She grew up as an only child. Then, suddenly, at the age of thirty-three, she gained a brother. I know, I know, you’re doing the math right now and thinking what a huge age difference. You’re also wondering how that is even possible. Well, it is, and I’ll explain.

I had three older siblings. I had two brothers who were fourteen and eleven when I was born, and a sister who was six. That’s a fair-sized difference in ages, but that’s not the same kind of situation I’m talking about with this young lady. She is not thirty-three-years older than her brother. In fact, she is two-years younger than him. She is our daughter, but her brother is not our son. Are you confused yet? Please, let me explain. Ashley, our only child, was adopted. Jean and I waited twelve years for her. We married in 1975 and she was born in 1987. She was six-weeks old when we adopted her. Talk about a sudden adjustment in lifestyle, we had one. Because we adopted through a privately run adoption agency, those records were sealed and not public. We never met her birth mother. We never had any idea who her birth parents were or where they lived, and vice versa. We didn’t want our daughter to grow up alone, so we attempted another adoption a few years later. The night before we were to leave to pick up a son for us, and a baby brother for our daughter, the birth mother changed her mind. We were heartbroken. We never attempted another adoption, so our daughter grew up alone with no siblings.

Growing up, we never discouraged Ashley from trying to find her biological family when she got older, but she never said too much about trying. A little over a year ago, she and her husband decided to do an ancestry DNA analysis. At that time, she was exactly the same age I was when she was born. She had tried numerous times to find information about her biological parents, but had run into nothing but dead-end streets. She didn’t have much hope of finding any family information through DNA analysis. Much to everyone’s surprise, six weeks later she got her results back and had extremely close matches. She was shocked to find the names of uncles and cousins. Then the real shocker came. After all those years of thinking she was an only child, she actually was not. She has a brother who lives in the same state where she was born. Last week, Ashley, her husband, and son, had the joy of meeting the brother she didn’t know she had. Until only a few weeks ago, her brother didn’t know he had a sister either. Here’s the really amazing thing, although they traveled two states from home, she met him up the road from the city where she was born and where we adopted her. But that’s not all. She and her brother met one another on October 15th. That happened to be the 33rd anniversary of the exact day that we adopted her! Talk about God winking at you! She visited with her newly discovered bother and his family that entire weekend and they had a blast.

I am so excited for Ashley and her brother. I’m excited that she now has more family members to love and be loved by. I am also thankful to God for the privilege of having a wonderful daughter for all these years, of whom I am so proud. She made me a dad, a father-in-law, and a grandfather. That has been, and still is, one of the greatest joys and blessings of my life.

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.

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