It was a first look unlike any other.
On May 6, Beth Pullen, 90, was reunited with the daughter she placed for adoption 70 years ago, and the sweet moment was captured on camera.
“I wanted to turn around and run to her,” the Lafayette, Louisiana, resident said in describing the moment right before she set eyes on her daughter, 70-year-old Lynne Wray of Lexington, North Carolina, for the first time.
The two first connected last month thanks to a DNA test Pullen’s granddaughter Wanda Gale, 36, had taken. The results showed that her closest relative who had also done the same test was Wray — a name she didn’t recognize.
When Gale clicked on Wray’s name, the profile read, "I am adopted and have never met my birth family.”
“I thought, 'Who is this woman?'" Gale told TODAY. After digging a little deeper, she got a feeling Wray might be her aunt.
“Bless her heart, she was so excited,” Pullen said of Gale’s reaction to the idea that she had found a long-lost family member. Little did Gale know, it was her grandmother’s daughter.
Pullen said Wray was her and her husband’s first child — the two eventually went on to have seven other children, none of whom knew about Wray.
Once she found out Wray’s birthday, Pullen knew: “OK, that's my daughter. Praise God.”
“For the first time, she looked at peace,” Pullen’s daughter Katherine Monroe, 57, told TODAY. She recalled her mom saying, “Who would have ever thought that a magic email would have set me free?” referencing the email that sent her granddaughter the DNA results.
Then, she called her daughter.
Wray said the first thing Pullen told her over the phone was, “I'm your mother, you’re my daughter, and I love you.”
“Once you find out you're wanted, all the fear goes away,” Wray said. “The anticipation of rejection from a birth family was scary.”
Gale, the one credited with bringing the two together in the first place, had a hand in their first in-person meeting, too. “I’m a wedding photographer, and I came up with the idea of the first look — they were both really excited about the idea,” she said.
Pullen, who had been actively searching for her daughter, and Wray, who had been actively searching for her birth mother, finally got to meet each other for the first time.
“To turn around and see somebody that looks just like you, it was pretty exciting,” Wray said. “I felt total love. It couldn't have been any better.”
Pullen added, “I looked at her face, and I knew that's my baby."
The two said they have plans to spend more time together.
“I feel so blessed,” Pullen said. “I didn't give her away. I let her go for awhile. And when you give a gift of love, you get it returned a thousand times.”