PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – In late February in the middle of our 9 a.m. newscast, I got my own shocking breaking news alert on Facebook.
I received a friend request from Lisa. Reconnecting with my birth mother was just a click away. I immediately accepted and asked my co-anchor Jacey Birch to record the moment when I sent her my first message.
"Hi. Wow, I just saw this today. I've known your name since I was a child. I'm so happy you reached out. I'm having a hard time believing it's real," I wrote.
Within minutes, Lisa wrote back. She told me that she always knew my name and where I had grown up. She lives in rural Illinois, but she has been watching my career online for more than a decade.
She streamed newscasts online and followed me through social media. She watched as I announced the birth of my children and moved to South Florida.
I sent her photos of my childhood, introducing a boy she didn't get to watch grow up.
She sent photos of herself and other family members I never knew I had, like two half-sisters.
Decades of a life were crammed into one thread with a common refrain: "I am so happy."
After a day of texts, it was time to talk.
"How are you?" Lisa asked.
"I'm great. How are you?" I replied.
"I am good," she said.
"Yeah, how you feeling?" I asked.
"Nervous, but excited. How are you?" Lisa asked.
"I feel nervous and excited," I said.
"Cool," Lisa said.
"We must be related," I said.
The nerves fell quickly away and we talked and laughed for a long time. Minute by minute, we began feeling more and more familiar and familial.
"Whatever you wanted to be, you needed that, and I couldn't do it," Lisa said. "You needed to be able to grow to your full potential and become an amazing human being. You needed that."