Many people are blessed to grow up with their family around them, and have no doubts through appearance or mannerisms that they are, indeed, related to their family members.
Some grow up knowing that the family around them is family by choice, not blood, and as they age they may wonder if there is anyone else out there that they are related to.
Bill Gillespie, 53, grew up with adoptive parents. He knew he was adopted, and celebrated his adoption day along with other important holidays.
Curious about his origins, Gillespie contacted the group responsible for his adoption. They informed him that he had been found abandoned.
He hadn’t just been dropped off. He’d been found wrapped up, in a cardboard box on the street.
Not a very promising start, and perhaps Gillespie was worried about what he would find. But the possibility of finding more family members out there was tempting, and with the encouragement of his family he delved back in.
“My wife said, ‘Well … let’s check out the adoption [message] boards or the different websites and see what we can do. It’s kind of daunting how many families are looking for people.”
There were a few false starts and dashed hopes, but then he came into contact with Pam Slaton, an investigative genealogist, and they worked together to figure out where and who he’d come form. They started by getting him DNA tested.
But as he began to pry back the shroud of mystery covering his past, he discovered more than he bargained for.
He learned that his father had killed a cop, which suggested why he might have been abandoned in the street and not dropped off with the police department.
Unfortunately, both his biological parents had since passed, but he also found out that he had a half-brother out there named Ken Cummins.
During their first phone call, Gillespie discovered that not only had his father shot a cop, he’d also beaten his mother. But the two continued chatting and planned to meet up.
The timing was nothing short of perfect for Cummins, who had been going through a particularly rough time in his own life before finding out Gillespie even existed.
“It’s kind of — I lose one brother, but I feel like I’m gaining one right now,” he said, tearfully. “I haven’t even met him yet and I know I feel a connection with him.”
To their surprise, they’d been living only 30 minutes apart, raising their separate families. At their meeting, Cummins shared photos of their mother, who Gillespie bore a striking resemblance to.
No doubt the two are happy to have gained more family and will build a bond to make up for the years they didn’t have each other.
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