Raymond was speechless. He glanced at his younger brother, then his eyes darted back to the entrance to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport baggage claim.
The woman continued to walk slowly toward them — then she froze.
“Elsie?” Anthony called out, his voice a tone higher. “Raymond?” she asked.
It was an emotional reunion between a mother and her sons that had been 46 years in the making. “I love you,” she whispered, kissing both men on the cheek again and again.
As they hugged their mother, Abreu and Wiggs were surrounded by their children and girlfriends, members of the media, airport employees and curious travelers — each perhaps trying to understand what they had just witnessed.
Separated in Puerto Rico
Many months of late-night calls — and a DNA test — had led to that life-changing moment. Now 64-year-old Elsie Ramirez was finally face-to-face with her sons, Raymond, 47, and Anthony, 46. She hadn’t seen them since they were infants. Before the meeting, she had been anxious. “I feel the butterflies … and felt like a new butterfly,” she said as she hugged her sons.
Ramirez said she left Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, in the 1970’s shortly after her relationship with her husband broke down. He was in the military and stationed at Ramey Air Force Base.
Soon after the couple’s relationship soured, social services in Puerto Rico became involved and the brothers and their mother were split up. Raymond Abreu — 10 months older than his brother — moved in with his grandparents. Soon after that, his father took him to San Antonio, Texas.
‘I think my dad panicked’
Meanwhile, baby Anthony had been adopted by the Wiggs family. Marta Wiggs and her family called the boy “Mikey,” a nod to his birth name.
She fondly recalls the morning in 1971 that her late husband called and told her about a little boy who had been dropped off at the base’s social services office — and who needed a home.
“I think my dad panicked,” Anthony Wiggs told CNN. “He didn’t know what…