For the first time in 25 years, a mother and daughter were reunited in Lancaster County.
A Harrisburg woman braced for the moment of her life when she finally gazed eyes on her own flesh-and-blood.
Tears streamed down each other's faces as Rachel Peachy told a long walk across a luscious green field to unlock a 25 year-old secret: her biological mother.
Peachy's cousin, Jeffrey Nolan, captured the emotional embrace on separate professional-grade video cameras.
For Harrisburg area native Nicole Smith, it was truly a walk to remember.
“To look at her, she's just absolutely beautiful,” she said.” “She's perfect.”
Both met at Longwood Park in Lancaster County. For the 25 year-old Peachy, the moment was surreal.
“It feels like I'm floating, I really do,” she said. “It's just a dream.”
Both adjusted to the new reality that mother and daughter are reunited. Smith's family came to their Paxtonia home to meet Rachel, who flew in from Oklahoma.
Smith told the tough story about her decision to offer her newborn daughter up for adoption. Choking back tears, Smith said she was not ready for motherhood when she had Rachel.
“It was the hardest thing to do,” said Smith. “But, when I read that letter … I've had the loving family I wanted.”
Both spent most of the day at Smith's home in Paxtonia. Even though their relationship in person was less than a day old, Peachy said the bond between the two was innate.
“I've always known her. I was just like I met a friend. I met a long lost friend who I haven't seen in a long time,” she said.
The two became connected once again after Peachy hired a private investigator and located Smith in Harrisburg. Smith received a handwritten letter on Mother's Day and said her heart sank.
“I knew right then and there. I was in the driveway, and I thought I was just going to faint. I couldn't even hold myself, contain myself,” she said.
Smith said she immediately picked up on the birthday of August 8, 1988.
Rachel was adopted by Leroy and Elizabeth Peachy, a Mennonite family, and lived in central Pennsylvania until age six. She lived the majority of her life in Oklahoma without television, movies and most modern technology until 18 when she went to college.
Peachy said it was her lifelong goal to one day meet her biological mother, and said her adopted parents were always supported of her wishes.
Smith said she wants to be as much a part of her daughter's life as she wants.
“[Elizabeth Peachy] is her mother, that's who raised her,” Smith said. “But, she is welcome into the family. Everybody is excited.”
For Peachy, she agrees this relationship will now be forever.
“It's only going to get better,” she said. “I already know that. She's in my life for a reason.”