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Woman Bumps Into Son She Had Put Up For Adoption at Walmart

Amanda Rector
Uplifting News

Former Inmate Bumps Into Son She Had Placed For Adoption at Local Walmart

She had placed him for adoption 18 years ago.

In a twist of fate that could rival any movie script, Amanda Rector and her son Hunter were reunited 18 years after his adoption in an unexpected encounter at a local Walmart.

This emotional reunion marks a significant chapter in their lives, filled with past struggles, redemption, and the power of forgiveness.


Addiction Took Everything From Her — Including Her Newborn Son

In 2004, Amanda Rector was in the throes of addiction when she gave birth to her second son, Hunter. Born dependent on opioids, Hunter was swiftly removed from her care. Rector had already lost custody of her eldest son, Jameson, and found herself in a dire situation with no car seat, no crib, and no stability. Living with an abusive boyfriend, Rector felt hopeless and knew she couldn’t take her newborn home.

“I hated myself for using when I was pregnant," Rector shared with TODAY.com. “When Hunter came out, he was so uncomfortable, and my heart ... I just shut down. I knew if I looked at him for too long, I would start to hurt, and I couldn’t feel that hurt.”

Rector's situation was dire. Days after giving birth, she was back at the hospital, not for her son, but because her boyfriend had developed an abscess on his arm from shooting heroin. Looking back Rector recalls just how "far gone" she was. It wasn’t until hours later at the hospital that the thought even occurred she could visit Hunter. Then she took a good look in the mirror — literally. She caught her reflection in the elevator mirror. She didn't even recognize herself — hair falling out, bruises, and track marks — she almost turned back. But something compelled her to go to the nursery.

There, a compassionate nurse allowed Rector to spend some time with Hunter. In a dark room with a rocking chair, Rector whispered apologies and confessions to her sleeping son. “All those feelings I had been bottling up cracked wide open,” she recalled. Still, she felt powerless to change the direction her life was headed in. She rocked him to sleep, put her baby back down in his crib, and left. It would be decades before they would embrace again.

She Was Sentenced To Five Years In Prison

4 months later, Hunter was legally adopted by a family in town. Shortly after, Rector’s life took another downward spiral when she committed armed robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison, ultimately serving two and a half years. During her incarceration, she found solace in faith and 12-step recovery programs, determined to turn her life around.

“Anything that was positive or healthy, I did it,” Rector said, reflecting on her prison experience. She sent a letter to Hunter’s adoptive parents, explaining she would attend a different church to avoid any discomfort for them. Although she never received a response, she occasionally saw Hunter from afar, respecting the boundaries of his new life.

A Twist Of Fate In Aisle 7

Woman standing with a young man.

Amanda Rector taking a picture with her son Hunter in Walmart.

Amanda Rector


Fourteen years later, a routine trip to Walmart led to a life-changing moment. Rector was with her eldest son Jameson when they encountered a teenage girl who revealed that her second born son, Hunter, was nearby. Jameson, now 21, had been chatting with the girl when she pointed out his brother was just around the corner.

“I was speechless. I couldn’t believe it was happening,” Rector said. Unsure of what to expect, she feared anger or rejection. Instead, she was met with a warm hug from Hunter.

“I let go first because I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, but he held on,” Rector recounted. They spent the next moments making small talk, both in disbelief at the serendipitous meeting.

Hunter, now 19, had recently discovered his biological mother’s identity and was curious to meet her. “I had just been talking about wanting to meet Amanda, and then she appeared,” he said. “If I wasn’t God-centered, I don’t believe any of this would have happened.”

Sharing Her Experience, Strength, and Hope With Others

Before parting, Rector and Hunter exchanged phone numbers and promised to keep in touch. Their reunion marked the beginning of a new relationship, one built on mutual respect and understanding. Rector, who has been sober for over 17 years, has transformed her personal struggles into a mission to help others.

As a certified peer support specialist, she advocates for those battling addiction and uses her platform on TikTok, where she has nearly a million followers, to raise awareness about the realities of prison and the ease with which one can end up there.


“I’m so proud of her,” Hunter said. “She completely turned her life around, and we’re building a relationship that we never could have had before.”

Amanda Rector's journey from addiction to advocacy, and the emotional reunion with her son Hunter, is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of love and redemption. Through her advocacy, she not only helps others make better choices but also sheds light on the challenges faced by those in the criminal justice system.

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