My Adoption Story – Brad Watts

Adoption: My Journey updATE 

NBC4

Local woman, son she gave up for adoption reunite 40 years later

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Fox 2 Now Stl Story Link you can share below

http://fox2now.com/2016/02/18/local-mans-reunion-with-birth-parents-siblings-could-affect-missouri-law/

Cincinnati Enquirer Link Below

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/01/07/unsealed-adoption-records-reunite-families/77383544/

People.com link below

http://www.people.com/article/mother-son-reunited-forty-years-later-unsealed-adoption-records

 

This is my story of being adopted by great Adoptive Parents and Family, and how my Birth Parents did the most selfless thing I think any parent can do.  The Journey is amazing and I hope it encourages other adoptees and birth parents to find each other.  I would also hope Adoptive families let their adoptee know they have been adopted and give them the choice to find where they came from.

In May of 1973 my Adoptive Parents Nanci and Byron Watts started calling all adoption agencies in Columbus, Ohio.  Many wouldn’t take their name or if they did, they did not give them any encouragement of getting a baby for 3 – 5 years.  The Methodist Children’s Home told them to keep calling back every few months, and they might be taking names,  They got their name put on a waiting list for application at Catholic Social Services and Franklin County Children’s Services and also at Family Counseling Services.

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One of the letters from MCH

In July 1973, they called back to the MCH (Methodist) and this time they ask their names.  They did not hear back until November of 1973 when they received a letter to go to a group meeting.  This meeting they explained to them along with 15 other very anxious couples their procedure and answered any questions.  They still didn’t give them very much encouragement as when they would get a baby if they were approved.  They got their application and were very very happy to get that far.  They had to get physical exams and also send a deposit of money back with the application.  They got them done within a week because MCH said they would put the order in when it was received.

During the next year They got a few letters saying that they were ahead on the number of approved homes, and that they would do the home study closer to the time they might get a baby.

Finally a whole year after the group meeting they got a letter saying they were going to proceed with their home study.  Their first meeting was at MCH when they met their case worker Ruth Forsha.  She talked to them about themselves and their ideas about adoption.  My adoptive parents were very nervous about this meeting.

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My Birth/ Adoption Announcements

The next meeting was also at MCH but Mrs. Forsha talked to each of them individually.  The next meeting was when she came to their house for their last interview and look to make sure they had a comfortable home for a baby.

After all these very through interviews of all our personal matters and felling, we anxiously awaited their letter of approval.  They letter came February 12, 1975, and we felt they were on their way to actually getting a baby.  They expected to wait around six to twelve months, but on June 30th, they got a call saying they had a little boy born on June 28th 1975 and they could have him if they wanted.

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My Dad Byron Watts Holding me for first time

 

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Mom Nanci Watts Holding me for first time

I was born on June 28, 1975, and went home with Byron and Nanci on July 2nd at 3:30pm.  They were excited when they walked into the room and saw me lying in a yellow gown in a bassinet.  They immediately fell in love with me. The next day they took me to Crooksville Ohio to surprise my Grandparents who had no idea all this had happened. You can tell I was very loved from my Adoptive Family and continue to be.

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Grammy and Grandpa Watts

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Grandma T when they walked in

 

For as long as I can remember, I knew I was adopted – I even had baby books about being adopted! I was raised in a loving home and my parents raised me properly. Without their guidance, love and support, I would not be the husband or father I am today. I also have a younger sister Christi who, yes, I tortured, but that is what older brothers do!  I have a great extended family on both my mother’s side and my father’s side. I have been given so much love from everyone: grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. I have the love and support from my in-laws and all of my wife’s very large and loving family.  With that being said, I have always felt there was something missing in my life.

Adoptive Family Disney trip 2012

Adoptive Family Disney trip 2012

Dad and I Ohio State Game

Dad and I Ohio State Game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My family and I have always wondered where I came from, if I had family who thought of me.  A year ago, the state of Ohio passed a law opening up birth records from 1964 to 1996. The only thing I knew about them was what was written on a piece of paper from when I was adopted.IMG_0755

I waited the year, and in March I applied to get my original birth certificate from the state of Ohio, hoping I would learn more about my birth mother, even just her name.  I waited and waited the three to four weeks it took for the certificate to arrive.  On April 28th around 12:34 in the afternoon I got a call from my wife, Tiffany. She was in tears and I thought something was wrong with our ten-year-old daughter, Addyson, or one of her family members.  She said, “It is here, the certificate is here! What do you want me to do?” I, of course, instructed her to open it and read me what it said.  On the certificate it stated my birth mother’s name was Lori Lee Smith, age 14.  We always knew she was a young mother, but this confirmed it.  The certificate also had her address in the town of Greenfield, Ohio, from 1975.  GreenfieldOhio1

