Get ready to cry: TLC has a new show called Long Lost Family chronicling the stories of adults who were adopted as children finding their birth parents. The wildest story comes from a woman who found her birth mother—only to realize she already knew her.
Rochester, New York resident Jenny Thomas spent 15 years trying to find her birth mother, according to the New York Post, but when she joined the cast of Long Lost Family, she didn’t expect—I mean, who could have—that she’d been working beside her birth mother Nita Valdez for years.
“I was just in shock,” Thomas tells The Post of first seeing her mother’s photograph. “I had looked in so many faces for so many years, [thinking] ‘Could that be her? Is she looking at me because she knows me?’ All the while I had looked at the woman who once knew me as her daughter. I didn’t expect that, not in a million years.”
Both women worked at a Rochester hospital: Thomas as a patient care technician and Valdez as a patient transporter. They relocated patients to different areas of the facility and the two got to know each other but neither thought anything more about it.
“She’s very quiet, funny. I’m comical, so she would always laugh at my jokes, so that was a plus,” Thomas says. “We never went past a working-professional relationship at all.”
Valdez told Thomas that she became pregnant at 17, and her father, a minister, didn’t approve, so she gave her up for adoption. Now Thomas, who is married with five children, hopes that Valdez can find a place for the newfound family in her life.
“I wanted to know if she was OK, is she good, is she happy in life?” Thomas says. “I hoped that she could build a relationship with my children … especially with my [20-year-old] daughter, who is at this age where she really could benefit from a great relationship with a grandmother figure, a family member that shares our DNA.”
Long Lost Family debuts on Sunday.
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