ELDERSBURG -- For Sharon Kingston, May 23 was the day her dream came true.
On that day, the 27-year-old Eldersburg resident was reunited with her birth mother for the first time in more than 26 years.
Recently, Kingston recalled the dinner meeting, which took place at Vellegias Restaurant in Eldersburg.
"I didn't know what she looked like, but she said I wouldn't have to ask," Kingston said. "I'll never forget it. She walked in the door with two big Mylar balloons; one with a big bear and another, more personalized one that said, 'I love you, Sharon.' "
For Kingston's biological mother, 48-year-old Catherine Naghdi of Millersville, the dinner was bittersweet.
"When we met, we put our arms around each other, and neither one of us really wanted to let go. I didn't want to let her get away again," Naghdi said.
The meeting ended nearly two years of searching for Kingston, who began looking for Naghdi in September 1990.
Naghdi and Kingston were separated in January 1965, when Naghdi gave up her newborn daughter for adoption.
Kingston, who was born Nov. 10, 1964, in Washington, was adopted by Ronald and Dorothy Sczerbicki of Rosedale on Jan. 26, 1965, through Associated Catholic Charities, a non-profit organization of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Naghdi, now married and the mother of two other children, said she contacted Catholic Charities in late 1964 after deciding that adoption would be best for Sharon.
"I was an unwed mother from an upper-middle-class family. They just would not have understood. Those were different times," Naghdi said. "I didn't want my child to suffer because of a feeling of not belonging. I could have stood it, but I didn't think a child could or should have to take that."
Kingston, who was the Sczerbickis' only child, said, "My parents have been wonderful. They have always done everything they could for me. They have always been very supportive."
Kingston was 4 when her parents told her that she was adopted.
As she grew, so did her curiosity about her birth mother.
"When I was 18, my mother took me to Catholic Charities and they gave me some biological information. I found out things like [her biological mother's] hair color, eye color and the ages of both biological parents," Kingston said.
It wasn't until she was 25, married and a mother herself, that Kingston returned to Catholic Charities enlisting help to find her biological mother.
"A friend of mine, who had been adopted, found his mother through Catholic Charities, and it was a good experience. I got excited and thought if it worked for him, it would work for me," Kingston said. "I didn't know how my parents would feel, but they always said if I wanted to find my biological parents, they would help me."
Kingston was assisted by a Catholic Charities adoption search consultant, Tina Nemphos, who located Naghdi and secured her consent to be contacted by Kingston.
Nemphos, a volunteer in post-adoption services, works specifically to help find birth parents.
"Typically, people come to us if we were the placement agency," explained Nemphos. "I don't think a lot of people realize that they can come back to the agency for help. There must be mutual consent, and 90 percent of the time that is the case."
By noticing a newspaper ad for a high school reunion, Nemphos and other volunteers were able to track down Naghdi.
"Apparently, [Catholic Charities] saw an ad in the newspaper trying to locate people who graduated in 1961 from Glen Burnie [High School]," Naghdi said. "Catholic Charities phoned the contact person in the ad, who happened to be a friend of mine."
Naghdi was contacted by her friend, who told her Kingston was looking for her.
After they exchanged letters, Naghdi contacted Kingston by phone in March.
"She [Naghdi] called me on March 30, and it was wonderful," Kingston said. "She said, 'This is Cathy. What do you want to talk about?' I said, 'I guess, life.' She agreed that would be a good place to start."
Naghdi, a secretary for the Social Security Administration in Falls Church, Va., was thrilled to learn that her first-born daughter wanted to find her.
"There are not words to describe how I feel. I never expected that she would want to find me," Naghdi said.
Since their May meeting, the reunited mother and daughter have continued to write letters and share by telephone.
"I hope it continues and keeps getting better. I don't see how it could, because it's great now," Naghdi said. "Her half-brother, Mike, 16, and sister Tammy, 26, are tickled to death."