Burlington mother reunited with daughter after 25 years

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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.



      Why are so many people JUDGING the mom. This happened to me as well and I never did anything wrong but try to make a happy, nice home. Be a good wife and mother. Didn’t drink, do drugs. The fathers had money. Get your FACTS before you JUDGE. KARMA will come back around to evil people and bite you in the butt.

  • Murgatroyd

    Gee, not judgmental are you people – sucko – name fits; fred – melody – you’re not much better. You haven’t lived this woman’s life. You have no idea why she lost them or how hard it was for her when she did. You know NOTHING of her or her story.

    • MelodyS

      I raised BOTH of my kids. Why doesn’t the article say why she lost them? How many more kids does she have?

  • Kaye Brundage

    My question is this: if she only lost custody because she couldn’t afford to fight the ex-husband, why were the younger two taken or given away? Sounds shady.

  • Motheroftwo143

    I think this story is very touching and I am very happy that they were able to be reunited. I hope it works out for the best, however my oldest brother was kidnapped by his fraternal grandparents when he was just a year old and they went on the run. After 35 years my husband and I found him via the internet and staged a reunion with him and the rest of our family as he had a brother and 4 sisters he had never met. I called and emailed Fox 8 to be there and do a story on this bc I thought it was HUGE that we found him after all of these years but I was turned down and then no one would return my emails or phone calls. So, I just have to say, If you aren’t going to do one story don’t do any and if you are going to do one, do them all..I like Fox 8 but some of the stories that you chose to cover baffles me..

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