On Sept. 15, 1986, a newborn baby barely hours old was found in the bathroom of a Burger King in Allentown, Pennsylvania. On Monday, she was reunited with her birth mother, thanks to a search aided by thousands of people on Internet.
A customer heard the baby girl crying, and found her on the restroom floor. An employee and the customer watched over her until authorities arrived to get the baby, who grew up to be Katheryn Deprill.
Today, Deprill is grateful for what her mother tried to do and doesn't judge her actions.
"I'm so thankful that [my mother] took care of me," she told CBS. "There was no drugs in my system. I was left in a warm dry place," she said.
She was adopted and grew up sometimes wondering about her mother, but never made any efforts to find her.
"When I was 12-years-old, I was very upset. How could, you know, what did I do that was so horrible that no one wanted me? But now, it's normal," Katheryn said.
But then Deprill had children of her own, and things changed. She said she wanted to find her mother, in part to answer questions about her own medical history that could be beneficial to her kids.
That's when she took to Facebook, posting a photo of herself along with a message which read "Looking for my birth mother. ... She abandoned me in the Burger King bathroom only hours old, Allentown PA. Please help me find her by sharing my post."
The post was shared hundreds of times and the media quickly picked up on the story.
Then, she got the call she'd been waiting for. Deprill met her mother (whose identity she has chosen to keep private) at an attorney's office on Monday. "It looked like I was looking in a mirror," she told the Associated Press.
"I got the hug that I had wanted for the last 27 years, and that broke the ice," she said. "I asked if I could have it, and she said, 'absolutely,' and just held her arms open, and the rest is history."
The pair met for about four hours and exchanged contact information. Deprill said they plan to meet again. "We are definitely going to have a relationship," she said.
Deprill said her mother expressed regret during their tear-filled meeting. She said she forgave her "110 percent, absolutely."
Her birth mother's story is also quite heartbreaking:
[T]he woman said that, as a 16-year-old, she was raped while traveling abroad and became pregnant. The woman said she hid the pregnancy from her parents and, after giving birth in her bedroom, felt she could not take her newborn to the hospital because she would be required to answer questions.
So the Internet manages to do nice things besides giving us cat videos and weird gifs of British actors! Maybe there is hope for us after all.
Deprill's compassion and forgiveness for her mother can teach us so much in an era where the bitter judgements of strangers are only a Facebook comment click away. While some people who knew absolutely nothing of the real story or her mother's situation chose to bombard her posts with angry comments decrying her mom (we're not surprised by that, of course), Deprill herself—the person who has the most right out of anyone to be angry—never showed any sign of resentment or anger towards her.
I have to go wipe all this water from my eyes right now—I think I got some sand in there or something.
Image via Facebook.