This was a surprise not like any other — a son reuniting with the mom who put him up for adoption. Stacey Faix was only 15 when she got pregnant and made the tough decision that she would have to put her son up for adoption. She never even got to hold him. Since the baby’s adoption records had been lost in a flood, it was difficult for the man to find his mother.

A law that went into effect in November 2017, however, changed all of that, helping her son find his way into Stacey’s arms.

The new policy allowed adoptees to obtain birth certificates that had their birth parents’ names listed. Stacey had no idea that her biological son, Stephen’s Strawn, was working on finding her. He sent his information to an agency and a month later, he received his birth certificate.

The following year, he surprised his mom at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, where she was running with members of Team Red, White, and Blue, a social organization that supports veterans. Right before the marathon, Stacey was given a letter that read: “It’s been 13,075 days since you last saw me. I didn’t want to make you wait one more.”

She turned around to discover her son, now 35 years later, and received the hug she never got when he was born.

Stephen had tracked down Stacey on Facebook in April and decided that he would surprise her at the marathon. He explained their initial contact on social media, telling Inside Edition: “It was a big sigh of relief. I sent her a message and said, ‘Hey, I have a really weird question.'”

He continued: “I said, ‘Did you put a baby boy up for adoption in 1982?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘I think you may be my biological mom.'”

He told Inside Edition: “I got really choked up and teared up. As we were holding and hugging, she said, ‘I never got to hold you’ and that kind of just broke my heart. It was a prearranged adoption and it was not recommended for her to hold me.”

Stephen added: “We must have hugged about 10 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.”

The mother and son then ran the marathon together, with Stephen saying, “The race was great. We finished in 2 hours in 50 mins but it was never about speed.”

Many people weighed in on the touching story on social media with one person noting: “Every child should have the right to know who his/her parents are, even if the parents don’t want the baby. The law should protect the most vulnerable (in this case the baby).”

Another commenter shared their own similar personal story, explaining: “I was adopted at the age of six and found my biological Momma and the rest of my family when I was 30! I am the youngest of 15 siblings! What a reunion that was!”