It’s easy at times to take our families for granted; they’re always around, borrowing our stuff, eating the drumstick at Thanksgiving. But for many people, hanging onto family is really hard. The story of a woman named Albreanna is an incredible reminder of what it means to be surrounded by people you’re related to, because she’s been looking for them for years.

Albreanna was adopted as a baby. Her adopted mother passed away when she was 17, and she’s mostly been on her own since. She’d sworn that she would find her biological family somehow, but wasn’t having any luck. In early July, she shared the story of how it finally happened.

All she knew was that her mother was Thai and her dad was black. That’s not a lot to go on to find an entire family.

But then, one day, they found her:

Technology has improved a lot over the last few decades. Ancestry is one of many services that tracks people, and at times even tracks DNA. Albreanna had a family, and they’d been looking for her, too. She was one of four children who shared the same birth mother.

Look how cute they are:

It turned out her youngest brother was only 30 minutes away, so she rushed over to give him a hug in real life:

As a surprise for their mother, Albreanna’s siblings decided to bring her to a Fourth of July celebration:

Before she met her bio mom, Albreanna shared her feelings about what was to come. She was excited, but also scared about how her mom would react. Would she accept her? Would she be mad that her other kids sprung Albreanna on her? It was a scary moment.

You can see all the feelings on her face:

But she had a lot of backup. Her siblings felt incredibly familiar to her, and helped her relax. A little.

They coached her through it:

They broke the news to Albreanna’s mom that she was here, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Warning: this video will make you cry:

At first she was confused about who this extra person was on the family vacation:

When her kids told her, “That’s sister,” she didn’t believe it at first. Then she broke down.

There’s some moments from the timeline missing as, I guess, Albreanna and her mom greeted each other. But then they were like old friends:

And she found out that her mom has been thinking about her all these years, too, and even got a tattoo of her name right after giving her up for adoption:

They had a lot to catch up on:

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Albreanna says that this experience has been so important and life-changing for her that she wants to help other people reunite with their birth families if they can. Not all of them can end so well, but she believes it’s worth a try, and is hoping people will share her story to inspire others.

A loving family is precious, whether they’re biological, married into, or found. Albreanna’s story gives us all a reason to hold the people we love a little closer today.

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