I got the hug that I had wanted for the last 27 years, and that broke the ice. I asked if I could have it, and she said, 'absolutely,' and just held her arms open, and the rest is history. —Katheryn Deprill
A woman who, as a newborn, was abandoned in the bathroom of a Pennsylvania fast-food restaurant said she has found her birth mother just three weeks after launching a search that garnered worldwide attention, and as her mother prepared to look for her.
Katheryn Deprill, 27, said Tuesday she felt "pure joy" when she met her biological mother for the first time Monday at an attorney's office. And, after she learned the sad details of her conception and abandonment, she said she understood why her mom did what she did.
"She is better than anything I could've ever imagined. She is so sweet and amazing. I'm so happy," said Deprill, who has become known as the Burger King Baby.
The woman had decided about six months ago to launch her own search for the daughter she gave up.
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. That caught the attention of the woman who abandoned her, and she came forward to attorney John Waldron, who arranged for them to meet.
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, an EMT and married mother of three who lives outside Allentown in South Whitehall Township, said she embraced her mother.
"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.
Deprill declined to address the circumstances of her abandonment, referring those questions to Waldron.
The attorney said the woman said that, as a 16-year-old, she was raped while traveling abroad and became pregnant. The woman said she hid the pregnancy from her parents and, after giving birth in her bedroom, felt she could not take her newborn to the hospital because she would have to answer questions.
Waldron had his staff prepare for the reunification with flowers, chocolates and boxes of tissues. Deprill, who had launched the search with the blessing and encouragement of her adoptive parents, was accompanied by her adoptive mother and her youngest son, 7-month-old Jackson.
"It was one of the most emotional, joyful, dramatic, exciting things I've ever seen," Waldron said, adding there's no doubt in his mind that his client is Deprill's mother.
"If you sat there for five minutes and heard them and watched them and observed them and looked at them, you would know," he said.
Deprill said her birth mother expressed regret during their tear-filled meeting. She said she forgave her "110 percent, absolutely."