Holly Shearer waited twenty years to reconnect with the boy she gave up for adoption shortly after she gave birth to him, and when she did, she discovered that he had been her coworker for years.
Back in 2001, Holly Shearer was 15 years old and pregnant. When she was about five months along, she decided to put her baby, whom she had named Benjamin, up for adoption.
“He deserved a mother and a father, a home with a playset in the backyard that he can play on, a dog, all of those things I couldn’t give him,” Shearer said.
Holly ultimately selected Brian and Angela Hulleburg, who had struggled with infertility, to be Benjamin’s adoptive parents.
“When I handed Benjamin to them, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Holly said.
For the first three years of Benjamin’s life, Holly and Angela kept in regular contact. Angela sent Holly letters about Benjamin’s life and shared pictures of him as he continued to grow.
But after three years, communication between the two women stopped for reasons unknown. The Hulleburgs had always been open with Benjamin about his history and told him what little information about Holly they knew. It wasn’t much. The adoption was closed, so they didn’t even know her last name.
When Benjamin turned 18, he decided to look for Holly on his own.
“I kind of grew up wanting to meet my birth mom,” Benjamin said. “To talk to her and, more than anything, thank her because I knew that I had been given a really good life, full of opportunity.”
“I had never had somebody that I can say, like, ‘Oh, that’s where I got my eyes from. That’s where I got my nose.’ … I never had that physical biological connection to say … ‘This is who I am and this is where it came from,’” he added. “So for me, it was a lot less about trying to find a family or, like, trying to find a long-lost family member. But it was more about trying to find where I came from.”
Despite his best efforts, Benjamin had no luck finding Holly. But on his 20th birthday, she found him and sent him a message on Facebook.
“You don’t know me, which is weird to have a stranger message you,” she wrote. “Twenty years ago, I made the hardest decision of my life and placed my beautiful little baby up for adoption with a beautiful family. I have no intention of flipping your life upside down. I have thought about you every day and finally had the courage to send you a message. Wishing you a happy birthday.”
Two days later, Holly reunited with Benjamin and discovered that Benjamin volunteers at St. Mark’s Hospital, where she works.
“We’ve probably passed each other because my shift starts at 4:30. Hers ends around 4:30. So we probably passed each other and had no idea,” Benjamin said.
Now, Holly and Benjamin are becoming better acquainted and developing a relationship that Benjamin hopes will continue to grow.
“Thank you for your selfless decision 20 years ago, today, to set me in the arms of my parents. I will always be grateful for it,” Benjamin wrote on Facebook. “Now, as I look to the future, I can’t wait to build a relationship with you and my biological family and have you be an active part of my life.”