Mother's Day reunion for biological Mother & Daughter 29 years after adoption

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The year was 1983. 16 and pregnant, Malia Akiona decided adoption would be best for her baby girl.

"I always put her first and thought what kind of life do I want for her" explains Akiona. "Since I can't provide that kind of life for her, then I need to find a nice couple who can."

After her daughter was born in January, 1984, Malia says there time together was priceless. "I had 3 days with her. I'll never forget that. I took a lot of photos."

Then, just like that, a nurse carried Malia's 8 pound girl to her waiting adoptive parents, Phyllis and Charles Fernandes.

Phyllis described picking up her daughter from the hospital. "She was 3 days old when we got to pick her up from the hospital. She was a very quiet, easy baby."

The Moms never met, but a promise was made. As Malia put it, "Her parents always told her she was adopted and the role I played in her life. They always assured me that they would let her know."

For a while, Malia received pictures, but time went on, their adoption attorney moved, and she lost touch. However, in her words, "Never did she leave my mind or my heart. I knew one day she'll find me or I'll find her."

Two years ago, Malia decided to open up her adoption records at the Kapolei Courthouse. Turns out someone else was searching for her. Her then 27 year old daughter Kalei visited the courthouse that same week.

"I mailed in my application and a week later, I got a phone call from her" explains Malia.

When asked what Kalei said, she answered with a giggle, " I just said Malia? I think I'm your daughter."

It was a rare reunion. As Kalei describes, "We were the talk of the courthouse for a little while. They said that never happens."

"Definitely fate" they said in unison.

They share the same style, smile, and in a twist of fate, same neighborhood. Kalei grew up just minutes away from her birth mom in Hawaii Kai.

Malia had no idea her daughter was so close by the whole time. "I always did look around" she explains. "Girls her age as she grew older. It's just so strange how we lived 5, 7 minutes apart and never saw each other."

Malia's confident she would have recognized her daughter, because of their resemblance. Looking through photo albums, Malia says, "When I look at these I just think, Wow. What? She looks just like me." Kalei concurs, "That's the picture that looks exactly like me, so scary."

Other people noticed too. According to Kalei, "Random people would come up to me and ask me are you Malia's daughter? Because they're like you look just like her. And she loves getting oh, is that your sister?"

Kalei's mom who raised her from 3 days old is convinced they must have "crossed paths, but weren't really conscious of looking for somebody that looked similar."

Their families met for the first time this easter, exchanged photo albums, and mind boggling connections.

"My principal in high school" starts Malia. "Was my uncle" explains Kalei and Phyllis chimes in, "was my husband's brother."

"And her cousin dances for my uncle at Halekulani and she used to babysit for my family" adds Kalei. "Yeah, it's crazy."

Now that they've found each other, they're making up for lost time.

"I wanted her to have good parents and a great life. Turns out she did" says Malia.

And Kalei concludes, "It's just like a fairytale."

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