MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Maricopa woman is sharing her story of hope for anyone who’s ever been separated from a family member.

After being put up for adoption at birth, a simple test connected 38-year-old Heather Martinez to the mom she never met, and the outcome was more than she expected.

"I find myself wondering sometimes what did I do to deserve this fairy tale, because this isn’t everybody’s story," said Martinez.

Cell phone video taken back in May shows Martinez meeting her mom for the very first time.

"We just cried, and hugged, and laughed and I just can’t even explain what it felt like. You can’t put that into words," said Martinez.

Martinez is one of seven million Americans adopted.

She says she had an incredible childhood, thanks to a couple from Minnesota. She later moved to Canada, went to college, became a paramedic and met her husband-- who’s also a paramedic. The two are now raising their own family in Maricopa.

But along the way, Martinez says always wanted to know who the woman was that gave birth to her.

"I was in college, and I actually wrote to Oprah, hoping that she’d reach out and help me," said Martinez.

She also contacted her adoption agency.

"They had said it would cost x amount of dollars, which when you’re a poor college student, you can’t spend that money when there’s no guarantee," said Martinez.

So she left it at that, until last Christmas. That's when her husband Danny bought her a DNA testing kit on sale for $60, through the website Ancestry.com.

"You literally spit in a tube, package everything up, and mail it back to the company," said Martinez.

Six weeks later, she got the results via email.

"It’s an emotional roller coaster. I’m not going to lie. And you do always have to be prepared for a disappointment, because that’s the reality," said Martinez.

After connecting with her great aunt, her biological mom reached out.

"She had called and left a message, and that was the first time, that was the first time I ever heard her voice," said Martinez.

Martinez found out her mom got pregnant with her when she was 19 and hid the pregnancy from everyone.

"She gave birth to me alone, and she told me she never held me in the hospital," said Martinez.

Eager to see each other, Martinez's mom came from Minnesota to Arizona.

"It’s ok to know where you came from, and I think every child has a right to know," said Martinez.

Martinez's mom tracked down Martinez's dad and told him the secret she had kept for so long. He was thrilled, and he also met Martinez for the first time this summer.

At a reunion in Minnesota, Martinez made memories with not one, not two, but multiple families, from all different backgrounds, with one thing in common-- their love for Martinez.

"We are so incredibly blessed," said Martinez.

Martinez says her great aunt was pretty active on Ancestry.com and had used the test too, which is why it might have been so easy for the two to find each other.

Martinez also says her mom ended up getting married and wanted children so badly, but was never able to get pregnant again. Martinez was her only child.

 


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