“He was only three when I last saw him. I can still see his face and curly head of hair … Almost as clear as yesterday.”
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Hope Holland’s son, Jonathan, was taken from her more than 20 years ago. He was just a toddler when in 2000, his father, Hope’s ex-husband, suddenly vanished with him. Naturally, Hope threw herself into finding her taken child: “The only focus I had during those first three years was finding my son. How I went about looking for him is a complete blur, but that was the only thing of importance to me.” For years, though, the trail went cold.
It wasn’t until 2006 that Hope caught a major break. The investigator on the case managed to track her ex-husband to San Diego, California. For a shining moment, it looked like Hope would be reunited with her son after several years.
But then, the unthinkable happened — the investigator working the case disappeared unexpectedly. Hope waited months for a replacement, and that person adopted an alarming tactic for trying to recover her missing son: directly notifying Hope’s ex of the investigation, and requesting that he contact the District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit.
“I begged him not to do that,” said Hope, who feared such a move would only cause her ex to cross the border into Mexico. And that, sadly, is exactly what happened.
Despite such a devastating setback, Hope continued to live up to her name. She attempted to pursue leads about Jonathan’s whereabouts whenever she could over the next decade. However, Hope was still the single mother of her older son, Jacob. She had to work hard to support her household, leaving less time to devote to finding Jonathan.
It wasn’t until 2015 that something remarkable happened — a chance discovery that would change everything.
While signing up for an online video training session, she was prompted to “like” the company’s page. She initially thought it was somewhat of a nuisance, but after following the instructions, a slew of photos popped up on her screen… and one of them caught her attention.
She saw a picture of her sons Jonathan and Jacob as small children in the bathtub — a photo that she herself had taken!
Hope described her reaction moments after realizing that, quite by chance, she’d found her missing son. “Tears uncontrollably fell down my face, my hands were shaking, my body was shaking.” But what next?
She noticed that someone else had liked his photos, a person who turned out to be good friends with her son. Through him, she gained Jonathan’s contact information and she learned her son was all too eager to reconnect. Three days later, Hope spoke to Jonathan for the first time in a decade and a half.
They agreed to meet on July 1, 2015. Finally, after 15 long years, Hope was able to wrap her arms around her long-lost son.
“I’m so happy,” Hope told ABC 10 when they interviewed her about the reunion, “And it’s a miracle. [I] never thought this would ever come.”
Jonathan was still a high school student in Mexico, so he vowed that once he finished classes, he’d move back to California to live with Hope. It’s a promise that Jonathan kept, successfully moving back home in the fall of 2016.
To learn more about this dramatic reunion story, watch the video below. And if you were touched by the love of a mother who never gave up on seeing her child again, please share this remarkable story.
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