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Colorado woman adopted as a baby reunited with her mother after over 50 years

Adoptee reunites her birth mom after more than 50 years 03:00

Armed with just a locket photograph and a burning desire to know her real family, a Colorado woman has spent her entire life searching for her Korean birth mother who put her up for adoption as a baby.

On Monday, the two were finally reunited after over 50 years. 

Sarah Kleinhans' search for her mother was given the necessary push in the right direction after she used 23andMe, an online DNA testing website that reveals family genealogy, which connected her with her half-sister, Lynda.

She was the final piece to the puzzle that finally connected Kleinhans and her mother.

Hoping to give her daughter a better life than she could provide in South Korea, Pok Cha put her daughter up for adoption in the 1960s, when she was just 14-months-old.

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Kleinhans (left) and the locket photo of her mother (right). Sarah Kleinhans

She was adopted by a family living in New Hampshire, along with her half-brother. They were both given a locket with their mother's picture and their own baby picture inside. 

"Every year on my birthday, I think of you," Kleinhans said. "I look out and I go, 'Are you alive? Are you thinking about me?'"

With CBS reporters on hand, Kleinhans could be seen anxiously awaiting her mother's arrival at her friend's house in Monrovia, where the much anticipated reunion was planned. 

"I wonder what she's feeling right now," she said, watching the vehicle arrive. 

Cha now lives in Koreatown, and after learning that her mother was just a short trip away, Kleinhans jumped on a flight with her two children so they could meet the woman they'll now call "Oma."

They spoke for the first time via telephone two weeks ago, planning the reunion.

When Cha walked through the door, Kleinhans rushed forwards for the long-awaited and emotional embrace - their first in 53 years.

"I'm so happy. I'm so grateful to you," she said through tears. "You're more beautiful in person."

Kleinhans, still curious to know more about her ancestry, showed Cha a photo she found of the man she believed to be her father, an American sergeant stationed in Seoul in the 1960s. 

"Yeah," Cha confirmed. "Your father."

Now a mother of two, Kleinhans said she couldn't imagine how difficult it was for Cha to part with her children, but she's grateful for what her mother was willing to do for her family.

"How selfless do you have to be to know that your child is going to have a better life?" she asked.

She'll be in town with her children until Thursday, where they plan on doing a lot of reconnecting, finally getting to know each other and bonding over their newfound shared love of kimchi. 

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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