vermont from Georgia to make the reunion a reality.

“I have so much gratitude for this amazing woman who lives here in Vermont. Just to be able to hug her there was unbelievable, one of the greatest days of my life,” White said.

Mooney never had any more children after Bill, making finding him even more important for the both of them.

“I’ve been curious my whole life to meet you and you were looking for me your whole life,” White said. “Isn’t that crazy?”

“It’s wonderful,” Mooney said.

To make the entire day even more special, it was Mooney’s birthday, the first one she was able to spend with her child. White even brought her an early Mother’s Day card, the first one she’s ever received.

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