Columbia, SC (WLTX) - An adopted Batesburg-Leesville man's decades long search for his birth mother ended happily, when the two reunited recently.
George Corbitt and Patsy Cassidy Downer met each other on July 12th, the first time they'd been in the same room since he was born 53 years ago. Their reunion was captured on video, as the two cried and embraced the moment they saw each other.
But getting to that moment--well, that wasn't easy.
When Cassidy was 15, and living near Camden, she got pregnant, and with no one to turn to, and nowhere to go, she decided to give her child up for adoption. When she gave birth at 16, the child was immediately taken away to give to the adoptive family.
She didn't even know if she'd had a boy or girl.
Years later, it was the lack of that basic information that led to her believe her child might not be alive. Someone told her she'd had a girl, and she even got an erroneous report that the child had died.
Despite that, she thought about her baby every day.
"I had prayed," Downer says. "I know God answers prayers."
Corbitt, meanwhile, was raised in another town, and when he became an adult, he decided he wanted to find his birth mother.
"I would check every record I could find with her name on it," he explains.
He got a break when a clerical error made decades ago wound up giving him his mother's maiden name.
"I saw my adoption papers," he said. "They were actually not sealed, and they were supposed to be sealed."
With her name, he went to the internet and started searching, looking for any clues he could find. He went to one site, Mylife.com, and found a Patsy Cassidy who had lived in Hartsville and Camden. That website gave him her married name.
From there, he went to Facebook--and that's where he struck paydirt.
"When her profile picture came up, I had no doubt in my mind," he says.
He found out she lived in Hamlet, North Carolina. He quickly sent her a message, asking her if she could help him find his birth mom.
"And I said in what way do you think that I can help you," she recalls.
Armed with the evidence he collected in court records and online, he told her the news she thought she'd never hear. But she needed just one more bit of proof.
"I asked him to send him a picture and he did, and I knew when I saw the picture," she says. "There was so much resemblance between him and my other son."
The two called each other and talked for over two hours. They found out they had something else in common: they'd each gone into the nursing field. Her other son even works as a paramedic.
They then arranged an in-person meeting.
"He never gave up," she says. "That is the crucial message to get out to everyone: don't give up."
As for what they'll do next, as you might guess, they've got some more catching up to do.
"Family reunions, meeting and getting to know the new family," Corbitt says. "My life feels complete now."