MOLINE, Ill. (WQAD) – When Amanda Rottman woke up on Tuesday, she had no idea she would see her mom for the first time in 25 years.
Amanda’s mom, Cheri Jo James, drove nearly 900 miles from Burlington, North Carolina to Molina, Ill. to surprise her daughter.
“I just wanted to surprise her,” Cheri said, smiling while looking her daughter in her eyes. Amanda was shocked.
The two shared laughs, hugs and tears. They discussed the day Amanda’s dad picked her up from her mom’s home in Chattanooga, Tennessee and moved her to Illinois. That was the last time they saw each other.
“He came and got her and left with her,” Cheri said, her eyes filled with tears. “After she left that day, I just never thought I would ever see her again.”
Cheri says Amanda’s dad received custody of her when Amanda was 10 years old.
“I had no way I could fight for her. I had no money,” Cheri said.
Despite the painful past, Amanda and Cheri say they have put those years behind them.
“We’re together now, and that’s all that matters,” Amanda said while hugging her mom.
Amanda had taken to social media to contact her mother and even hired a private investigator.
During the “mom search,” Amanda discovered that she had two half-sisters living in Georgia. They are both 18 years old, they have not seen their mother, Cheri, since they were four years old.
A GoFundMe account has been opened to help Amanda, Cheri, and Amanda’s two half-sisters to have a family reunion.
For more on Amanda’s story, visit WQAD.