Jenessa Simons has known of her adoption since she was two years old, and now, 19 years later, she’s found her biological parents through a Facebook campaign.
On Sunday, Simons posted a picture of herself holding a sign pleading to help. "They called me Whitney," she wrote, including information about her birth hospital, her parent's birth years, and the age they gave birth to her.
More than 133,000 shares, 12,000 likes, and 48 hours later—she found them.
“It was awesome to hear from her, but I was mostly in shock,” Utah resident Simons told KSL-TV about her biological mother. “I didn’t know what to say.”
Simons described meeting her mother for the first time as shocking and overwhelming.
"She was just very surprised. It was kind of intermittent messaging each other, but she said she told her extended family and they were all completely ecstatic that I had gotten hold of her," said Simons.
It turns out her mother was living a few minutes away of her childhood neighborhood in Provo. Her mother contacted Simons' biological father, who lives out of state, who then contacted Simons.
"He sounded really surprised, but happy,” she said of her first meeting with her father.
That moment has been four years in the making. Simons started the search for her parents at 18 years old, but had to wait until she was 21, Utah's legal age, to request paperwork to locate her biological parents.
“He knows who his parents are, I should probably get on figuring out who mine are," she recalled, talking about her young son. She submitted paperwork to the state but was becoming antsy waiting so she turned to Facebook for help.
“Everyone on Facebook’s been posting posters like, 'One million likes and I get a puppy,' and I thought, ‘Hey, these are getting shared around. I’ve seen kids get likes and get a puppy, so I should probably give it a shot,'” said Simons.
She also said the meeting was essential for her son, because she can now learn her family’s medical history.
Simons doesn't hold any ill-will against her parents for placing her adoption since they were so young when they had her.
“Obviously they both cared enough about me to say, 'We need to give her a family that's stable, and she can come find us later,' which I appreciate more than anything,” she said.
Photo via KSL-TV