Lani was separated from her daughters, Starla and Jeannie when they were only two and three years old which was extremely hard on all of them.
Starla explains, “We asked our dad a lot about our mom, and he never spoke ill of our mom to us. He just said that she couldn’t speak English because she’s full-blooded Thai, and he said she thought since we were American and he was in the military, he could take better care of us and provide us a better life than she could.”
Both mother and daughters searched for each other for the next four decades.
Starla and Jeannie searched every database they could with the “help” of their dad when they were older but with no outcome.
Jeannie tells ABC News “When I sit back and I think of everything, I think he just tried to make it look like he helped. He was trying to protect us, or he was scared he was going to lose his baby girls. They always say there are three sides to the story. His side, her side and the truth.”
As the years passed the girls wondered if they should give up the search and move on with their lives.
Starla recently got an unexpected message on Facebook from a man named Mark Szarmach.
Mark turned out to be Lani’s second husband who was helping his wife find her long-lost daughters, but his efforts came up fruitless.
“Lani wanted to find them but she didn’t know how to and because she had such limited information, there weren’t any diligent searches. But she’s often cried herself to sleep and talked about her daughters and how she has to find them someday,” Mark says about his wife.
Because of his wife’s accent, he thought Starla was named “Stella” and Jeannie was named “Jenny.” No wonder he had a hard time finding them!
Mark also knew the girls’ father’s name and searched for him too.
His name was John Thompson, but since it was so common, it took time for Mark to sift through all of the people with that exact name.
Eventually, he discovered the girls’ real names and went to Facebook and look for them again.
Mark located a Facebook account for a Jeannie Toomey and was stunned when he saw one particular picture.
“I opened up an album and their baby picture popped up. I was in shock. I came running out of the bedroom and said, ‘Honey you’ve got to come to see this.’ I showed her that picture and she just started bawling.” says Mark
Jeannie was blown away when Mark contacted her and a week later she and Starla made plans with Lani to finally reunite after 40 years.
Take a look at the video below to see the moment they reunited.
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Published by Trending Stylist.