It had been a hard life for Carmen Santiago. As a young woman, money troubles and a toxic relationship had taken its toll on her family. Yet, she always kept a smile and did her best.
This sunny day, however, found her in a strange new place. She looked around, unsure of why she was there. But she sensed that something was up.
Then someone said four words that would rock her world. Forever.
A Fractured Family
For 22-year-old Jeremy Hudson, there’s always been a vacant void in his heart. In a sad turn of events, family life with his mom and two sisters came undone. His sister Sophia was looked after by her father and Tara was adopted by family friends.
“She was trying to hold onto me for as long as she could but she knew that I could probably have a better family to grow up with and I wouldn’t have to deal with all the moving around,” he recalled to YourTango.
And Jeremy would indeed find a loving family to raise him. They were also very open about his biological family, including his mother Carmen Santiago’s story. As the years went by, he never stopped thinking about her. Nor did his motivation to find her wane.
“It was always a burden on my heart. I wish I could go see them,” he says. “I searched and searched and I just could not find them.”
That’s until when his adoptive mother made a discovery that changed everything.
What a Mother Found to Reunite a Family
It was a binder, and inside of it was his sister’s dad’s name. He pulled that string and it led him to find both sisters on Facebook.
Luckily, they all lived in Georgia. And so, they decided to meet up at a skatepark in Douglasville. However, there was one person missing to complete this family portrait.
With Tara recording, Santiago is walking through the park when she suddenly hears “Hey, Mom! Watch me!”
“Tara! Tara, is it?” She didn’t have to wait long, as her son skated over. Still unsure, she asks, “Who is that?” and Sophia says, “Jeremy,’ while Santiago glows with glee.
“Oh my God you’re beautiful!,” she burst out as the two shared a tight hug 18 years in the making.
It was all surreal for her son.
“It was like a dream,” Jeremy says of the long-awaited moment. “Even my mom kept saying, ‘This can’t be real!’”
How a Son Proves to Never Give Up on Family
“Even though she couldn’t take care of me, her making the decision to say, ‘You know what, he deserves a better lifestyle than what he’s growing up in.’ I just thank her for never giving in or giving up on her joy and never letting people take her peace away. I just love her,” Jeremy said.
I can’t fathom the soul-searing pain that Carmen Santiago must have felt having to part with her children. It does take a special kind of someone to keep the faith.
Speaking of faith, her son has that in spades. His faith in knowing his mother’s motivation to part with him was driven by love, and also the faith of one day finding her.
In the end, faith is sometimes all we have to keep us going through life. When it comes to family, we have to hang on to every bit. You just never know when — or where — it will pay off.