Society

Adopted Woman Had No Idea Birth Mom Was Her Coworker

| by Karin Sun
Nita ValdezNita Valdez

An adopted woman in Rochester, New York, spent 15 years searching for her birth mother only to realize that they had already crossed paths.

Jenny Thomas, 40, had known she was adopted since she was 4 years old, but the only piece of information she had about her birth mother was that the woman was from Rochester, where Jenny still currently lives, the New York Post reported.

After 15 years spent unsuccessfully searching for her birth mother on the Internet, Thomas signed up to appear on "Long Lost Family," a new TLC reality show that reunites people with their long-lost biological relatives.

After participating in the show, Thomas learned that she had already met her birth mother 10 years ago when the two worked together at a hospital in Rochester.

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Nita Valdez, Thomas's biological mother, had worked alongside her daughter for two years at the hospital where she was a patient transporter and Thomas was a part-time patient care technician.

The two interacted regularly while moving patients from their rooms to rehabilitative therapy. 

"She's very quiet, funny," Thomas said of Valdez, according to the New York Post. "I'm comical, so she would always laugh at my jokes, so that was a plus. We never went past a working-professional relationship at all."

Thomas also learned the details behind her mother's decision to give her up for adoption.

Valdez had gotten pregnant when she was 17 years old, and her minister father was not supportive of the pregnancy.

"I wanted to know if she was okay, is she good, is she happy in life?" Thomas, who now has four children and a stepchild of her own, said of her birth mother.   

“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," Thomas added.

Thomas and Valdez's tale will be one of 16 stories featured on "Long Lost Family," which premieres on March 6. The events following their reunion will be revealed in the March 13 episode of the show.

This is not the first time someone has been reunited with a long-lost relative while working in a hospital setting.

In August 2015, a Korean woman discovered that her coworker on the fourth floor of Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, was the half-sister she had been separated from 40 years ago, the Sarasota Herald-Tibrune reported in October of that year.

A DNA test confirmed the genetic relationship between the two women. 

Sources: New York PostSarasota Herald-Tribune / Photo Credit: Matt Wittmeyer, Discovery via New York Post

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