MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. – It was a reunion Luz Cuevas thought she'd never have.
On Thursday, Cuevas was brought together with her 6-year-old daughter — a little girl she thought had been killed in a house fire soon after her birth.
"She said, 'She called me mommy and she accepts me,"' Philadelphia-area Rep. Angel Cruz (search) said Friday during a national television interview.
Cruz, who represents the neighborhood where Cuevas lives, accompanied her to the reunion. He said the mother was "thrilled" to meet the child she had named Delimar Vera.
Cuevas and the girl's father, Pedro Vera, met the little girl at a government office in New Jersey on Thursday, the same day a judge approved a plan to grant the parents custody, said Cuevas' lawyer, Andrew Micklin (search).
"She got a hug and kiss, her daughter sat in her lap. The moment she expected six years ago, she got it last night," Cruz said.
Cuevas and Vera are no longer a couple, Micklin said.
Authorities say the girl was taken from her crib in December 1997 by Carolyn Correa, 42, who then set fire to the home to cover up the kidnapping (search). Cuevas had long believed that her daughter was alive, even though authorities said she had died in the fire.
Cruz said that a language barrier between authorities and Cuevas, who speaks Spanish, may have led to confusion about whether a body had been found in the fire.
Officials say Correa raised the girl as her own until January, when the two ended up at the same birthday party as Cuevas. At the party, Cuevas had a hunch that the girl — introduced to her as Aliyah Hernandez — was really her daughter.
DNA tests confirmed her hunch, and Correa was charged this week. She is being held in Philadelphia on $1 million bail.
Under the custody arrangement, Cuevas and Vera will share legal custody, but the girl, who will keep using the name Aliyah, will live with her mother. Micklin said the transfer of custody will be a gradual process.
The girl does not speak Spanish and her mother speaks very little English.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.