I rushed home and while I was on my way my loving and incredible wife Tiffany (Tiff, for short) called the Greenfield auditor. She was able to get the name of the people who owned the house at the address on my birth certificate in 1975. They had the same last names – these were my birth mother’s parents. Tiff then searched for their names and Greenfield, Ohio, in Google. We found an obituary for Lori’s mother from 2012, and while I was sad that I never got to meet her, this was the key we needed to open the door. We found out that Lori’s last name was now Gray, I had an aunt named Kelley Alexander who still in Greenfield and another aunt in California.

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(Tiff and I)

I had always known how I was going to approach the next step in my journey. I did not know if Lori had married, had kids or ever mentioned me to her family, as this does happen in some cases. I knew I wanted to contact either a grandparent or an aunt. We started with the aunts, but none of the phone numbers that were listed were still working. The only number that worked was my grandfather’s, Lori’s dad. Tiff was the one to call him; I was so nervous, I couldn’t stay in the house so I went outside and walked around the yard for a couple of minutes. Tiff spoke with my grandfather, and he was very polite and confirmed all the details about Lori being my mother. He told her that my birth mother had been very ill and did not know if he would let her know I called. Before Tiff could ask about my birth father, he had hung up. (He is very protective of his family, and I don’t blame him; I would be, as well – they have been amazing).

Tiff, Addy and I

(Tiff, Addy & I Ohio State Spring Game 2014)Tiff and I

(Tiff and I )

Tiff and I then went straight to Facebook. I had found some people I was sure I was related to with their last name being Gray in the Greenfield and Frankfort, Ohio, area, I just did not know who they were. Again, I did not want to contact a half-brother or sister and surprise them with the news that they had an older brother if they didn’t already know. I did, however, think it was important to find my Aunt Kelley in the Greenfield area just to see how Lori was and to make sure that if she was seriously ill, she knew I was okay, that I was raised in a loving home, and that I wanted to thank her for doing the most unselfish thing I have ever heard of. I knew she had to think of me each day wondering if I was okay, how my life was and if she was ill, I wanted her to know that I loved her and that I was okay.

 

Addy and Tiff

(Addy and Tiff)

Thanks to Facebook, I found Kelley Alexander, but I could tell she didn’t get on in a while or follow her page. My wife messaged her and we waited to see if she would reply. While we waited, I found a Brooke Alexander (Cannon) on her friends list. I knew she had to be related to Kelley in some way, so my wife paid a dollar to send a Facebook message to her that said, “Are you related to Kelley Alexander?” This was Wednesday morning, so almost 24 hours had gone by. Brooke soon replied, “Yes, I am her daughter-in-law, why?” I didn’t want Tiff to have to write that I was adopted and so on through Facebook so I had her ask if we could speak on the phone. Brooke said she would be more comfortable if she knew who were were, so Tiff wrote out the whole situation. Brooke was silent for a little bit, but I could only assume she was calling or getting a hold of Kelley to confirm the whole adoption story and figure out how to proceed. Brooke wrote Tiff back in fifteen minutes, but it seemed like fifty hours! Brooke told Tiff that I was not a secret, that not only had I been talked about, but my brothers had tried to find me a few years ago. Tiff asked if I had siblings and Brooke told her that I had four brothers (Matt, Zach, Leland and Silas) and a sister (Evyn). I was floored that I had half-brothers and a sister! Then Tiff asked if Brooke knew who my birth father was… This next part was shockingly amazing.

Cousin Kenzie and Family

(Aunt Kelly’s Daughter Kenzie and her Family)

Brooke wrote back that she didn’t really know him, because when she joined the family, Lori was going through the divorce. Tiff and I both thought the same thing at the same time… “Did Lori marry my birth father?” was the next question.  Brooke said yes, his name was Matthew. Then we asked if my siblings were full blood or half.  She said they were all full blood, we all had the same father and mother. There were more questions with Tiff and Brooke as they messaged back and forth on Facebook for hours. Finally, Brooke said that she was going to give Tiff’s number to Kelley and she would call us the next day.

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(Brooke, Randy and Family)

Kelley called Tiffany during the day on Thursday, and they spoke for around an hour. Kelley wanted to make sure that I held no resentment, no hard feelings because Lori was ill and she did not want this to have a negative outcome, but a positive one. Tiff reassured her that I had a great life and had no resentment whatsoever. Kelley told Tiff she would call us that night because she wanted to talk to me. Tiff also sent Kelley a few family pictures of me.

