Rachel Ruiz has every reason to rejoice as she achieved the extraordinary feat of finding her birth mother after a close adoption that spanned 34 years. The journey was filled with challenges, but after a decade of persistent searching, Ruiz finally experienced the emotional reunion she yearned for.
“I finally reunited with my birth mom after 34 years,” Ruiz said in a touching TikTok video that was posted in March. After my adoption was closed, I’ve been looking for her for more than ten years, making several unsuccessful attempts. The touching scene of Ruiz trembling to see her birth mother, Angie Howard, at the home door is captured on camera. The long-awaited reunion is sealed with a kiss on the forehead and a close embrace.
Ruiz, a freelance photographer based in Lehi, Utah, shared that she was placed for adoption at the age of two weeks when her biological mother, Angie Howard, was only 17. Raised by her adoptive parents, Brent and Marianne Haslam, Ruiz always knew about her adoption but couldn’t shake the desire to find her birth parents.
Finding birth parents in closed adoption cases is a formidable challenge due to the maintained privacy of both sets of parents. In Ruiz’s instance, the adoption documents concealed the identity of her biological father as well.
Undeterred, Ruiz embarked on her quest with minimal information, armed only with her mother’s physical description, education level, and a list of hobbies. At 18, she received a knit blanket and a heartfelt letter from Howard expressing hope for a future reunion. This became the catalyst for Ruiz’s determination to find her birth parents.
Despite facing difficulties and limited information from the adoption agency, Ruiz turned to genealogy company Ancestry in 2014. A DNA test revealed her English and Welsh heritage and potential family matches bearing the last name Deveraux. An obituary for Ruiz’s grandfather, Richard Deveraux, led her to Angie’s Facebook profile, where she sent a hopeful message.
The response came on Christmas Day, and Ruiz eagerly shared the news with her adoptive parents. Angie longed for this day for 34 years, confirming the familial connection.
Following an extended period of anticipation, the mother and daughter finally met on January 26, 2023. The emotional encounter showcased the striking physical similarities and shared characteristics between them. Angie, accompanied by her husband Teddy, also expressed gratitude towards Ruiz’s adoptive parents.
The reunion unfolded further as Ruiz discovered her mother’s family, including a half-sister living in Arizona and a deceased half-brother named DJ. The emotional rollercoaster reached its peak when Ruiz met her biological grandmother just three days before her passing.
The TikTok video documenting the reunion resonated widely, accumulating 4.6 million views and garnering immense support from viewers. Ruiz, now happily married with children, shared that she and her husband are expecting a baby girl via surrogate in June, completing their blended family.
@rachelhruiz I finally reunited with my birth mom after 34 years! My adoption was closed and I’ve been trying to find her for over 10 years with failed attempt after failed attempt. Thank you @ancestry for being a huge reason why this was able to happen. #adoption #birthmomreunion #adoptionreunion #birthmom #adoptionsucess #closedadoption #ancestrydna #love ♬ Unstoppable (I put my armor on, show you how strong I am) – Sia
This heartwarming story of reunion and resilience has captivated the online community, echoing sentiments of love, gratitude, and the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream.”