SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Valerie Leatherwood, 73, had been waiting 52 years to see someone special.
“I ended up with this phone call a couple months ago from a daughter that I thought I’d go to my grave not telling anybody about,” Leatherwood told KTXL.
Five decades ago, 20-year-old Valerie was working at a nursing home in Minnesota when she unexpectedly got pregnant.
She says her supervisor, a nun, sent her to nanny away from home to hide the pregnancy.
Five weeks after her baby was born, Valerie gave her up. She didn't even tell her family.
“That was a 52-year-old secret I kept,” Leatherwood said with a laugh.
A few months after Valerie’s niece and brother submitted DNA samples to Ancestry.com, Valerie's daughter, now an adult, found them.
“My niece wanted to know of anyone in our family who'd given up a baby for adoption 52 years ago. I said I don't have a clue who that would be,” said Leatherwood’s sister, Diana Mindt. “She says, ‘Diane I gave a little girl up 52 years ago.’ I mean you could've knocked me over with a feather.”
The family made contact with Valerie’s long-lost daughter, Mia Keske Anderson.
“I have all these weird feelings going on right now. I was scared, nervous, excited so,” said Anderson.
Anderson grew up in the Midwest, always wondering about her biological mother.
“I wanted to find her. And it worked,” Anderson said. “I just wanna get to know both of them. Find out everything I can about them,” she said, refereeing to her biological aunt and mother.
The mother and daughter say they've already found they have a lot in common.
“It's nice to see where I get my cheeks from,” Anderson said.