CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - After decades of searching, a Georgetown woman has finally met her birth mother.
Stephanie Young says she's been looking for her birth mother for 20 years, and intensified her search five years ago.
"I thought time was running out," she said. "If I was ever going to find my birth mother alive, then I needed to make a real effort."
Her birthplace, birth name and birth date were the only pieces of her past Stephanie knew because of closed adoption records. Using DNA testing services, Young would spend hours during her lunch break and after work trying to locate possible relatives. She eventually enlisted the help of a Facebook group called DNA Detectives who paired Stephanie with a volunteer "search angel" who specializes in genetics.
"She said my case was the toughest case that she's had so far," Stephanie said.
The volunteer eventually tracked down Stephanie's birth father who connected her with her birth mother Evey Ketsdever of Oregon.
The pair first reached out to each other by e-mail and phone, sharing pictures and stories.
"It was just so amazing hearing her voice," Stephanie said. "It was so special."
Their chats soon included plans for a visit to Georgetown.
One October afternoon, Stephanie and her husband awaited Evey's arrival at Charleston International Airport.
Evey said she also attempted to find her daughter but did not know if she was aware that she had been adopted as a baby. Still, she said she prayed for her daily.
"I cut out a couple pictures from a magazine one time, and I thought, 'I think that could be my daughter,'" Evey said, adding that she kept the same phone number and home address for many years with the hope she would be located by her daughter.
"I felt if she was alive and if she knew she was adopted, she would come knocking at my door," she said.
The two spent the following eight days together learning more about one another.
"I always wondered and I always hoped and always dreamed and I've always prayed," Stephanie said."Never give up hope."