Around 5:20 pm on April 30, I got a notification from Facebook – someone wanted to be my friend. Matt Gray wanted me to confirm our friendship.  Of course, I accepted and right after that a Jody Stanton and then a Meghan Fout-Gray both added me. I knew then Kelley had to have told them I had been in contact. When Tiff got home, we let Kelley know and we called her on speaker phone. (Just so you know, I am very rarely at a loss for words or so nervous I can’t talk, but I was now. This is why I had Tiff make all the first contacts.) Kelley was amazing on the phone and told me that Lori was going to the hospital the next day to have a tumor removed from her colon. She also said that I was not a secret and that she knew this was all happening at this time for a reason. We agreed that God works in mysterious ways. She then gave me Matt’s number and Zach’s number and said they wanted to talk to me. We got off the phone so I could call them.

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(Matt Jr, and My Birth Father Matt Sr.)

My first sibling phone call was to Matt. Matt is 38 years old (same age as my adoptive sister Christi). I think my first words to him were, “Hey Matt – I hear I owe you 40 years worth of headlocks and abuse!” Yes, I tried to lighten the mood as much as I could – come on, that is how I am! Matt sounded just like me, an upbeat, high energy fun-loving man. He told me about himself and his family. He then went down the list and gave us the names of my brothers and sister. I asked him why Leland age 20 was wearing a Michigan shirt in a picture.  Matt said that Leland and Zach both were Michigan fans.  This, if you know me, was a shock since I have three Ohio State tattoos and I kind of hate Michigan. Matt spoke with Tiff and I for a while and then said he was going to go pick up Leland and go to the gym. He said we could FaceTime with them later after I got off the phone with Zach.

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(Emma, and Zac)

I called Zach, a 32-year-old who looks just like me. He gave us a lot of information on his family and our birth mother’s family.  They had all found out about me around the time of Matt Sr and Lori’s divorce. We sent pictures back and forth and talked about our daughters. It was a very good talk that lasted around an hour. I then told him we had to go and call Matt on FaceTime.

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(LeLand and his girlfriend Kara)

Upon hanging up, I ran to the bathroom and got sick, there were so many emotions going through me. I had just spoken to my aunt and two of my brothers. We then called Matt on FaceTime and saw Matt Jr and Leland for the first time. It was like I was talking to two of me. Yes, all of them not only have my looks, but they all act like me and are very loud and outgoing. Addy enjoyed talking on FaceTime and is very excited to know she has more uncles and another aunt. We let each other go and started sending pictures of our families back and forth until around 10:00 or 11:00 pm.Evyn

(Aryanna and my sister Evyn)

Friday, May 1, 2015, I awoke to a text message from Matt Jr. that he was headed to Columbus to help on a job with an uncle of mine and my birth father, and if I wanted, we could FaceTime at 7:30 am Ohio time, which is 6:30 am St. louis time. That was at 5:50 am, so I had to wake Tiffany up and tell her. Let me just say, I was extremely nervous. I was going to meet my birth father. When Matt Sr. got on FaceTime, my wife and I could see the resemblance. There was no way he was not my father. He looked just like me. We chatted for a half hour or so and learned a lot about each other in that time. It is a moment I will probably never forget.

Silas

(Little Brother Silas)

I then wrote Kelley to see when she was going to tell Lori that I had made contact and sent her a couple family photos. Kelley said she was going to tell her that afternoon on the way to the hospital. I went to work and anxiously awaited word on how the breaking of the news went. Finally, Kelley and Matt Jr. sent me messages that Lori was extremely happy I had found them, and that she broke down and cried. Kelley sent me Lori’s phone number and asked if I would call that, that it would make her day to hear from me. She was admitted to the hospital awaiting a surgery on Monday. I was at work so I couldn’t call, but I did text her. This was around 7:05 pm on Friday, May 1. When I got home and Tiffany got to the house as well, we made the call to my birth mother. I said, “Lori?” We could hear her crying. We both said it was ok and that she had done the correct thing and that I thanked her. I also said, “I think I have waited forty years to say this, but… Hi, Mom.” (Again, me trying to break the tension.) The phone call was short, but very emotional. Lori told me there was not a day that went by that she hadn’t thought of me.

