-- It wasn't until Kate-Madonna Hindes' second brush with cancer that made her finally finish the paperwork needed to find her birth mother.
"I wanted to get some medical questions answered," the mother-of-two, 34, added. "I told myself I had to really look deeper into this because I have two beautiful children and I want to live a long happy life."
Three years after starting her paperwork, Hindes finally completed it six months ago. Because of "a lot of internal staff changes" at Children's Home + Aid in Illinois she didn't hear back from them until last month.
"I received a call June 15 and they said, 'Kate, are you sitting down?' And I said, 'Yes,' and they said, 'We found your file. Not only do we have a picture, we have a letter from her as well."
The social media and public relations' strategist said it took her only 12 minutes to decide to create a graphic, using her birth mother's photo, and turn to Facebook for help.
"My cancer survivor group is on Facebook. That's the first place I go to connect with somebody, so it was natural," she said.
And it worked. Within two hours, word had traveled to her birth mother, Aimée Sordelli, who lives in Berwyn, Illinois.
"I received a message from a relative saying, 'Your picture is on Facebook,'" Sordelli recalled. "And I said, 'OK, well, there’s a lot of pictures of me on Facebook.' And she said, 'No, not this picture.'"
Sordelli said that after seeing the throwback photo she realized that "only one person should have that picture." She immediately messaged Hindes and said, "'I think I’m the woman you’re looking for.'"
It was a full circle moment for Sordelli, 52, who is adopted herself. She placed Hindes up for adoption after having her at "16 or 17 years old," and being raised in a very religious family. In fact, her adoptive father was an episcopal priest. And unlike her search for her birth mother, which ended in disappointment because her birth mother did not want to meet, Sordelli was thrilled to finally met her daughter face to face.
"I wanted her to make the choice to find me. I didn't want to push myself," Sordelli explained. "She has parents. They are her parents; they raised her. I’m just the birth mother. I wanted her to find me if she chose, when she’s ready."
She added that she gave Hindes "up for adoption not because I didn’t love you, but because I did."
"I did not have the means nor the money to take care of her and I thought she deserved a better life," Sordelli, who never had any additional children, continued.
Sordelli had battled cancer twice herself, having been diagnosed with breast cancer. The first time was when she was 17 years old.
"Heritage is so important," Hindes. "It’s so important for us to learn about the science of our bodies. If we don't have that I don't think we’re living our fullest life."
The two women met for the very first time Friday inside Minneapolis St.Paul International Airport. Sordelli flew in from Illinois to spend a few days with her daughter and meet her grandchildren. She's just in time for her grandson Daniel's fourth birthday party.
"The kids adore her," Hindes gushed. "Anything that Aimee wants to be involved in, I want her to be here."
And Sordelli is already planning her next trip to St. Paul.
"It's such a wonderful love story. It really is," she said emphatically. "It’s come full circle and I’m just overwhelmed with joy."