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‘I found the brother I never knew’

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‘I found the brother I never knew’

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“Imagine being almost 40 years old and always knowing you were adopted but never being able to find anything about your biological relationship.” Brian Warthen 38, born and raised in Lakeland, Florida has had to live with these feelings every day. Married with two biological children and two step children, Brian was adopted as a baby by Renay and Robert Warthen and his been searching for his biological family on and off for the last 10 years. Even with the tremendous help and support from his wife Stephanie and his ancestry DNA kit, Brian has come across nothing but sealed records, closed doors one right after another and a countless amount of dead ends and was moving no closer to finding not one person that he is biologically related to. That is until a few months ago, which is where my unexpected journey also began.

This new chapter in my life came neatly wrapped for my 27th birthday in a silver package with a purple bow tied around it. Always growing up being told that I am Polish; Polish this, Polish that, so finding out just even the basics of my ethnicity was the biggest thing I was hoping for when receiving my ancestry DNA kit from my family. But little did I know the skeletons hidden away in my families deep, dark closet that was about to reveal something so much more, something that would immensely change my life forever. Something so much bigger than my 51% Polish background.

The anticipation every day, keeping my phone tightly clenched to my hands, checking my email daily waiting for that one email with the subject titled “Your results are ready!”. That night began my quest, anxiously sitting at my busy kitchen table with my mom and sister, comparing all of our results and scrolling through our DNA match lists to see all of the distant relatives we may share. We come across the unknown name in my match list of Brian Warthen, appearing in my category of “close family-1st cousins” these results seriously baffled all of us, considering we had never not once heard his name pop up in any family stories. Taking into consideration that he was not a relative that I shared with my mother we knew he had to have been from my father’s side. With my family continuing to exclaim “This is really weird you do not know him, people in this category are people that are typically close to you. You should send him a message on here.” This kind of uncertainty, curiosity and encouragement prompted me to send out the first message I would ever write to this biological mystery man.

Prior to writing this, seeing that he had not logged on since October of 2017 I knew that my chances of receiving a reply back soon if at all were extremely slim. This time lapse error was not going to stop me. This was just the beginning, and the flame in my curiosity and need to know was well lit and in full heat. I began clicking around on his profile page the next day searching for anything that could lead me to who he might be in reference to my life. Over the next few days of looking over graphs of family relations, snooping on strangers, google searches, diving into our lovely Facebook search bar. I came across the Facebook page of a Brian Warthen of who I presumed to be with all of my research, as a long lost half- brother of mine. With all my ducks in a row I decided it was time to confront some well trusted family members, and find out for sure if these assumptions were true. My family came clean with me and told me that my father indeed did have another child prior to me that was given up for adoption and that the topic was to never be brought up again.

The bond of a sibling is something like no other and is incomparable to anything else. I officially felt like I was at a dead end. That was until fate would have it that I received a reply on Ancestry from him, stating that he has always known he is adopted and has been looking for his birth family. One of the most heart wrenching phone calls of my entire life took place the next day. The words “I am super excited we connected. Thank you for continuing to search for me. Looking forward to being a part of your life.” gave me the relief that I craved that my story may very well have that fairy tale book ending that everyone hopes for. One week later with a booked plane ticket I am getting ready to make the most incredible, irreplaceable trip of my life. Nothing will ever replace the joy that I will soon receive from stepping off of my plane and giving my one and only biological brother my first hug ever and starting the relationship we have never had the chance to have. When one chapter ends the other begins.

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‘I found the brother I never knew’