A woman who was abandoned in a fast food restaurant bathroom 27 years ago has found her birth mother, three weeks after launching a search on social media.
Katheryn Deprill, of South Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, said she felt "pure joy" when she met her biological mother for the first time Monday in an attorney's office.
"She is better than anything I could've ever imagined," said Deprill, who has become known as the "Burger King Baby".
"She is so sweet and amazing. I'm so happy."
Deprill began her quest on March 2 by posting on her Facebook page a photo in which she held up a sign that said: "Looking for my birth mother ... She abandoned me in the Burger King bathroom only hours old, Allentown PA. Please help me find her by sharing my post."
The photo was shared more than 30,000 times by Facebook users around the world, and Deprill's story landed in numerous media outlets.
Many were surprised by the open-minded, loving way in which Deprill reached out to the woman who had abandoned her as a newborn. "I would like to thank her, because I now have three beautiful children. I had a wonderful life growing up," she said at the time.
The search caught the attention of the woman who claims to be her birth mother and who says she had already decided, with her husband's support, to search for her daughter. She came forward to attorney John Waldron, who arranged for them to meet.
He said all the media coverage about Deprill's search made it easier, but also "scared Mom a bit. She did not want to be in the limelight."
Deprill said she bears a very strong resemblance to the woman, whose name she wouldn't disclose.
"It looked like I was looking in a mirror," she said.
Deprill, now a married mother of three who works as an ambulance paramedic, attended the attorney's office with her youngest son and her adopted mother, who wholeheartedly supported her in her search.
She said she immediately embraced her birth mother, who still lives in the area near the original Burger King store.
"I got the hug that I had wanted for the last 27 years, and that broke the ice," she said. "I asked if I could have it, and she said, 'absolutely,' and just held her arms open, and the rest is history."
The pair met for about four hours and exchanged contact information. Deprill said they plan to meet again.
"We are definitely going to have a relationship," she said.
Waldron told a local TV station that the woman said that, as a teenager, she was raped while travelling abroad and became pregnant. The woman said she hid the pregnancy from her parents and, when she gave birth, felt she could not take her newborn to the hospital.
After meeting her birth mother, Deprill said that she had been "extremely upset that she had to leave me and it wasn't what she wanted, but she felt she had no other means. She was only 17 years old".
"She left me somewhere she knew I'd be found. She did not want to throw me away," she said.
And now that the search is over, Deprill is still happy with the woman's actions, saying that she has forgiven her birth mother "110 per cent, absolutely".
"I have literally not wiped the smile off my face," she said. "I never in a million years thought I'd find her."
- AP with staff writers