After More Than 40 Years, Facebook Helps Woman Reunite With Family That Cared for Her After Surgery | NBC Bay Area

After More Than 40 Years, Facebook Helps Woman Reunite With Family That Cared for Her After Surgery

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    After more than 40 years and 500 miles, an amazing reunion took place in the Bay Area with a big boost from Facebook. Scott Budman reports. (Published Friday, Jan. 2, 2015)

    After more than 40 years and 500 miles, an amazing reunion took place Friday in the Bay Area. 

    Leticia Bustos was 8 years old when she came from Tijuana to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1969 to have surgery.

    Pat Sherman and her family in Palo Alto took Bustos in to recover.

    "They needed families to take the children before and after the surgeries," Sherman said of ReSurge International. The company, formerly Interplast, provides reconstructive surgical care for children and adults who lack access.

    "How can they be so lovable with someone they didn't even know," Bustos said of the Sherman family's love and affection Friday.

    "And I thought I'm gonna love this kid for the rest of my life," Sherman said.

    But after several hospital visits and bonding with the people she called her second family, Bustos went back to Tijuana and lost touch with the Shermans.

    "It broke my heart ... I thought about her for years," Sherman said.

    Bustos and the Shermans were able to reunite after more than 40 years of losing contact with each other thanks to Facebook.

    "I said 'oh my god that's her," Sherman said of the moment she found Bustos on the social network."It was the happiest moment of my life."

    On Friday, Sherman and Bustos looked through old pictures and introduced new family members by starting where they had once left off.

    "I was just thinking that after 43 years I could never imagine we could be together again," Bustos said. "I cried a lot."

    Bustos' surgery and the Sherman's decision to take her in helped launch the once-called Interplast, which has Stanford roots. ReSurge International has since provided more than 100,000 surgeries for people in developing countries.