Joanne Loewenstern, 79, recently reunited with her 100-year-old birth mother, Lillian Ciminieri, whom she had believed was dead for her entire lifetime. The two women met and were able to spend the afternoon together. They colored pictures together, and Joanna vowed to stay in touch.
Joanna was born at a Bronx hospital in 1938. She was adopted two months later by her foster parents. Joanne learned at age 16 that she had been adopted when her biological mother passed away shortly after birth. In 1959 she was married and went on to raise four sons. Joanne always knew in her heart that the story she’d been told wasn’t true. She knew her birth mother was still alive. Joanna had once hired a private investigator to no avail.
After seeing all the families that were being reunited on the TLC show, Long Lost Family, she realized she needed to know once and for all. Loewenstern took an Ancestry DNA test and things fell into place.
Unfortunately, due to Lillian having dementia, they may never know the exact situation surrounding Joanne’s birth and adoption. The families have managed to piece together parts of the story. She was a single, unwed mother at the time of the birth. Lillian had mentioned over the years that she lost a daughter. They always assumed she meant the child had passed away, but they believe now that the child was taken.
“This is incredible and my mother can finally put to bed her question of who am I? God truly works in mysterious ways and today was massive,” Elliot Loewenstern wrote on Facebook after the reunion.
There were many questions about the initial reunion as to how much Lillian understood, but it was clear at their next visit that she understood that Joanne was her long-lost daughter.
Many people around the country are looking for their families or fearing it’s too late to start searching, Joanna and Lillian’s story is giving them hope that it’s not too late.