Man reunites with birth mom after 20 years, finds out they work in same hospital

After two decades of pondering and seeking, a Utah man was reunited with his biological mother after she unexpectedly wrote him a Facebook message last November.

Benjamin Hulleberg, a middle school substitute teacher, has known since he was a child that he had been adopted by his parents, Angela and Brian Hulleberg, and he was interested about his birth mother, whom he only knew by her first name, Holly.

The twenty year old explained, it was usually a really good talk. It was either his parents expressing their appreciation for Holly or him talking about how glad he is for her and how he wants to meet her one day.

Nevertheless, Holly Shearer always remembered the kid she had placed for adoption 20 years before on Thanksgiving Day.

Shearer, 36, expressed he was always on her thoughts. It’s a roller coaster of feelings, especially around holidays and his birthday. She couldn’t stop thinking about him.

She was a young teen at the time, and the Hullebergs had sent her letters and photographs for three years. Shearer’s interest rose after the updates ceased and their adoption agency folded in 2014.

Shearer conducted an internet search and came upon Benjamin’s social media page. ” He was 18 when I met him, and I was quite cautious,” she said. “He had a lot going on in his life….” The last thing I wanted to do was disrupt his life. So I simply stood back and observed.”

This was all unknown to Benjamin Hulleberg, who had spent years discussing his desire to identify his birth mother with his parents. In the hopes of locating Holly, he mailed letters, registered with an adoption registry, and even took a DNA test.

So when Shearer wrote him a Facebook message six months ago wishing him a happy birthday, Hulleberg’s life was turned upside down.

Hulleberg explained, he recalled exactly where he was when he received the message. He was working and  was a machine operator, and he recalled being in machine No. 15. He was in the middle of their hourly quality checks when he checked his phone and noticed her message, so he quickly answered.

He continued, he hit him like a ton of bricks when she contacted him back and genuinely revealed who she was.

Hulleberg stated that the tragic message elicited an emotional response.

He remarked, he was sobbing. Everything was quite nice. But for him, this is a day he had been waiting for for the previous 20 years of his life, and to think it was finally occurring was incredible. It was a lot to process.

Hulleberg wasted no time in inviting Shearer to meet with him after such a lengthy wait.

Shearer recalled, he requested to meet straight away, which surprised her a little. She was surprised, but he wanted to meet immediately. So they decided to meet at Red Robin the next day for supper with both of their families.

Benjamin Hulleberg added that he was not willing to wait any longer as he waited 20 years, and that was enough time for him.

Shearer and Hulleberg were reconnected with their families on November 21, 2021.

Angela and Brian Hulleberg visited with Shearer and her family initially. She explained, they looked much the same as she recalled, which was good. They simply sat there and talked till they sat down. Then, about five minutes after they sat down, Benjamin arrived and went up and tapped her on the shoulder, and excitement just spilled over her, and they were just there holding and sobbing for about five minutes, and she couldn’t believe that happened.

Hulleberg recalled when he saw her, she sprang up and hugged him, and he sobbed. He just stared at her and thought to himself that she is really in front of her. And that was bizarre. It was absolutely a dream come true for him.

The Shearer and Hulleberg families’ reconnection lasted more than three hours.

It didn’t seem like it had been 20 years, even though it had been 20 years because Benjamin had grown up, Angela Hulleberg, 46, explained.

She continued, she believes Benjamin is really fortunate to have all of these people who adore him.

Shearer and Benjamin Hulleberg also found they hadn’t been too far apart after all these years, since both had recently worked at HCA Healthcare’s St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Shearer works as a medical assistant at St. Mark’s Heart Center, while Hulleberg volunteers in the hospital’s newborn critical care unit.

Shearer explained, every morning, she would enter the building through the women’s pavilion to get to work. So she walked straight past the NICU every day. They parked in the same garage, maybe on the same floor, and had no idea they were that near.

Hulleberg has reconnected with his younger half-brother and half-sister since reconciling with Shearer and her family. He also attempts to visit with Shearer, whom he refers to as “mom,” in her workplace at least once a week.

He remarked being able to sit down with his birth mother and simply speak over coffee before his shift in the NICU? It’s been incredible.

Shearer added, it’s absolutely thrilling that she is a part of his world. Just knowing that his phone number is on her phone and that she can call or text him at any moment. It’s incredible. Her heart is overflowing.

Benjamin Hulleberg has a positive message for others who are hunting for their birth parents.

He explained, never give up hope. For him, it seemed like he had given up just a little too much. He tried everything, and nothing worked. It arrived when he least expected it. It was a completely unexpected occurrence that does not occur to all.

He continued, seeing his biological family, meeting his half-siblings, meeting his biological mom was really healing for him. There was a gap in his life that he wasn’t aware of, and discovering them filled it completely. He is feeling extremely entire, really complete. He finally feels like he is  ready to go on with his life.

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