It’s hard to imagine going into a candy store at 4 years old and when you come out, your mom is gone, and you’re all alone in a busy transport hub. That’s what happened to Mika Cheesman. But she never gave up hope of one day finding her mom.
In 1975, Mika Cheesman was 4 years old and living with her mother.
One day in late September 1975, the two took a trip to New York’s Penn Station. Her mom seemed unsettled.
The young girl spotted a candy store, and asked if she could go inside.
“I think she said yes,” Cheesman told the Tampa Bay Times.
Her mom waited outside while she went in. But once she exited the store, there was a big problem.
“I went out, didn’t see her where she was standing,” Cheesman told Inside Edition.
Cheesman lost her mother in Penn Station.
The poor girl couldn’t find her mother, but was soon spotted by a police officer. She ended up in the New York Foundling, a home for New York’s orphans and abandoned children.
The Missing Persons Bureau was unable to locate her family, so she was placed into an adoption program. Two years later, she was adopted.
She ended up growing up in Spring Valley, New York. She had no idea her mother had been hospitalized that day she was left in Penn Station, but she wondered if her mother may have been suffering from a mental illness.
But no matter what the circumstances were, she always had the desire to find her mother and family, which continued on well into adulthood.
“I’ve known I’ve wanted to find my family all my life,” Cheesman told Inside Edition.
When she asked about her family, her adoptive parents would always reiterate to her how she was simply left in Penn Station.
But this answer never satisfied her.
It would be decades before Cheesman would be able to attempt to find her biological family.
The little girl grew up and went on with her life, getting married and having children, but finding her family was always in the back of her mind.
In 1999, she got her records from the orphanage, but they weren’t much help. Then in 2001, Cheesman would use a genealogy site to help her search; she simply posted her story on the site, asking for help to find her family.
And someone came to her rescue.
Lynn-Marie Carty was just starting up as a private investigator, and she responded to Cheesman’s plea.
Carty took on the search for Cheesman’s family. Over the years Carty became well known for reuniting families, but she was unable to solve the mystery of Cheesman’s relatives.
She asked Cheesman to take a DNA test in December 2017, and compared the results with several genealogy websites.
“I was determined to solve her case before I left Earth,” Carty told Inside Edition.
Carty made it her personal mission to reunite Cheesman with her family, and January 2018 saw the first real progress for the search.
Thanks to the DNA test, Carty located one of Cheesman’s first cousins.
From there she was able to track down her mother and father—they were both still alive.
Carty was also able to arrange for Cheesman to meet her biological uncle and older sister. The reunion was captured on video.
Understandably, it was an emotional moment for all involved.
It turns out that Cheesman’s grandmother did try to search for the girl, but Cheesman was already adopted at the time, meaning her records were sealed.
She spoke by phone to both her mother and father, who separated when Cheesman was 4. Her father thought that his daughter had died and was overjoyed to find out she was alive and well, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Her mother was overcome with emotion.
Cheesman, now 47, is planning to visit her mother and father later this year.
“All my life I was never angry with my birth family at all,” she told Inside Edition. “I knew that one day maybe I’d find somebody, I’m very happy.”