A young boy born with a congenital condition had an adorable reaction when he was introduced to a woman who shares the same limb difference as him.
On the same day that Colleen Tidd found out that her son, Joseph, would be born without a fully formed left arm, she stumbled upon the Florida chapter of the Lucky Fin Project, a support network made up of people with a variety of limb differences. Ever since then, the organization’s community has been a source of help for Colleen and her husband as they raise now 15-month-old Joseph, along with their two older daughters.
“I found their website and Facebook page and it just brought this sense of comfort,” Tidd, 28, tells PEOPLE. “I realized, ‘Hey, I have a community here.’ “
As Tidd formed friendships with the local members of the group, she soon discovered that many of them had never met in person, so she organized an October meet-up near her home in Orlando that was attended by nearly a dozen families.
“It was just a great sense of comfort, not only for Joseph but for us as a family, to see everyone else in person,” Tidd says of the gathering. “And we wanted to show Joseph that, hey, he will be able to do anything.”
During the meet-up, Colleen and Joseph met 34-year-old Amy Alamillo Siesel, who was also born with an underdeveloped right arm.
“I was bullied quite a bit and constantly inundated with questions about my arm,” Siesel, from Seminole, Florida, tells PEOPLE. “I struggled with insecurity. As I became an adult, however, I gained a newfound confidence in who I felt God made me to be. I began to embrace my limb difference and love the lessons it taught me, hard as some of them were.”
It was at the gathering that day that Siesel and Joseph’s paths crossed for the first time — and in a touching video of their introduction, Amy is seen reaching out to Joseph to give him a “fist-bump,” before the young boy lunges toward to give her a big hug instead after he noticed their similarities.
“He wasn’t feeling well that day and he didn’t want anyone to touch them the whole time, until he fist-bumped with Amy and realized like, ‘Wow, she looks like me,’ ” Tidd recalls. “This meetup was originally more for me than it was for him since he’s so young, but for him to have realized that he has someone that’s like him — it just hit. It was comforting.”
Siesel — who is also mom to a 3-year-old son — was all smiles as Joseph laid his head on her shoulder and quickly became comfortable with his new friend.
“When he came over to hug me I felt like my heart might explode… I never imagined he’d melt into my arms that way,” Siesel recalls. “Some people question the authenticity of the moment but they weren’t there. Everyone watching was in awe and we could all clearly see how much Joseph understood in that moment that we were the same. I’ll cherish that moment forever.”
Tidd hopes that — while Joseph is still young — meeting Siesel and the other families that day hopefully showed him all the great things he can one day become.
“Everyone’s unique. It doesn’t make them different. Because he’s got a disability or deformity, it doesn’t mean he’s not going to be able to do everything,” she says of what she hopes Joseph understands as he gets older. “There are people out here in the world that, even if they have a difference, nothing’s going to stop them because they’re just going to find a different way to do it.”