Caroline Van Gills was reunited with her mother Lelia Mahayag after 38 years. Photos: Facebook/ GMA - Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho

An ethnic Filipina raised in Belgium has been reunited with her biological mother in Bacolod City, almost four decades after they were separated.

Caroline Van Gills, whose birth name was Connie Dechino, was adopted by a Belgian couple in late 1979 after she had been taken by an aunt to an orphanage, GMA News reported.

Her mother Lelia Mahayag, who is now 65, became pregnant during a relationship with a married man and chose to keep it secret. When  Connie was born, Mahayag handed her over to a cousin, Asuncion.

However, Asuncion gave the baby to an orphanage, where she was adopted. Her new Belgian parents changed Connie’s name to Caroline.

Van Gills and her husband went to the Philippines this month to search for her mother and they were eventually reunited through members of the Dechino family. A DNA test confirmed that Van Gllls was the daughter of Mahayag.

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