A mother is reunited with her eight-year-old son. Our cameras were rolling during the long awaited reunion.
This mother and son have been a world away from one another since he was just a toddler.
It all started when she won an unusual lottery. She was launched into one of the biggest struggles of her life.
"I couldn't afford to take care of him," Solange Noumbissie said. "I just hope that he understands, you know?"
Solange was born and raised in Cameroon, Africa. When her baby boy was just a few months old, a friend entered Solange into a lottery offered by the U.S. government. The prize? The winner would receive a United States visa, a chance to live in America.
This young mother amazingly won.
"What did I do to deserve this? I don't know, just God," she said, smiling. "Just God. That's all I can say. It's just a gift of God."
Escaping a life of poverty in Africa was a chance of a lifetime.
"I have been so, so blessed to be here," she said.
Coming to the U.S. would mean she would have to leave her one-year-old baby behind to be raised, temporarily, by her sister.
"In life, sometimes you make choices," she said, crying. "You don't know if it's going to pay off, but you have to take those risks because I didn't have any future for him over there."
When she moved to America in 2005, she did not know a soul. She spoke only French and started working in a Burger King kitchen.
Now, she is fluent in English, a U.S. citizen, has a college degree and is several years into her nursing career.
"I've been through a lot to be where I am today," she said.
Another accomplishment? She was finally granted a U.S. visa for her now 8-year-old son, Yannis. We caught up with Solange hours before her son's plane was to arrive in Houston. He was headed to live with her for the first time since he was a baby.
"I didn't sleep. I didn't sleep," she said, smiling.
She spent all night looking at the clothes she bought him and the toys a friend gave.
"I just want to hug him really bad," she said, smiling.
But she was also afraid.
"I feel like I don't really know him," she said. "What if he comes here and he doesn't like me? What if he doesn't like it here? I can't go back (to Cameroon) because there's nothing for me over there, definitely nothing for him over there."
She nervously arrived at the airport.
Her eyes lit up when she spotted Yannis and she bolted to embrace her baby.
"I can't believe just how big he is," Solange said, laughing. "I am overwhelmed with joy right now. I am so excited. I am so, so excited. I waited seven years for this."
Yannis seemed equally excited to see his mom and he loves his new coat, which she was afraid he wouldn't.
"Yes, he asked me if it was his," Solange said. "I was like yes, it's yours".
As she heads took her handsome guy home for the first time in seven years, he reached for her hand. It's a love that apparently has lasted being years and miles apart. Another and son changed forever thanks to a lottery and the land of opportunity.
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