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Published Wednesday December 18th, 2019 at 7:44pm

Original Article by Ron Eland

Birthmother Emmalyn Paulette Moody Reunites with Daughter Lisa Wright
Lynne Moody, left, and her daughter Lisa Wright outside Mariposa on Friday, Dec. 13. After 54 years of wondering where the other may be, Lisa Wright was reunited in the summer of 2018 with her biological mother, Lynne Moody, who considers Sedona her secon

On June 2, 2018, Lynne Moody received one of the best belated Mother’s Day gifts a mom could ask for — a daughter.

What makes Moody’s story even more touching is that the gift took 54 years to be delivered.

On Dec. 10, 1964, then- 18-year-old Moody gave a baby girl up for adoption, knowing that she couldn’t care for her. In fact, during the delivery, a towel was placed over Moody’s eyes in order to avoid seeing her daughter and thus becoming attached. The teen was then sent away to live in a home for unwed mothers, never knowing the fate of the child she gave up.

Now jump ahead more than a half century.

Lisa Wright knew from childhood that she was adopted but was always curious as to the makeup of her ethnicity. So, she decided to try DNA testing and within a short time got her results.

“It was really by happen­stance,” Wright said. “I just wanted to know what I was made of. I was interested in my DNA. I did 23andMe for no other reason than I saw their commercial and I was curious.”

On Memorial Day of last year Wright got her results and the next day clicked on the website’s tab that lists possible relatives. The name Carlton Moody came up as an uncle. People can contact one another through the website, and Wright reached out to her possible match.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Wright said. “I didn’t know if I was not wanted to be found. I was very cautious.”

That was on a Tuesday. On Wednesday Carlton Moody responded and said he’d like to talk. Moody and Wright connected that Friday and Moody asked her what she knew about herself, starting with her birth date.

“I told him that I was adopted as a baby and that my mother was very young and had come to Los Angeles because she wanted to make it in Hollywood,” Wright said. “She knew she loved me but couldn’t take care of me. Before I could finish, he stopped me and said, ‘Lisa, you are my niece.’ Now, I’m in my office, sweating and crying. He said he knew exactly when his sister had her baby and then said, ‘As of this minute, you are my favorite niece.’” 

Moody told Wright that her mother never stopped loving her and was always looking for her, adding that she never married or had additional children. Finding her was made difficult because Lynne Moody had given up all rights and was given no information. 

Wright asked Carlton Moody if her mother was still alive and he said yes and added that she too was living in Los Angeles. An hour into the conversation Wright finally asked her mother’s name.

“When he said it, I said, ‘Wait a minute, I know that name,’” Wright said. “Sitting at my desk, I Googled Lynne Moody and when her picture popped up, I almost wanted to cry because it was the first time anyone had looked like me. I then realized that I grew up watching my mother on TV and didn’t even realize it. It was amazing information but it felt like a dream.” 

Moody’s acting career dates back to the early 1970s and over time she has starred in numerous television series including “Soap,” “Hill Street Blues,” “General Hospital,” “Knots Landing” and the aptly named, “That’s My Mama.” Moody was also a star of the critically-acclaimed miniseries “Roots” and “Roots: The Next Generation.” 

Moody made the initial call to her daughter and the two talked for quite some time before deciding to meet — the next day. 

“When my brother initially contacted me I was stunned — totally blown away and knocked off my feet,” said Moody, who has been coming to Sedona for decades and considers it her home away from home. “He said that Lisa contacted him and said that he might be her uncle. I said, ‘It’s her, it’s her, it’s her. I know it is.’

“For 54 years I had to learn how to deal with the fact that I had a daughter out there, not knowing if she was dead or alive.”

When that initial call was made and Wright asked if it was her mom on the other end, Moody said a calm feeling came over her, knowing it was the daughter she had given up decades before.

“For the first time in my life I was able to say, ‘Yes, honey, I am your mother,’” Moody said. “I was still nervous. I wasn’t sure if she’d hate me, resent me, accept me, love me. I didn’t know.” 

Moody said every time she attempted to find Wright, she hit a dead end. She even asked for advice from Alex Haley, the author of “Roots.” He wasn’t able to make any headway either because of the confidential paperwork Lynne had signed after the birth.

When Moody and Wright met, the mother and daughter embraced and cried. And since then there has been nothing but happiness, fun and new memories between the two, including a family reunion in Sedona last year. Wright got to meet many of her aunts, uncles and cousins and Moody has gotten to know her grandson, Nick, now 31. 

“It’s amazing what God has done for me and my family when I thought it may never happen and I’d have to live with the fact that we’d never meet,” Moody said. 

After meeting, Wright wished she could thank her adoptive parents for doing what they did and raising her to become the woman she is today. Sadly, Wright’s parents died in 2006 and 2010, but were supportive of her desire to find her biological mother. 

When asked how many times they have seen one another over the last 18 months, Wright wasted no time in answering, “About 150,000 times. We see each other all the time and we love it because we have more than 50 years worth of catching up to do.” 

To that, Moody added, “The last year and a half has been mind blowing from the reactions, to the embracing of her by everyone. Just the way it touches people is a human experience to share and that’s why I love talking about it. It’s a story about love and never giving up. At 73 I’m experiencing a new world as a result of what has happened and I couldn’t be happier.”