I then spoke to my youngest brother, Silas, while he was fishing, and also got mooned on FaceTime by Leland. Yes, if you know me, this is something I would do (mooning of course!). I made a post on Facebook about my exciting few days and through the weekend, I spoke with cousins, uncles and other family members I now have.

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(Brad)                                                                                                             (Zac)

Well, I know we are going to meet most of the boys in early June, and then after that I will be heading to Ohio to meet the whole family. I didn’t think I could have a better adoptive family, and now I have an amazing birth family. I love them both and can’t wait for the future with both of my families! This is my Adoption Story, a lot of times it does not end up like this… I just got lucky it did.

 

But the story had just begun! I couldn’t wait until I met my birth family, all of them…

 

I know everything happens for a reason, this story is proof of that. Throughout the weekend following finding, calling, and getting to know my brothers, my wife and I started to make a bond with them quickly. It is hard to explain, but for me, I felt complete. Not that my adoptive family kept me from being a complete person, but I will tell you that throughout my life, I have been told to quiet down so many times. All of my brothers are loud like me, at least on the phone and FaceTime. Tiff got close to Leland and Matt Jr. through texting and Snapchat. There have been many times I have walked into a room and see her laughing at something one of them had said or sent a picture of. To me, it is funny because they have my sense of humor and are quick on a response.

I think we spoke with my new family members at least once a day throughout the weekend, and into Monday, the day Lori was suppose to have her surgery. While at work, I was nervous not only for Lori, but for my new family members. I wasn’t there to help them get through this tough time of Lori’s surgery. Half-way through the day, I got a text at work that they might not get to the surgery on Monday because they were trying to fit her into the schedule. Almost immediately after this news, I heard back from Zac, Matt Jr., Leland, and Meghan (Zac’s wife) that the surgery wouldn’t be until Wednesday because Lori’s nutrition level was low. While I was relieved, I also knew the surgery was important and I hoped it would happen sooner than later.IMG_0594

I continued to meet new family members on Facebook. Kenzie Bell, my Aunt Kelley’s daughter, told me her husband Nick travels for work and was actually in Missouri and passing through St. Louis. He offered to pick me up and take me to Greenfield, but I had to work. Kenzie sent me many pictures of the family as did Meghan, sending me pictures of Zac doing funny things like riding his daughter Emma’s bike with her unicorn helmet on (I would have and have done crazy things like this as well). Anything for a laugh right? I also started getting Facebook friend requests from uncles and cousins on my birth father’s side of the family. Some even live as close to me as Springfield, Missouri. This was exciting, getting to know where I came from, how they all act and that I did fit in… it was amazing to me. I didn’t understand how genetics does have a lot to do with how you act and speak, and even your sense of humor. My adoptive family did shape me into being what some would say is a good husband (my wife would probably argue this point most of the time! Haha) and a hard worker, caring, and a, what I hope I am, a great father. I quickly learned that my DNA had a lot to do with my overall personality.

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(Addy and I)

Wednesday, May 6, was the day of Lori’s surgery. I was a bundle of nerves again. I wanted everything to go smoothly for Lori and for all of the amazing family that loved her. Even though I had not met the family face-to-face, I still had a strong connection with them and truly cared about their feelings and Lori’s well-being. The surgery started around 5:30 pm Ohio time, an hour ahead of us in St. Louis. I got off work around 5:00 pm St. Louis time and worked on things outside just to keep busy. I finally got a text from Matt Jr. saying the surgery was done, but they had not spoken to the doctor yet. The next 5 minutes felt like 2 days for me.

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(Tiff and her BFF Deb)

I got another text from Matt Jr. saying it was worse than what they thought. The tumor had spread, and they were testing it and waiting for results that would either come on Friday or Monday, at the latest. It had been a week since I had figured out who my birth mother was, spoke to most the family on the phone, or through texting and Facebook, and I had nothing I could do. I could feel the family’s pain through Matt Jr.’s texts and me being not only the older brother, I wanted to fix everything, or at least try and console them.  Matt Jr. kept saying, “It isn’t good man, it isn’t good.” I texted back, “We all have to be strong for her, keep thinking positive – that is the only way she will get better. Negative thoughts and vibes would bring her down even more.”

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(Addy and Tiff Rocking out Love These two)

 

After speaking with Leland on text, I found out Silas was worried about what would happen with him if something tragic would happen to Lori.  Leland assured him he had a lot of family, even some in St. Louis now, that would help take care of him. I never heard from Zac that night, I could tell they were all hurting. I was as well. I decided to leave my phone with my wife, and try to get some sleep. There was nothing I could do to make things better and they boys were with each other staying strong.

