A Utah man reconnected with his biological mother when she wrote him a Facebook message on his birthday in November, after two decades apart.
Benjamin Hulleberg is a middle school substitute teacher who knew he was adopted by his parents, Brian and Angela Hulleberg, since he was a child. He wanted to see his biological mother, whom he only knew as “Holly,” since he was a child.
“It was always a very positive conversation,” Benjamin, 20, told Good Morning America. “It was my parents either expressing gratitude for Holly or me talking about how I’m grateful for her and how I want to meet her one day.”
Holly Shearer, 36, was continually thinking about the infant boy she had given up for adoption two decades earlier on Thanksgiving Day.
Benjamin was born while she was just 15 years old. For three years, she received letters and photographs from the boy’s adoptive parents, whom she only knew by their first names and the first letter of their last names.
The updates, however, soon ceased, and their adoption agency dissolved in 2014. That’s when Holly began to have concerns about her son.
She looked up Benjamin’s social media page on the internet. When Holly discovered him, he was 18 years old, but she was hesitant to contact him.
“He had so much going on his life. … The last thing I wanted to do is to throw a wrench in his life. So I just watched from a distance,” she said.
Benjamin had been talking with his parents about attempting to contact Holly for years and had no clue she had already found him. In the hopes of locating his birth mother, he mailed letters, registered with an adoption registry, and underwent a DNA test.
Holly eventually had the nerve to message Benjamin on his 20th birthday, two years after she discovered him online.
Benjamin would never forget that day.
“I can remember the exact place that I was at when I got the message. I was at work. I was a machine operator and I remember I was in machine No. 15,” he recalled. “I was in between our hourly quality checks and I got on my phone and I saw her message and I just replied.”
When Holly texted him back and revealed who she was, Benjamin said the words hit him “like a load of bricks.”
“I was crying. It was all very positive emotions. But to me, this is a day I had been waiting for the past 20 years of my life and to imagine that it was finally happening was outrageous. It was a lot to take in,” he said.
Benjamin requested to see Holly straight soon, and the two enjoyed supper with both of their families the next day, November 21, 2021.
When the mother and son first met, they had a deep embrace and sobbed.
“I would definitely say it was a dream come true,” Benjamin said. “I’ve said that about things in my life, like ‘Oh, I’m so glad I graduated. It’s a dream come true.’ But this? This was the most true time I’ve ever said it.”
The two families talked for nearly three hours. During the talk, Holly and Benjamin discovered that they had both spent the previous two years working at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Benjamin helps at the NICU, while Holly works as a medical assistant at The Heart Center.
“Every morning, I would come in through the women’s pavilion to come into work. So I passed right by the NICU every single day. We parked in the same garage, could have been on the same floor, had no idea that we were so close,” Holly said.
Benjamin has subsequently made contact with his younger half-brother and half-sister, whom he refers to as “mom.” He also attempts to visit with Holly at her office at least once a week.
“Meeting my biological family and meeting my half-siblings and meeting my biological mom, it was very healing for me,” Benjamin said.
“There was a little hole in me that I didn’t know about and finding them really filled that in. I feel very whole, I feel very complete. I feel like I’m finally ready to continue in my life.”
We’re overjoyed that this mother and son have reunited. Their love has always been there, even after 20 years apart.
To discover more about this touching reunion tale, watch the video below.