At 63, and as an adoptee, Margaret never dreamed she would get the chance to hug her “baby” brother. As a matter of fact, just a few weeks ago, she didn’t even know she had a brother. Nor had she ever so much as laid eyes on anyone who shares DNA with her, other than her own children. Then she met Vince.
Margaret, as a young girl, alongside a childhood photo of her biological father.
Margaret was born in 1958 at a home for unwed mothers in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. She was adopted at birth by the two most loving parents who raised her in a nurturing, supportive family. She is happily married, her children are grown and doing well. And then a couple of months ago, Margaret reached out to us because she was finally ready to know. Names, information—anything, really, to connect her to her birth family. No matter what she might learn, no matter how much or how little, happy, sad, unexpected...at least it would be something.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my experience helping adoptees discover and connect with their biological families, it’s the power of knowledge. Most people I work with just want to know.
The answering of long-held questions—especially those so deeply rooted in one’s identity and reason for existence—has a profound effect on a person’s entire worldview and their connection to self. So many adoptees I work with would just be happy to be able to put names to their birth parents. Photos of anyone in their biological family are a bonus, but certainly not expected.
Solving mysteries of such enormity, starts with simply gaining information about one’s family origins that was previously unknown. I have heard it described as feeling like an invisible weight lifting from your heart and mind, or like removing a veil that cannot be seen or touched or understood by anyone other than by those who were also adopted.
So the chance to actually meet and have a face to face conversation with another human being that shares your same bloodline, your same ancestors and culture and traits can seem like a faraway dream. But this is what we do every day at BirthParentFinder.com. Truly, our first job is to provide knowledge. Our next task is to bring people together. To bring families together.
This time, like so many before it, the family mystery would be solved using entirely DNA and genetic genealogy.
Less than a week after getting Margaret’s case, I called her one afternoon and gave her the news: I had found both her birth mother and her birth father. At long last, she would finally have names.
The hardest part of my job is informing clients that one or both parents are deceased. But the silver lining can always be found in the siblings, the aunts, the uncles, the nieces and nephews. Once a client has gained that foundational knowledge about their birth parents, they soon discover that family is everywhere!
That day, Margaret learned she had not one, not two, but EIGHT half siblings—two through her father and six through her mother—that she previously never knew existed.
When I spoke to Margaret’s paternal half-brother, Vince, on the phone for the first time, he was understandably overwhelmed. Once he had absorbed the genuine shock (of learning he had a big sister he’d never known about!) he told me how he and his only brother had not had a relationship of any kind in 15+ years. He described the loneliness he felt over the loss of that irreplaceable sibling bond.
At that moment, all I could think about was Margaret. Here she was, never having known any biological siblings of her own and here was Vince—her real life biological brother—aching to get to be a brother again. It was so magical, so moving, it almost felt surreal. Whatever you want to call it, the universe, a higher power...it was all aligning for the two of them.
A few days later, I had the great privilege and honor of introducing Margaret and Vince to each other over a Zoom call. Vince brought his wife and Margaret brought her husband. Margaret had told me before the call that she felt strangely nervous and that even though she had a million thoughts running through her mind, she wasn’t sure she’d know what to say!
Once the call started, though, Margaret was electric. Her jitters were nonexistent and she and Vince had a pure and instantaneous connection. Right off the bat, it was obvious that the two siblings share two of the rarest gifts: they are both achingly funny and uncommonly kind. And even with almost exactly 10 years between them (9 years, 11 months and 10 days, to be precise) and having spent their whole lives apart, it was as if nothing had ever been anything other than exactly how it was in that moment.
The icing on the cake? This newfound brother and sister live less than 2 hours’ drive away from each other.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks later. I get a text from Margaret. Along with several wonderful photos of Margaret and Vince and their spouses meeting in person for the first time, were these words:
“Izzy we can’t thank you ENOUGH for helping us find each other! 💕”
To which I replied, “Ok, you guys can go ahead and adopt ME now.”
All kidding aside, I can honestly say I have never met two people more caring, more loving or more generous with their spirits than Margaret and Vince. I feel emotional just in knowing they have each other now.
For us at BirthParentFinder.com, another happy ending. For them, the beginning of a whole new chapter.