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updated: 5/12/2014 6:06 AM

Illinois mother reunited with son after 44 years

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Associated Press

ROCKFORD -- An Illinois mom was reunited with her son on Mother's Day weekend after being separated more than four decades, a surprise meeting she called a "marvelous blessing."

Diane Pope gained one more family member when Greg Harris -- whom she was forced to give away at birth -- decided to surprise his birth mother, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday.

Pope stepped into the living room of her daughter's Rockford home to see Harris, 43, of North Carolina, waiting with a bouquet of flowers on Saturday.

"Oh my God. I have to make sure I don't fall down," the 60-year-old Pope said at the sight of her son.

After Pope gave birth to him in 1970 at age 17, her mother gave Harris up for adoption without Pope's knowledge.

But it wasn't until February that Harris, a former police detective, learned he was adopted. This prompted him to retrieve his original birth certificate and track down his biological family on Facebook. Soon after, they planned a reunion in June where Harris would also meet his birth father in Chicago. He decided to surprise his mother a month early instead.

Since Harris' birth, the mother and son have gone on to have families of their own. Harris is married and has two teenage children. Pope has several children and many grandchildren.

"It's amazing. You've got a whole new family now. Look at them," Pope said. "This is the best Mother's Day ever. Nobody give me anything else ever again."

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