What is one of your favorite life stories?

One of my favorite life stories is when we found my dad’s biological mom.

My biological grandma found out she was pregnant when she was 16. Rather than sending her away, her father hid her in the house and flatly informed her the baby would be put up for adoption. After enduring sneers and condescending comments for nine months, she found herself in a sterile Columbus-based hospital.

Adoptions were closed in the 60’s, and hospital procedure was to take away the child immediately after birth, attempting to prevent any bond that may change the mother’s mind. So, the baby – my dad – was whisked away to the nursery, while she was taken to a recovery room. That night, my grandma’s feisty sister snuck into the nursery and brought my dad to my grandma. My grandma held my dad, but she didn’t dare take the swaddle off his face. They spent nine months together literally as close as possible, and she feared if she looked at the little miracle in her arms, she would feel too much love. She later shared it was a life-long regret, and she had recurring nightmares until she met my dad some 40 years later.

Adoption laws changed in the 1980’s, and my biological grandma went to the courts to open the access to her file, allowing my dad to find her phone number when he went looking in 2004.

With his birth mother’s name in hand, he dialed the ten digit number. After a few rings, the answering machine picked up. Not sure of who would listen to the message, he only left his name, birth date, and phone number.

Questions spiraled in our minds. Would she call back? Would she be nice? Would she be bitter or angry?

A few days passed before she returned his call. Turns out she and her family had been on vacation, delaying the callback. She was overjoyed to hear his voice for the first time and learn his name. Shortly thereafter, my dad and his biological mom met, followed by a full family reunion a few weeks later.

It was indescribable to see her face and see my dad’s eyes in hers. We have had a close relationship ever since. She is married now with kids, and they all welcomed us with open arms. We all gained family members that year, and it felt like a puzzle piece finally fell into place for my dad.