A couple from Iowa have spoken of their joy after locating the son they gave up for adoption nearly 30 years ago.
Melissa Thompson and Troy Johansen were just teenagers when they gave him away in 1988 – a decision they came to regret. The trio spent three days in the hospital before they were separated, but came to cherish their brief moment as a family.
"Troy and I have talked, and if we could go back and change that decision we would go back and do it in a heartbeat," Thompson told station KWLL. "But we made the best decision we could at the time and we did it out of love. There hasn't been a day that's gone by that we haven't loved this kid."
The couple spent years attempting to reunite but failed to locate the son despite numerous leads.
Johansen decided to make a heartfelt plea to his friends on Facebook by asking them to help find his birth son. His post read: "I'm asking for a lot for Christmas and I need everyone's help in getting what I want. If I get nothing else other than this one thing I will be the happiest man on Earth." The post, which included the only picture they had of their birth son, was shared thousands of times from people across the country.
Just 24 hours after their appeal, they were talking to their son Chris Graham, now a fully grown man, over the phone.
According to Troy's post, the couple had previously been in contact with the adoptive parents but their correspondence had stopped over the years.
Thankfully a private investigator who saw their post was able to use birth records from the hospital in Dubuque, Iowa, and narrowed the search down until they found the correct match.
Currently living in Colorado, Chris has spoken of his happiness at the amazing turn of events.
"They created me," said Graham. "I wouldn't be here today, regardless of all the struggles I've encountered – it's made me a stronger person. Adversity just builds character in the end. If anything else – I have every bit of them to thank for the person I am today."
"I seriously can't tell you what an amazing guy this is," said Thompson. "He is good. He is kind, and he is forgiving. He's open to all of this. After all of this time, and he knows that we're his home. We're his family. He knows that."
Chris knows what he's looking forward to the most when he meets Troy and Melissa for the first time in 30 years:
"I think that first hug-that first embrace," said Graham.