Zach Family

(Zac, Emma, Meghan)

Let me start this paragraph by saying my wife Tiffany is amazing and is not only very creative, but caring as well. I woke up before her and texted Matt Jr. to see if it would be okay if I could come and stay there from May 8 until that Sunday May 10. I would only have to use one day off from work, and I would be here for Mother’s Day (which was also Addy’s 11th birthday, both on the 10th). I didn’t think there was a way I would be able to head up the 8th through the 10th, but I was wrong. Tiffany had already told Matt Jr. and Kelley I would be there after I got off work on the 8th and come back on the 10th. When she told me this, I was shocked that I would be traveling by myself to see my birth family. I first cleared it with Addy and she was at first sad that I wouldn’t be here for her birthday, but I assured her I would be here for some of it and she would be able to open her gifts when I got home. I was extremely excited, nervous and probably a little scared to make this journey on my own. It is a six-and-a-half-hour drive and I would be thinking about it all the way to Ohio.

 

 

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On Friday, May 8, I went to work planning on working until 5:00 pm when I was scheduled to get off, meaning I would get to my birth mother’s house around 1:00 am Ohio time. I went to work talking about how I was making this journey to see my family, and also to see my birth mother, Lori, who was really ill. My managers at work were amazing and let me leave early.  Tiff and I got my rental car and I headed out of town as soon as I could. I wasn’t going to let anyone know, but Kenzie wrote me and told me to have a safe trip. I wrote her back seeing if she could keep a secret and let her know I was on my way. Matt Jr., was texting with Tiff and she let him know so he could meet me at a main exit where I could follow him to the house. Kenzie then wrote me to see how close I was and that Zac, Meghan and Emma were at her house; Silas called to see if Zac was coming over around midnight, the time I was supposed to arrive. She asked if she should let him know I would be there early. I told her to go ahead and I would be there shortly.

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(Addy’s Reaction to me Hitting the Ohio Line)

The Washington Courthouse was the setting for where I would meet Matt Jr. for the first time. We planned to meet in front of the Walmart. When I arrived, I texted Matt Jr. to see where he was at. He was running late, so I ran in to get a six pack of beer – I was sure I would need some that night. While I was walking out, Matt Jr. texted me saying he was there and in the parking lot. Matt Jr. came flying around the corner in a red pickup truck (I don’t know how he got the trunk in park so quick!), jumping out of the truck, jumping up and down saying, “I don’t believe you are here!” I said, “I don’t believe I have a brother!”

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(Matt Jr and I after we met for the First Time)

We gave each other five and then embraced in a hug that was well overdue. Matt Jr. said, “Jump in, do you want to go meet you father?” and of course said “Rock on sir.” Jumping in the truck and taking a selfie of Matt Jr. and I, we headed to Matt Sr.’s house. I did not know what to expect, but when we pulled into the driveway I could see his back while he was welding and working on his hobby, fixing up old Hotrods. When he turned, he came over and gave me a hug. We then spoke for a little bit of time and he showed me some of the Hotrods he has built and what he had been working on.

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(Me, Matt SR. (Birthfather, and Matt Jr.)

I was amazed at how much I looked like him and how we felt so comfortable speaking to each other. It was not awkward at all – Matt Jr. being there helped out a lot because him and I already had a bond.  Matt Jr. and I then went back to my rental car and I followed him to Lori’s house.Meeting 1

When we finally arrived at Lori’s home, it was dark and there were no lights. I could see there were plenty of cars in the driveway, and saw some dark figures coming toward me to say hi. The first figure was Leland; we gave each other five and hugged. I then met Silas and Zac. While this was supposed to be just us brothers, there were plenty of others awaiting my arrival.

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(Silas and I)

When I opened the door, I think someone told me there were around 40 people there in the home, all excited to see me. The first person I wanted to see was my Aunt Kelley.

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(Kelley and I)(Kenzie and I) (Brooke and I) (Randy and I)

She and I gave each other a hug, and I made her pose for a picture with me. I then found Brooke and gave her a hug – without her and Kelley, none of this would have happened. Of course, I spoke to all the brothers and cousins, including meeting Kenzie and Christian, my new nephews Isaac and Preston and Emma, my new niece.  I wasn’t overwhelmed (I think most would be), but I had a strange calm feeling like I belonged here and there was a reason all this was happening at this time.

