Adopted woman finds biological mom decades later through Ancestry.com

Two local families have one story they hope will inspire people to never lose hope.Joanne Loewenstern, 80, wa...

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 1:02 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 1:02 AM

Two local families have one story they hope will inspire people to never lose hope.

Joanne Loewenstern, 80, was adopted as a baby and lived her entire life never knowing her biological mother, until this week.

The best part; her mother, Lillian Ciminieri, now 100-years-old, is also still around for the reunion, nearly a century in the making.

On Wednesday, they spent time together coloring a picture at Lillian's nursing home.

It was only their second time ever spending time together. They take no time together for granted.

"They didn't get to color together when she was a little girl, but it's never too late to color with your mom," said Elliot Loewenstern, Joanne's son.

Joanne's family knew how badly Joanne wanted to know about her past.

"Many nights I sat and cried, believe me," Joanne said.

She was 16-years-old when she found out she was adopted. 

"1964 I found out I was adopted ... I was told two days after I was born, my mother died."

But, even if she wasn't alive, Joanne wanted to know more about her mother.

Her daughter-in-law, Shelley Loewenstern, decided to take a chance and created an Ancestry.com account about a year ago.

"She was in pain and I could see it. She was always saying I don't know where I'm from," Shelley said.

She knew it was a long shot since they did not have much information to go on.

"All she remembered was her mother's birth name," Shelley said.

Fortunately, that was enough.

Samson Ciminieri recently created an Ancestry.com account, too.

Shelley got a message that she got a "hit" and reached out to Samson.

"She asked me if I knew a Lillian Feinsilver. I said yes, that's my mother," Samson said.

Feinsilver was Lillian's maiden name before she became a Ciminieri.

"Without his DNA we wouldn't have found her," Shelley said,

They quickly decided to meet.

Joanne not only meeting her mother for the first time about a week ago, she also learned she had a half-brother, Samson.

But, the family's mystery isn't over completely.

Joanne's mother, Lillian, was clearly never dead as she was told to believe.

Lillian's caretaker, Rose Marie Ciminieri, said Lillian told her a story about a daughter she "lost."

"She had the baby in the hospital. She said the baby died," Rose Marie said.

Lillian never mentioned knowing she gave a child up for adoption.

'I think I'm the little girl that she lost," Joanne said.

Now, they know both are alive. Their relationship is unquestionable.

"I look like her, the eyes … I knew that she was my mother," Joanne said.

"Look at the fashion sense of the shoes. Look at the shoes!" Shelley laughed.

Why they were truly separated, Joanne might never know. Lillian's memory from 1938 is foggy.

But now, they focus on making the most of their time left together.

"I'm proud. This is something I wanted to do all my life. Now, I'm through," Joanne said.

She also wants to inspire other adopted families, to seek answers if they want them.

"Children should know that if they want to find their roots, they shouldn't be afraid to do it."

Another part of the story that amazes the families is how close they live to each other after all these years.

Joanne is in Boca Raton. Lillian is in Port St. Lucie.

Joanne and her family hope to visit Lillian as much as possible, potentially on the weekends.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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