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Mother reunites with daughter given up for adoption 57 years ago

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Theresa Simmons (right) meets the child she gave up for adoption 57 years ago, Roseanne Lombardi (left), in person for the first time at Tampa International Airport, Thursday, October 20, 2016.

TAMPA, Fla. — When a 16-year-old Theresa Simmons gave up her baby for adoption 57 years ago, she never thought she’d see the child again. But on Thursday, she got that chance.

Another of Simmons’ children, Joanne Farrell, looked into her family history online. She tracked down her half-sister, Roseanne Lombardi, the daughter Simmons gave up decades before.

Farrell then contacted Lombardi and put their mother in touch with her.

“I always wondered if she thought of me, if she was alive, why did this happen?” Lombardi said.

Her children arranged for Lombardi to fly to Tampa to meet their mother but kept it a surprise. They took their mom to Tampa International Airport, telling her they were just going there for lunch.

“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster,” Farrell said.

“Somebody has been out there all these years that we’ve never known, and yet so close when we were living up north and yet so far away, ” said Simmons’ daughter Ann Marie Crawford.

There were tears and big hugs when Lombardi got off the plane, and she and her mom met for the first time.

“I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and I said, ‘Please give me a chance to see her, just one chance,'” Simmons said. “I just want to see her one time, to hold her and kiss her.”