Niagara Gazette

November 29, 2013

After 40-year search, 57-year-old man reunites with biological mother on Thanksgiving

By Jessica Bagley
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A mother and a son that were separated at birth were reunited Thursday morning after more than 57 years of separation — marking the first holiday the pair has ever spent together.

Jeffrey Moore, 57, of Meadville, Pa., had been searching for his biological mother, Judith Abercrombie, for more than 40 years when he finally found her through a Facebook group last month. Although the pair had spoken on the phone before Thursday, he met her for the first time on Thanksgiving morning.

“Today couldn’t have been more perfect. I wanted this for so long,” Moore, a reverend from Meadville, Pa., said. “Just seeing her and holding her, there was so much anticipation.”

When Moore found out he had been adopted at the age off 11, he became curious about the identities of his biological parents. He started searching, but didn’t have much information. Moore even hired a detective agency in the 1980s, but it, too, was unsuccessful.

“My (adoptive) mother didn’t want me to know the details about my biological parents. She was very protective of me, and she was afraid someone was going to recognize me and that she would lose me,” he said.

When his adoptive mother died in 1994, his father gave Moore his original birth documents, which provided him with a few more clues.

“I kept on doing research, and I thought I located her, but I was pursuing the wrong name,” Moore said. “At some point, I had to start concentrating on my career and my family, and I put it on hold.”

But then one day in October, Moore began perusing a Facebook group that soon led him to his father’s family, eight half siblings and, finally, his mother. Moore was too nervous to contact Abercrombie, so his son called instead.

“It was so emotional. We both were crying,” Abercrombie, who now lives in Syracuse, said at her daughter’s North Tonawanda home where the two met Thursday.

When they spoke, Abercrombie told Moore the story of his birth. She had him when she was 15 in Moore, Pa, and although Abercrombie wanted to keep the baby, her father wouldn’t let her.

She was never able to see or hold her son.

“She didn’t even know I was a boy,” Moore said.

After Moore was born, Abercrombie’s father moved the family back to Kenmore, where she graduated from high school.

“It was very tough. A lot of years I cried,” she said. “I never thought I’d see him.”

Although Moore’s biological father has passed away, he has also discovered eight of his half siblings, including Michelle DelGrosso-Bacon, who hosted her family on Thanksgiving.

“It’s been wonderful, and a bit weird, because I always thought of myself as the oldest,” she joked. “She used to cry all the time ... but now, it’s exciting, and she’s been a nervous wreck.”

After 57 years of heartache and searching, the family was overjoyed to be able to spend Thanksgiving together.

“I wondered for so long if anyone was searching for me, if anyone cared about me. To know that you’ve always loved me is all I ever wanted,” Moore said to his mother Thursday.

Moore said he now hopes to get the message out to other people searching for long lost relatives.

“I want to give other people hope,” he said. “If I can find my mom after 57 years, it can be done. It was time we found each other.”