SALT LAKE CITY
(ABC 4 News) – John Harper was given up for adoption when he was just one year old. He’s been searching for his birth family for more than two decades. Friday his long wait ended when he traveled to Salt Lake City International Airport to meet his mother for the first time.
"I know it's going to be tears and hugs,” said Harper. “36 years of catching up."
The reunion is something both Harper and his mother Cecelia Higgins thought would never come, and when it did neither one wanted to let go.
As he embraced his mother Harper said, “Hey Mom, good to see you.” Higgins replied, “Don’t let go. Don’t ever let go.”
The last time Higgins held her son he was just a baby.
"I love you too mom,” whispered Harper. Higgins replied, “I'm sorry it took so long to find you."
Although they didn't want to let go there were other people Cecelia, or grandma, needed to meet.
“Oh God it's so good to see you,” said Higgins as she embraced her granddaughter for the first time.
John's step-daughter turned 8 years old today and meeting her grandmother for the first time was the best birthday present she could ask for.
"Happy birthday love, happy birthday,” said Higgins.
For Cecelia this new beginning is an end to the past.
Higgins said, "I asked him if the nightmare was finally over that I can go to bed at night and I don't have to dream bad dreams anymore."
"It's a great weight off my shoulders and it's something I’ve looked forward to for a long time,” said Harper. “I'm glad the nightmare if finally over."
Now it's time to build new memories and make up for lost time.
"I want to watch him smile,” said Higgins. “I want to watch him be a kid again because I missed it."