- Posted February 1, 2013 by
Los Angeles, California
23andme and Search Angel reunite mother and son
Tim was seven years old when he was informed that he had been adopted at birth. His adoptive parents were getting a divorce and they felt that this was as good a time as any to reveal this to him. Tim confided in me that when he learned this he immediately wanted to learn more about his birth mother. For the first three years after the adoptive parents divorced, he lived with his mother. At the age of 10, he moved in with his adoptive father, Russ. As he never really got along with his mother, he decided that he wanted to meet his birth mother. As he put it to me, "I was all set in the father department; he is a great guy and raised me well on his own but my life lacked the maternal side of the equation." However, there is only so much a 10 year old can do. A few years later, his adoptive mother died, leaving a void in whatever maternal needs he sought and increasing his desire to find his birth mother.
Tim is now 44 and 15 years ago he began putting more effort into tracking down his birth mother. Unfortunately, the adoption records had been sealed and he was finding it very difficult to make any progress in discovering her identity. 11 years ago he became a father and he knew that he had to do something because now, more was at stake. Was there anything in his genetics that might be of concern for him or his daughter? Besides, he wanted his daughter to have someone to call "grandma." There were DNA tests available, but they usually ran about $1,500 and he could not really afford to pay $3,000 to have a test run on both him and his daughter; especially when the results were not guaranteed to provide any useful information.
In December 2012 Tim saw an advertisement for 23andme.com, a center that does genetic evaluations of health, disease and ancestry through a DNA test done with your saliva; the best thing about it was that it only cost $99. He was naturally skeptical, but did some research and discovered that they had recently received a $50 million dollar infusion from Wall Street which enabled them to lower their cost to $99 per person. What really sold him though was their relative finder. This feature allows their clients to discover and contact any relatives that have also used this service; Tim had 930 genetic relatives in the 23andme database. He immediately went to work attempting to make contact with as many as he could. It was then that a cousin from Uruguay that directed him to a Yahoo DNA group designed for people that were adopted or had put children up for adoption to discuss their DNA results. It was there that Tim became familiar with Search Angels and he met Diana, his soon to be Search Angel.
Search Angels do the hard work of searching through public records and try to provide information about one's family based on the DNA test results. There are businesses out there that will do this for you, but it can cost upwards of $5,000 and there are no real guarantees. Search Angels do it out of the kindness of their hearts; in fact, Tim offered to pay Diana but she refused payment. Tim provided her with the little information that he had received from his DNA test and in a matter of a few short hours; Diana informed him that she had found information on his mother, a sister and an uncle. After 15 years of looking, Tim took his saliva DNA test on December 19, 2012; on January 20, 2013 Tim's Search Angel provided him the information on his birth family.
To make a long story short, Tim spoke with his new sister, Debbie, and she informed his birth mother that Tim had found them and asked if she wanted to meet with him. On January 30, Tim's mother, Patty, flew in from Hawaii and met her son and her granddaughter. Tim asked me to photograph the reunion to memorialize it, and I was more than willing to do so. It was quite touching.
I got the opportunity to meet Tim's sister online; when I asked her what she thought of all this, her response was quick and simple, "From my perspective, I believe in miracles and this is one."
I also corresponded with Search Angel Diana about her participation in reuniting Tim with him mother and she said, "I am proud to say I have been able to do the same thing for hundreds of people and each one still gives me the chills; in a good way. I was so very glad Tim posted when he did as I had just joined the same group, so he didn't have to spend the money to get the information he needed." Diana suggests that before you pay anyone to help you find your family to seek the assistance of a search angel. Most specialize in different states and can be found on various websites and Facebook pages.
If you would like to read more about this story and see all the photos, you can find it at http://www.gotbaddog.com/search-angel-reunites-mother-son/