There’s nothing more special than a bond between a mother and daughter — even if the pair had not seen each other in 20 years.
Estelitta Murg, nicknamed Leah, 42, gave up her daughter, Natalie Rodgers for adoption two decades ago, but when the pair met for the first time during Leah’s surprise birthday dinner among all of her family members, it was as if no time had passed.
Natalie, now 20, can be seen in a video licensed by Caters News walking into the Buckhannon, West Virginia, restaurant, and running into the arms of her biological mother, and Leah had no idea it was coming.
“I knew one day she would be able to see her daughter,” said Leah’s sister, Hope Cunningham, who was there for the big surprise. “They didn’t skip a beat. She fit right in, like she should have been there her whole life.”
Hope told InsideEdition.com she was in her teens when Leah, who was 22 at the time, gave up her daughter in a closed adoption. She had already had two young daughters at the time, and because she was going through a tough divorce, she didn’t think she could handle another one.
"She knew she wanted her to have a better life,” Hope explained. "She struggled with it; these are not easy decisions, but she wanted what was best for her daughter."
Leah also had to give up another daughter for adoption years later, but was able to stay in touch since it was an open adoption.
However, it took Natalie, who moved to Florida shortly after the adoption with her new family, much longer to find her biological mother. Hope explained Natalie was chatting with her adopted mother, Anita, one day last summer, and mentioned that she loved the name “Dakota.”
Natalie was then told she was named "Dakota Love" at birth.
Last month, Natalie finally tracked down her biological mother on Facebook, and reached out.
They were then able to talk on the phone, and share photos to get to know each other.
Despite originally chatting about meeting up around Mother’s Day, Natalie eventually started chatting with her biological brother, Zian, 16, who suggested she come visit as a surprise birthday gift for their mother.
A week ahead of Leah’s 42nd birthday, her husband organized everyone — including Hope, her husband, and her four children — to a restaurant, where they reserved an entire floor.
“She kept asking, ‘Why is everyone making a big deal about this dinner?’” Hope said.
Soon enough, Natalie, who was downstairs with her mom Anita waiting for everyone to settle in, walked through the door, and embraced Leah for the first time in her life.
She even brought a scrapbook filled with pictures of herself through the years as a gift for her biological mother.
“It was like all of her children were there; she feels whole again,” Hope said. “It’s surreal; it’s not something you can prepare yourself for. It was such an emotional moment.”