The last time Hope Holland saw her son, Jonathan, he was a curly-haired 3-year-old.
For 15 years she never gave up her dream of being reunited with her youngest son, who was kidnapped by his father, who shared legal custody, and taken to Mexico.
On Wednesday, that long-awaited reunion happened, as the Campbell, California, woman wrapped her arms around her now-18-year-old, and it’s all because of a Facebook photo.
“Happy,” was all Holland managed to say in an interview with NBC Bay Areathe next day, her voice choked with tears. “It’s been a long journey here.”
Last year, Jonathan posted a childhood pic with his brother on Facebook, hoping that somehow his mother, who he had no memory of, or brother would find him.
Holland explained how it all happened on a Go Fund Me page that was set up to raise money for their reunion.
In January, she was signing up for a webinar on Facebook when she a picture of two little boys taking a bath caught her eye.
“At first, my body responded with panic and excitement. Heart palpitations and sweat…my breathing out of control,” she wrote.
She realized it was her children.
“I was the one who had taken the picture, so I obviously could be certain that it was them. Tears uncontrollably fell down my face, my hands were shaking, my body was shaking…” she continued.
She began checking out her son Jonathan’s Facebook page and messaged someone who was looking at the same photos she was scrolling through. That person put her in touch with Jonathan, and three days later they spoke on the phone for the first time. They talked for 80 minutes, and during their second conversation, her son brought up the idea of meeting her.
” I’m so happy and it’s a miracle and I never thought this would ever come, so it’s happy – extremely happy,” Holland told ABC 10 on Wednesday, shortly after their emotional reunion.
Jonathan will spend two months with his mother before heading back to Mexico to finish his senior year of high school but plans to return to California after graduation.