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(Leland and I)                         (Zac and I)

Over an hour or so, most of the extended family left and just us boys were there. We just talked about life and got to know each other as best we could. Matt Jr. had to leave, but we made plans to meet Matt Sr. for breakfast. I then went to bed in Lori’s room. This was a little strange, to think I was going to sleep in my birth mothers bedroom after wondering about her my whole life. It was sort of an unreal feeling.

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(Matt Jr. and Isaac)

On Saturday, May 9, I woke up early and went through the pictures I had taken on my phone the night before. I also called and spoke with Tiff about how everything was going. I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming, but I really did fit in and my new brothers and I had so much in common.  Matt, Isaac, Silas and I all went and met Matt Sr. for breakfast. Sr. was with his friends, they were all talking and giving each other crap about this or that.  Matt Jr. and I jumped right into the conversation. They also asked questions about my life, about how and where I grew up. I assured them that my adoptive family raised me, loved me, and provided for me with as much love as if I were their own.

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(Sr, Me, Matt Jr. and Silas)

After breakfast we (Matt Jr., Isaac, Silas and I), met up with Leland, Kara, and Preston. We then headed to the hospital. The moment I didn’t ever think would happen was about to. I knew Lori was sick, but I didn’t care – I wanted her to be assured that I was fine and raised perfectly. We all took an awesome selfie in the elevator up to see Lori.

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I was nervous going into the room (I don’t do well when people cry). To make sure Lori didn’t cry I walked in and said, “Mom, we have to stop meeting in places like this!” She chuckled a little bit, but I could see she was tired and a little uncomfortable. She explained to me that she got to hold me for twenty minutes when I was born. I then said I could sit in her lap now, but I had gotten a lot bigger in the last 40 years. We talked for around an hour or so, but we all could tell Lori was getting tired we decided to leave and head to lunch.lenI - 1

I had Leland, Silas and Kara all in my car and we went to pay some bills and grab lunch. We ended up at BWW and spoke about many things. We also joked a lot. It was weird, to say the least, to sit at lunch and talk to a 20-year-old (Leland) who looked like me and also joked and reminded myself of myself. I am amazed at how much genetics really are involved in our selves. Lunch was great and we really needed the time to get to know each other.IsaacnI - 1

Baseball was our next outing. Matt was at Isaac’s game with Preston and we ran up to the field to join them and cheer Isaac on. Isaac got a great bunt down the first time up to plate. I was excited to see him run to first base and that I was able to be there and see him play a game. Matt and I talked throughout the game. I don’t know if you would have been able to tell that he and I didn’t know each other only a week ago, we acted like brothers that grew up together. When the game was over, it was time to go to the tattoo parlor. All the brothers were getting tattoos to support Lori and her fight against cancer. I was the last one to get his ink as the other boys had gotten it done during the week. While getting the ink done, Silas saw our sister, Evyn, across the street. He ran out to see how she was doing and to let her know I was in town. Evyn has been going through her own battles with drugs. She told Silas she didn’t want me to see her like she was. I understand that someone won’t be able to get better until they want to, I just hope she realizes that we are all there. [[even though she has hurt most of the family and taken things so she could get high,]] She needs to know that if she really was to go get help, she would have the family behind her.

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(Preston)

Saturday night we were all at Lori’s house. Zac was cooking the food and I got to sit and talk with him more than I had before due to the fact he was working during the day.  Zac and I talked about the family, I learned a lot about my birth family from all of the family members. I really treasured the time I had speaking with Zac, Matt Jr., Silas and Leland when we were alone.  I wanted to play catch up with these guys! I did have 40 years to catch up on. Emma and Meghan (Zac’s wife and daughter) were outside as well, and I learned a lot from Meghan about Zac. And Emma, well, Emma is a cute, energetic little girl who reminds me of my daughter Addy when Addy was her age. Emma was shy around me and I don’t think she understood who this guy was that looked so much like her father.Zac and I - 1

 

(Zac and I)

After the food was done and before we ate, lots of cousins showed up with their families. This is when Matt Jr. announced, “Let’s spilt up in teams for a football game!” If you know me, you will know I usually end up getting hurt, not to mention I was the oldest and biggest out on the field.  Of course our two hand touch turned into full on tackle quickly. This was a new experience for me. My adoptive family is mostly girls, while my birth family is mostly boys. The game was awesome, we all hand fun and then went to eat some of the food. I had some time to get to know my cousin Randy, his wife Brooke and their kids, Kenzie and her husband Nick and their kids, Cousin Christian and her husband Chris.

