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Belgian woman successfully finds her Filipina mother after an epic 38-year search

All through April, we learned about and followed Caroline Van Gils’ decades-long search for her Filipina mother. It was a search of epic proportions. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” the language teacher from Belgium said in a previous episode of “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.”

At the time, she had met a few members of the Dechino family from Bacolod. However, the only person to have possibly encountered her as a baby was already suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Changes in name, a race against time and death—such were the difficulties that Caroline encountered during her 38-year search.

In tonight’s episode of “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho,” Caroline and the rest of the Philippines learned that 65-year-old Lelia Mahayag really is her mother, confirmed by DNA tests.

Both their stories had the same beginnings: Caroline was born Connie Dechino on October 9, 1979 in Bacolod. Lelia Mahayag was her mother, who got into a relationship with a married man. As such, she had to keep her relationship, and the baby, a secret. 

To keep it low-key, Lelia handed Connie to her cousin Asuncion, but quickly, the newborn developed diarrhea. Not knowing what to do, Asuncion gave baby Connie to an orphanage, where a Belgian couple adopted her and  changed her name to Caroline.

A happy reunion for Caroline and Lilia!
A happy reunion for Caroline and Lilia!

To make sure they are indeed related, they both agreed to undergo a DNA test. Caroline flew back to Belgium and Lelia back to Bacolod afterwards.

On “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” tonight, we saw the mother and daughter happily reunite. It was a surprise get-together too, as Lelia did not know Caroline was already back from Belgium.

“My adoptive mother gave me all the tools that I needed to have a good life. But the emotional concept was missing," Caroline said in an earlier episode. "The warmth of the family bond, I missed it."

Perhaps their reunion and the confirmation will keep Caroline warm throughout her life. — LA, GMA News