Kerry Fortuna, 34, always wondered who her biological father was. She was raised by her mother, who had a relationship with Kerry’s biological father in the ’80s.
However, when Kerry’s mother found out she was pregnant, the father had moved away and the two had no way to get in touch.
“She raised me on [her] own so I had always wondered who my real biological father was,” she explained. “That was something in my life that felt like something was missing and I felt 50 percent anonymous.”
As she got older, Kerry began to search for her father, with only the name Mark Saucedo to help her. But with few resources in the ’90s, her search felt nearly impossible.
Although her search had come to a halt, she continued to think about her biological father through the years.
She went on to have two daughters of her own, and nearly 20 years later, a friend would suggest something that would change Kerry’s life forever.
In June 2017, someone told her to try a DNA testing program like 23andMe which provides users with racial background information as well as potential relatives who have also submitted their DNA.
When Kerry got her results back, she was matched with a woman who she had a feeling was from her dad’s family.
“My third match was a woman whose last name seemed Spanish and I knew this had to be my dad’s side,” she said.
Sure enough, the woman turned out to be her biological father’s great aunt. With more research, Kerry learned that when she began her search years before, she’d actually been trying to find her dad using an incorrect spelling and his middle name instead of his first name.
Eventually, Kerry got in touch with her father’s sister, who provided her with his phone number.
Kerry then spoke to her father, who lives in Oregon, for the very first time.
“I called him and we talked for the first time,” she said. “He was just like, ‘I am so sorry. I didn’t know about you and I feel horrible I missed out on your life, but I am your dad.'”
It turned out that Kerry’s father had gotten married just a few months after he moved away. She also learned that she has siblings, one less than a year younger than her.
Kerry was overjoyed to finally know who her father was — and her father was just as excited. She even flew to Oregon a month later to meet him in person.
“That day I met him and it was like literally looking into a mirror,” she said. “I waited my whole life for that moment and it was just euphoria and honestly it felt like I was in a dream because I just thought I would never ever know my dad.”
And by August of that year, Kerry had become so close to her dad, she wanted to change her last name to Saucedo as well. But an even bigger surprise was about to change everything.
Mark was so happy to have Kerry in his life, he decided to adopt her and continue to make up for lost time.
“If it wasn’t for the DNA, I wouldn’t know my dad right now,” Kerry said. Following the adoption, she has also made plans to move with her daughters from California to Oregon this summer to be close to their new family.
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