IMG_0769 1kenzie and Randy n I - 1

 

(Christian, Me, and Chris) (Kenzie,me, Randy)

The bonfire was awesome with all of us standing around it and watching the fire burn. Oh! And we burned a couch… yes they are totally related to me! Before everyone left, I got them all to pose for a photo and also a video birthday greeting for Addy. The night couldn’t have gone better and it was time to get some sleep since I had to leave in the morning.Group - 1

 

Waking up on Sunday, May 10, I knew I had to get ready to drive home, but before the six hour trip I wanted to see Lori again. I also had a breakfast planed with Matt Sr. and three of his brothers. I woke Silas, Isaac and Leland up. I knew Leland wasn’t coming, but Isaac and Silas wanted to come see Lori.  I said goodbye to Leland and hugged it out before we took one more crazy selfie. We picked Matt Jr. up at his house and headed to the hospital. Lori was still in bed but she looked better than she did the day before.  We talked for a little bit and then headed out.

IMG_0777

I had to be at breakfast thirty minutes away in an hour.  I dropped Isaac, Matt Jr., and Silas off at Matt Jr.’s house. I think saying goodbye to Matt Jr. was really tough, since him and I had gotten close in the last two weeks and he is just like me. We embraced and said we would see each other very soon. They are suppose to come to St. Louis on June 5th for a couple of days. I know Addy and Tiff are extremely excited. I headed to Bob Evans to meet Matt Sr. and his brothers. Matt Sr, David, Melvin and Mark were all waiting on me. David gave me an awesome Ohio State hat and shirt.  Meeting the new uncles was great! We all talked about family, they asked about me and I learned about them, how they grew up. I really fit in with these new family members as well. I got to spend about an hour and a half with them before I had to head out on the road for my travel back to St. Louis. We got a great picture of all of us, said goodbye and I headed back to celebrate Mother’s Day and Addy’s birthday. The drive home was tough. I wanted to get home, but also did not want to leave the new family. The connection I made with the new family members has been amazing – I fit in with them all and we had a lot of fun.

We waited most of Monday to hear the results of some of the tests. Monday came and went and we didn’t get any news, but half-way through the day on Tuesday, Kelley called my phone while I was working. I texted Tiff to have her call Kelley to see what was up and Tiff called me back saying Kelley was screaming on the phone. I didn’t know if this was good or bad, it ended up being good. Yes, Lori has some cancer left in her body, but the doctors think that they can heal her with Chemo and she will be back to 100 percent. This was awesome news! My family will get to meet her and learn about her.

This has been an amazing two weeks. Again, I know lots of adoption stories don’t end this way, but they sometimes don’t even have a chance with many states still not having opened their adoption records. Well, this has been the story of my life the last two weeks, and I hope you all enjoyed it! I am so thankful to everyone in my life, new and old family members, and glad my amazing wife Tiffany really did a lot of the work to get in touch with the new family.

Brad Watts

19 Responses to “My Adoption Story – Brad Watts”

  1. April Cooper says:

    Awesome!!
    You look just like all the Gray guys!! My grandmother Connie & your great-grandmother Evelyn were sisters so that makes us some kinda cousin!! LOL
    So happy for everyone…& sending prayers to Lori. I can’t wait to telly my mom Penny about this. Her & Lori are close in age & were close friends growing up.

    April Cooper

  2. Shelley Davis says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I pray for our 5 adopted children to be successful in their search to find their bio parents. Only two are actively searching now. It is the right of ever individual to at least try to reconnect with their roots. I understand if their bio parents aren’t receptive t that idea. If not I hope that at the very least they are able to get all medical information they need.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Harriet Eitapence says:

    What a wonderful story. Amazing. Thank you and your family for sharing your story with all of us. Also thank your adopted family for letter you catch up with your birth family. You are going to have a fantastic with all of you new relatives. I recently lost the last two siblings that I had in my family.

  4. Kelly Simpson says:

    I can’t believe how special this story is. This has given me momentum to start my day at 10:52 a.m. So happy for you. You all look great and so much alike! Thank God “Mom” is going to be okay.

  5. marilyn needham says:

    A lovely story, and long may it be so, hope your mum continues to get better. Love to you all, Marilynxxx

  6. Shirley Purdy says:

    Your story is a beautiful one.It touched my heart,as I was also adopted at birth.I am in touch with my birth mother but do not know who my father was.I was adopted by my birth mothers’ first cousin and his wife,an older couple.They were good parents.I was very close to my Dad and spent a great part of my childhood with him.We had a small farm and I loved spending time with him.My parents were in their mid to late 50’s when they adopted me.

