A woman who spent more than 15 years trying to find her birth mother has discovered that she unknowingly worked alongside her biological mom for two years, without any idea that they were related.
Jenny Thomas, 40, from Rochester, New York, is one of 16 individuals featured on the new TLC series, Long Lost Family, which helps reunite people with their biological relatives.
‘I was just in shock,’ she told the New York Post of realizing her former co-worker Nita Valdez is her birth mother. ‘I had looked in so many faces for so many years, [thinking] “Could that be her? Is she looking at me because she knows me?”
‘All the while I had looked at the woman who once knew me as her daughter.’
Jenny was given a photograph of her biological mother after searching for her for more than 15 years – and she realizes that she knows her
Nita was the daughter of a minister who was ashamed by her pregnancy out of wedlock, and the expectant mom ended up being forced to give up her daughter to social services because of the lack of support she was getting from her family.
What Nita didn’t realize however, is that her daughter would later spend years searching for the mother who gave her away as a child.
However, after more than a decade of searching for Nita, Jenny only realized after the show’s experts identified her that she had not only met her mother 10 years ago at a Rochester hospital, but that they had actually spent hours working together, when Jenny was employed as a part-time patient care technician.
During the time they worked together, Jenny and Nita, who was a patient transporter, interacted daily, and while they had a friendly ‘working-professional relationship’ she admitted she never felt any sort of instinctual connection to the woman who had given birth to her.
However, she noted that her birth mother would ‘always laugh at my jokes’.
Jenny’s jaw-dropping story will be featured in an upcoming episode of the new series, which premieres on Sunday, and in a preview clip, Jenny can be seen looking at a picture of Nita that leaves her in shock.
‘Oh my god. I know her!’ she says with disbelief as she stares down at the image.
The show’s hosts Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner have embarked on their own journeys to find their biological families, and this season the television personalities will help others do the same.