After recently turning 50 years old, Stacey Faix was in line to participate in the 2018 Pittsburgh half-marathon. And like most events of this nature, the long-distance run promised to be a memorable day for all involved. Yet little did Faix know just how unforgettable the day would prove to be.
Many would probably argue that Faix is something of a supermom, anyway. After all, she’s raised two daughters into adulthood, and she plays an active role with Team Red, White and Blue (RWB). This is a social organization that lends support to war veterans. In fact, it was this organization’s colors that Faix sported during the half-marathon.
Yet not everyone knew about the heartbreak that had manifested inside Faix since her adolescence. At the tender age of 15, you see, she gave birth to her first child – and then had to give him up for adoption. “They didn’t want me to hold him. They didn’t recommend it,” Faix explained to WTAE in May 2018.
In the years after the birth of her son, however, Faix hoped to regain contact with him as an adult. Her efforts proved unsuccessful, though. So for many years, it appeared that there would be no way for the pair to be reunited.
It turned out that the necessary documents had been washed away in a flood some time after her baby was born. This meant that, at the time that Faix had initially been searching for her son, the chances of a reunion had been extremely slim. But then in November 2017 a law change came into effect – and it would give them a fighting chance.
That’s because the law had changed in the state of Pennsylvania – where Faix’s son, Stephen Strawn, was born. So now adoptees are allowed to ask for access to their original birth certificates. These would naturally include the names of their biological parents.
Strawn wasn’t immediately aware of the law change, however. It was actually his wife who alerted him to the possibility of finding his mother via this route. Upon becoming aware of this legislation, though, he swiftly set out to see if this legal avenue would be open to him.
To do this, he delivered his information to the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Then, a month later, Strawn’s birth certificate arrived in the mail. And the name of his biological mother was written on it. He now had a decent chance of tracking her down.
Strawn’s first port of call was Facebook – and he was successful. He sent her a message the very next day. The message read, “Hey, I have a really weird question. Did you put a baby boy up for adoption in 1982?” When she replied that she had, he wrote, “I think you may be my biological mom.”
Faix immediately assured Strawn that she had been trying to look for him too. And then the pair continued communicating and learning about each other. Strawn subsequently became aware that his biological mother would soon be running the Pittsburgh half-marathon for Team RWB. That was when the cogs started turning in his head.
Coincidentally, you see, Strawn himself was a part of Team RWB’s Ohio branch. So with the help of other charity members, he began to organize a huge surprise for his mother. Strawn later said the support that he received was overwhelming. It was even arranged for local media to film the reunion.
On the day of the half-marathon, then, Strawn had to be careful not to be spotted by his mom. At one point, he even hid in a chemical toilet to ensure that he wasn’t seen. Luckily, his biological sisters were in on the surprise too, and they helped orchestrate the perfect moment for the two of them.
So before the race began, one of Faix’s daughters handed her a card. It read, “It’s been 13,075 days since you last saw me. I didn’t want you [to] wait one more day.” Then a shocked Faix turned around, and her long-lost son was there to give her a huge hug.
Neither party wanted to end the embrace, in fact. Strawn later told Inside Edition, “We must have hugged about ten different times. We get done hugging, look at each other and then hug again. It just felt really surreal that it was finally happening because it happened so fast.”
Recalling the most emotional part of the reunion, Strawn said, “I got really choked up. As we were holding and hugging, she said, ‘I never got to hold you.’ That kind of just broke my heart. It was a prearranged adoption, and it was not recommended for her to hold me.”
The pair then went on to run the Pittsburgh half-marathon together, clocking in a time of two hours and 50 minutes. Of course, the event had become more about spending quality time together than breaking any personal bests. And after the race, the whole family continued to make up for lost time over dinner.
The family have remained in touch ever since too, and their story has garnered a lot of attention. In fact, the reunion made national news, with sites such as ABC News, Inside Edition and WTAE each bringing the tale to wider audiences.
One of Strawn’s biological sisters also shared news of the reunion on Facebook. That post attracted plenty of well wishes for the family as well. “I am just brought to tears of joy watching this video capture such a special moment,” said one commenter. “What a beautiful reunion. I would hug him forever also. Many years of hugs to make up for,” said another.
Shortly after the half-marathon, Strawn and his wife traveled back to Pittsburgh for the college graduation party of one of his sisters. The couple shared plans to invite the whole family to their home in Ohio too. So it seems as if the distance between the two families won’t stop Strawn building a solid relationship with his new-found mother and sisters.
Reacting to the incredible events, Faix told ABC News, “For the parents who had to give up their children for whatever reason, don’t lose hope.” And describing the day as “something you see in the movies,” Strawn concluded, “Everything was perfect.”