  7. Lan says:

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  8. sonia bj says:

    may 11 2016
    brad watts..beautiful and faithful story and I heard this statement: NOTHING HAPPENS IN GOD’S WORLD BY A MISS STATE” AND THERE IS ANOTHER STATEMENT: “IF YOU SUPPLY THE WILLINGNESS GOD WILL SUPPLY THE POWER” you and your wife was determine to find your birth parents and GOD saw that and he(GOD)and made it possible for you to find your birth parents/whole family….smile how is your birth mother/father doing? Do you still keep in contact with your brothers and sister? HOW ARE your adoptive parents doing? I was 14 years old when my mother told me I had different father from my other sisters and was very happy,,,i had two fathers smile (my real father has 19 sons/daughters smile) today I have good relationship with my real father and step father and all of brothres/sisters and including my mother, October 2016 iam going to new jersery to visit my family. Brad watt may God bless you and your family

  9. Anne Chartier says:

    That was such a wonderful story. So happy for you that it all turned out great and that you’ll be able to spend some time to get to know your birth mothet, Lori.

  10. I am very happy for you and for the outcome of finding your roots. I, also, found cousins after 50 years, they were all very loving and accepting. My biological father died when I was 23, I did not know anything about him until I was 21, I was raised by a single Mother and had 4 half siblings. Life passed and I finally got to find out my roots threw ancestry.com. I was raised in the north and my father’s family is southern.
    Something happened the day I was told my life was a lie for 21 years, however, when I was received in such a loving way by my biological father’s nieces and nephews faith and a very peaceful feeling came over me. I did not have any half or whole siblings on my father’s side. I am now 70 and I feel complete.
    I hope anyone who wants to know their true roots doesn’t stop because of age because I did not and am very happy for it.
    Helen E. McWilliams

  11. reba pittman says:

    this was one happy time for me,heart warming and happy for everyone.let me know what happened. reba

  12. Julie Chase says:

    I was adopted 60 years ago and just found my birth Mother and two sisters and a brother wish someone would write about us yes 60 years and I had a wonderful childhood grew up in Hawaii.

  13. Terr Harris says:

    Happiness is a beauty

  14. Liz Taylor says:

    You have a lovely story and were so lucky to have such an awesome birth family.
    I am an adoptee and a birth mother (that gave her child up for good reasons).
    I found my birth parents. My birth mother wasn’t a very nice person so I CHOSE to not have any contact with her.
    My birth father I found and met. Unfortunately when I found him he was in a nursing home and not in good shape. He also had secondary cancer (two tumors on his neck). He hadn’t spoken for years. When I found him we talked. I asked him if he remembered my mother. His eyes lit up and he made motions with his hands that she had a good figure when they were going together. She was 15 and pregnant with me. My father was 21. He wanted to get married but she didn’t so she gave me up. Even though she loved him (so she says) she knew it wouldn’t work out. She wanted to keep me but she wanted to keep me for the wrong reasons. Her siblings got her to give me up. I tip my hat to her brother and sister as it was the right thing to do.

    I was 21 when I gave birth to my daughter. I was engaged to her father but he was an abusive person so I broke up the engagement.
    I put my baby up for adoption with a lot of pain in my heart but I knew it was the right thing to do for that baby. I wanted her to have TWO parents and a good start in life. She deserved that much. She did get into a wonderful family and I am so happy that she did.
    We have found each other and we have a wonderful relationship and that is because I didn’t come across real strong and insist that she call me mom and so on. It is a long story and to long to put on here lol. I did get married (not to her father) and had two other childeren. We have a good relationship with her. I have a grandchild and two great grandchildren through my daughter that I gave up. I hate those words Gave Up but that is what I did (for her sake).
    I would like to chat with you though sometime if that is ok with you. My email address is: elizabethoconnelldarlene2@gmail.com or you can befriend me on Facebook under liz taylor. Apparently there are a lot of us on FB so it might be easier if I befriend you (that is if you want to befriend me). I applaud you wife for the support and help that she gave you when you were searching for your birth family. It is so important to have that help and support.
    I am not sure but it sounds like things are different in the USA compaired to Canada when looking for birth parents or the birth parents looking for their birth child.
    Hope to hear from you sometim.
    Liz Taylor (O’Connell)

  15. olivia arevalo says:

    what an amazing story!thanks for sharing!you look just like your brothers & father!one of my brothers was given for adoption to my grandparents!my mother always said my others brothers &he were not raised together &they all still acted the same!so happy for you & you have a beautiful wife who was there for you 24\7 thanks for sharing loved your strory

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