By Luke Kenton
This is the heartwarming and emotional moment a mum is reunited with her biological son, a staggering 44 years after giving him up for adoption.
In 1973, when a then 21-year-old Diana Laney, from Clarksville, Tennessee, USA, gave up her third child for adoption, the young mother presumed she would never see her baby boy again.
Deserted by her husband and already fighting to provide for her two older children, Diana, now 66, saw the only option for her son to lead the best life possible was to turn him over to the care of another family.
If not for the tenacious effort of her youngest daughter, Mimi Montgomery, who wasn’t aware her brother even existed until she was 23, perhaps the two may have never found each other.
But incredibly, after an tireless 17-year search, finally, in July this year, Mimi had a break through when she found her brother’s adoptive sister, Marya, on Facebook.
Discovering that her brother, Casey Wineland, was adopted by a family living nearly 500 miles away, in Ohio, her estranged brother agreed to finally meet his biological family for Thanksgiving.
Walking into the kitchen of his biological mother’s house, Diane and Casey lock into a long overdue embrace, with the pair visibly shaking with emotion, before meeting the rest of his siblings, Kelly and Doug.
Watching on as her 17-year-long dream unfolded before her eyes, an emotional Mimi said: “I was never given a reason for why my mum didn’t tell me about Casey; I found out from my ex-sister-in-law and held a grudge for a very long time.
“I was never really that close with my other siblings, so after I found out I had another brother, I just thought that he [Casey] was the one I was meant to be close with – so my goal became to find him.
“Before the internet became what it is today, I joined every adoption forum I could, posting his birthdate and seeing who I could find.
“Finally, I had a breakthrough a few months ago, when someone on Facebook assisted my search with the use of a database, from there I received his name.
“I cried, it was so surreal and exciting, yet scary all at the same time. I always feared that he may not want to know me.
“After finding Marya on Facebook, eventually I was put in touch with Casey and we texted for two days before speaking on the phone, where we agreed to meet on Thanksgiving.
“My mum was so nervous, I had to basically cook the entire meal because she couldn’t even hold anything.
“She keeps telling me how thankful she is for what I’ve done for her, she never imagined how wonderful it would all be.
“Casey even asked her [Diana] if he could call her mum – she was so excited she cried.”
Finding out that he was adopted aged 7, Casey tragically lost his surrogate mother to cancer at aged 18, sending his life on a dark, downward spiral.
Turning to drink and drugs to deal with his heart-wrenching loss, finally, in 2014, the bar manager, now living in Kansas, Missouri, got his life back on track and is now celebrating three years sober.
Believing his chance interaction with Mimi to be act of his adoptive mother, rewarding him for his sobriety from beyond the grave, Casey said: “If I would have met them four years, I would’ve been so ashamed.
“But in the three years since I managed to get clean and sober, I’ve married a beautiful woman and met my biological family – my heart is full.
“My sister Marya said to me she thinks mum waited for me to clean myself up before letting this happen.
“When Marya called me to tell me she was 99% sure she’d just spoken to my biological sister, suddenly an empty place in my heart began to fill – I was about to get all the answers I’d been waiting a lifetime to hear.
“I was so happy; all the nervousness just went away when I got to hug my mother.
“While hugging Mimi, I whispered in her ear, ‘Good job, because without her none of this would’ve happened.’
“Diana was worried I’d be mad at her for giving me up for adoption, but I was put into the most loving family I ever could’ve had.
“I’m very happy for the family I have and now I have even more.
“I hope to see my biological family as much as possible, my wife and I have invited them to come visit us in Kansas.”