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Facebook post reunites Utah mother, daughter separated for 18 years

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Jan 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-22 23:42:11-05

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah -- Getting the entire family home for dinner hasn’t always been easy at the Corry household in Pleasant Grove, but it’s a meal that Andrea Corry has been looking forward to for 18 years.

“Every day,” Corry said. “Every single minute of every day.”

Eighteen years ago Wednesday, Jessica Johnson was born as Shelly Wheelwright to Corry, a 19 year old who was unprepared to be a mom. She decided to place her for adoption, always hoping she would one day see her again.

“I chose to give her to them, so that she could have the best life ever,” Corry said. “And that's all I wanted to know is that she was OK and that she had gotten the life that I asked for her to have."

For years, she asked herself those questions. However, because of the rules surrounding the adoption, which took place in Montana, Corry wasn’t allowed to contact Johnson until Johnson turned 18.

On Tuesday night, the eve of Johnson’s 18th birthday, Corry and her husband decided to try to find the answers with a post on Facebook.

Little did they know, a response would come from a home just an hour away in Clinton.

“About two minutes after I had made the post with a couple of photos I got a message from one of my Facebook friends saying, ‘That's my sister,’" said Corry’s husband Drew.

Turns out, Corry was not the only one searching.

Johnson had been looking for her biological mother for years.  She and her older sister had even managed to find Drew Corry on Facebook. They sent him a friend request, but he never contacted them.

“I was nervous and scared,” Johnson said. “I was just scared that I wouldn't be what they expected me to be.”

When Corry posted about their search online, Johnson’s older sister knew it was time to reach out to them.

“I've always wondered if I look like her, if I act like her,” Johnson said. “I love my family to death that I do have, but it was still a part of me there that really wanted to meet her and have a relationship with her."

Hours after connecting online, Johnson agreed to meet with her biological mother in person, a surprise moment coordinated by Corry’s husband.

"She knocked on my door with balloons and flowers and a million things immediately rush through my head,” Corry said of the moment.

The reunion, captured on video, was filled with tears from both Corry and Johnson.

“It was amazing,” Johnson said. “Just knowing that that was my Mom.”

Johnson stayed for dinner, and even had a chance to meet Corry’s four other daughters.

“She looks like my daughters,” Corry said. “She looks like my kids. Little things that she likes to do, little mannerisms that she has: I can tell that she's from me."

The meeting will be the first of many for the two, who for the first time in 18 years, sat down for dinner as a family.

“It's just like having more family,” Johnson said. “You love more people, more people love you.”