The love between a parent and a child is unbreakable. Years and distance can make people lose touch, but that does not mean the love diminishes. For better or worse, folks try to live with the good memories embedded in their souls as a way to move forward, hoping and praying that one day they can reunite with their loved ones.Jeanine Toomay and Starla Medlock were just one and two years old, respectively, when the divorce took place. It would be the last time they would get to see their mother. Lani later remarried her current husband Mark Szarmach but she still missed her babies.
He met Lani in Thailand, fell in love, and married. After the divorce, however, he relocated back to the United States with his daughters. He had full custody of the girls.
“He just said that she couldn’t speak English because she’s full-blooded Thai, and he said she thought since we were American and he was in the military, he could take better care of us and provide us a better life than she could,” Starla told ABC News.
For years they tried finding their mother without any success. “We thought, ‘We can’t keep doing this anymore. We can’t keep doing this to ourselves. We have to accept that we’ll probably never meet her.’ It was a chapter in our life that was never going to be finished,” Starla admits.
“There’s a picture I see of this family, and I see mine and Jeannie’s baby picture. I’m laying in bed and my husband’s laying next to me and I’m going, ‘Oh my God,'” says Starla. Lani and her husband live in Pueblo, Colorado. “Lani wanted to find them but she didn’t know how to and because she had such limited information there weren’t any diligent searches,” Mark explains. “But she’s often cried herself to sleep and talked about her daughters and how she has to find them someday. That night she asked me to help her find them, and we jotted down the information we had.”
“I opened up an album and that baby picture popped up. I was in shock,” Mark says about finding the same photo his wife carried in her wallet for the past 42 years. “I came running out of the bedroom and said, ‘Honey you’ve got to come see this.’ I showed her that picture and she just started bawling.”
On New Year’s Eve, Lani and Mark flew to Kansas City to meet the two daughters she had last seen as infants.
When they touched each other, Starla said “It felt like time stood still. It just stopped. For Jeanine, “I felt like that piece in my heart was just filling up. It was no longer a void there.”
As for Lani, she has plans and time to make up. “We’re going shopping for making Thai food,” Lani said.”We’re going to go to the Asian store to look for all kinds of food and I’m going to cook for them. I’ve waited so long to cook for them.”