Adopted woman reunites with grandma days before her death thanks to and Facebook

  • last year
An adopted woman found her mum using a DNA site and Facebook after decades of searching - allowing her to reunite with her grandma just days before her death.

Rachel Ruiz, 35, always knew she was adopted, and was given information about her birth mum - including a handwritten letter - on her 18th birthday.

But it contained limited information, and after unsuccessful online searches and attempts to unseal her records, she was no closer to finding her other family.

She eventually turned to and while her messages to relatives went unanswered, it led her to her grandfather's obituary.

Rachel tracked down her birth mum, Angie Howard, 52, on Facebook - and knew instantly it was a match due to their similar appearance.

And on Christmas Day she got a reply to a Facebook message from her delighted birth mum.

The pair were reunited - coincidently wearing similar outfits - just in time for Rachel to meet her grandmother, Angie's mum, Mary, 91, just three days before she died.

Now Rachel has met her extended family - including half sister who lived a few minutes walk from her home in Lehi, Utah, US.

Photographer Rachel said: "It's like a missing piece.

"My parents are so amazing and I didn't feel like I needed to find answers to complete myself but I'm so happy I found my birth family."

Rachel was adopted AT two weeks old by dad Brent, 65, and mum Marianne, 60.

"My parents that adopted me have always been super open," she said.

"When I turned 18 and my parents had some things to give that my birth mum asked them to give me on my 18th birthday. check

"They gave this beautiful crocheted blanket she made me, she had a baby ring when she was born - a beautiful gold ring - and a written letter which said 'you were with me for nine months. I will never forget you, I hope one day we will meet'."

Rachel received adoption papers, and while sections were blanked out, she discovered she was born in Louisiana with the surname Deveraux.

She searched on Facebook but couldn't find family members, and later turned to in 2014, where she had a few DNA matches.

She messaged Richard Deveraux but she didn't receive a response.

No closer to finding family, Rachel went before a judge in 2017 but was unsuccessful in attempts to get her records unsealed.

Rachel said: "It was another disappointing road block - I kind of gave up after that point."

In 2022, Rachel studied her adoption papers again, with husband Felix, 33, and spotted something she hadn't noticed.

She said: "It said my grandfather was a professor at.....and there was a blank.

"I was born in Louisiana so I thought it said LSU but my husband said it looked like a bigger acronym.

"I could just about make out what it said underneath and it read UVCC - standing for Utah Valley Community College.

"I Googled Richard Deveraux UVCC and his obituary came up."

It included six children - including three daughters who she found on Facebook.