Many a time, those who are adopted hope that one day they will be able to find their biological parents. One such adoptee is a man in New York who took nearly 65 years to find his biological mom. When they finally heard each other for the first time ever, his mom broke the silence with three words—then they “both lost it.”
Wayne Grow, of Oneida, had been trying to track down his biological family for decades, but was met with difficulties as his birth mother did not sign up for New York State’s adoption registry when he was given up for adoption. To find his birth mother, Grow even considered hiring a private investigator to help him, but that would’ve cost him $3,000.
Unknown to him, Grow’s biological mother, Dorothy Thompson, was also looking for him, the baby she named Gregory, after she gave him up in 1954. She was still in high school at the time.
“There was no way I could support him, so I had to let him go for adoption,” she told WSYR-TV. “I always wondered where he was, if he had a good home, what he was doing…the normal things you think about, and I’d keep thinking you know, I wish someday I’d see him.”
In the later years, Thompson moved around and eventually settled back in New York with her two daughters, Deborah Fox and Laura Shelter.
“When we were young, we were told very little and it was never discussed all these years, never brought up—ever,” Fox said.
Shelter later tried searching for her older brother, but to no avail.
“I was told one time that he was adopted by a plumber, so I tried to call every plumber in Georgetown and I got nowhere. It was like it was a dead-end,” Shelter recalled.
Grow later bought a DNA testing kit, which cost him $79 through Ancenstry.com. When the results came back, he didn’t expect there would be a list of DNA matches that included his first and second cousins.
Grow finally saw some hope.
He was finally provided with his mother’s home phone number after a few email exchanges with one of his cousins.
“I’ve got the number. I’ve got the name. I’m just going to do it. I’ve just got to do it. I’m not going to think about it,” Grow recalled telling his wife. “It rings and each ring seems like about two years between a ring.”
But Thompson missed his call. When she heard his voice message, she was taken aback and hoped that he would call back. The next morning, he rang again.
“There was this long pause on the other end and she says, ‘You’re him!’” Grow recalled. “She goes like this, ‘You’re my son!’ and at that point we both lost it.”
The mother and son soon realized that they were living quite near to each other, as Thompson had been living in Canastota.
They had dinner that night.
“She opened up the door and she just flung her arms around me, and I did around her, and we didn’t even say anything. We just cried,” Grow recounted their reunion.
Having finally found their older brother, Shelter said: “A hole in my heart has been filled. It’s like, just a peace has come over me. I’m a different person, just overnight.”
“She tells me that she had a son and that he found her and it was like … I had to hang up. I couldn’t talk to her. I couldn’t hear her. I was just crying. I was just so happy for her,” Fox said. “I can’t even imagine. All those years, and to think that he was just down the road.”
As for Grow, he said: “I’m happy. I feel more alive. My family is complete.”
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