64-Year-Old on Phone with Birth Mother for 1st Time, She Ends Silence with 3 Words


At 2:57 a.m. on Feb. 17, 1954, Wayne Grow was born in Syracuse, New York. For the next 64 years, that would be the only clue he had about his biological family.

His mother, Dorothy Thompson, was still in high school when she gave birth to him. Knowing there was no way she could care for him, she gave him up for adoption.

She never signed up for the New York State adoption registry. Over the years, she moved across the U.S. and back, having two daughters along the way.

And after telling her young daughters about the son she’d had and put up for adoption all those years ago, they never spoke of it again.

But Wayne, who still lived in New York, began to do some digging when his family became curious about his ancestry. In the past, he’d considered hiring a private investigator, but the $3,000 price tag was far too expensive.

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In recent years, though, the chance to discover personal ancestry has become far easier with at-home DNA kits. So Wayne bought a $79 kit and sent in his DNA for testing.

Even though he’d submitted his DNA in hopes of discovering more about his ancestors, he didn’t realize that they would actually bring up DNA matches.

Suddenly, Wayne had matches to first and second cousins. He was closer than ever before to finding his birth mother.

Finally, after emailing back and forth with one cousin, he was given Dorothy’s phone number. Wayne was nervous to finally speak to her, but he knew something was still missing in his life.

“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,” he said to his wife about the call. “It rings and each ring seems like about two years between a ring.”

Dorothy did not answer the phone. But Wayne was determined, and called her back the following morning.

When she picked up after a few rings, Wayne was met with three words: “Um, you’re him.” Wayne responded asking “I’m who?” to which Dorothy knew the answer.

“You’re my son,” she said. Wayne said after she said the words that both he and Dorothy began to cry. Both were overjoyed to hear from one another.

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“I always wondered where he was, if he had a good home, what he was doing,” Dorothy said. “The normal things you think about, and I’d keep thinking you know, I wish someday I’d see him.”

And that day wasn’t going to wait any longer. Wayne asked his birth mother to dinner that very night when they discovered that they lived “just down the road” from one another. And their reunion was absolutely heartwarming.

“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,” Wayne said. “We just cried.”

Now, the family has “a ton of catching up to do.” In addition to the sister he grew up with, Wayne now has two more sisters to get to know.

And now with her three children together, Dorothy has seven grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren total. “I’m happy,” she said. “I feel more alive. My family is complete.”

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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