Another Happy Adoption Tale
Once again DNA has helped to solve an adoption dilemma. The following is adapted from a story by Erin Alberty appearing recently in the The Salt Lake Tribune.
Nearly 50 years ago a baby boy was born to a teenage mother in St. Anne's maternity home in Los Angeles. He was quickly moved to the nursery where his young mother was allowed one last look at him. She couldn't touch him but always remembered he had big ears and a lot of hair.
The baby, Ken Drake grew up happily in Riverside, California with his adopted sister. When they were young his father told them that being adopted was like "picking the best candy bar on the shelf." The family later moved to Utah where Drake attended BYU.
Drake was curious about his roots, but his sister has been estranged from the family since finding her own birth mother. Drake remembers, "The fallout from that was really bad. I never wanted to put my mom through that," so he put aside any questions about his own birth parents.
He developed an interest in genealogy, and soon after Ancestry.com began offering DNA testing, he submitted a DNA sample. Ancestry DNA test results are linked to family trees viewed by other users and the company notifies users of matches in their system.
Meanwhile, the nieces of Raella Bodinus gave her brother a DNA profile for Christmas. When Drake's wife, Sheron, logged onto Ancestry she discovered a "Close match" reported for her husband's DNA. Drake contacted Richard Larsen, his unknown biological uncle and the brother of Bodinus. Larsen replied he was "99 percent sure" Raella was Drake's mother.
Bodinus had actually written the reply herself. For years she had wanted to search for the baby she had given up for adoption in 1964. Her family had put her in the unwed mothers' home and told people she was at prep school. Even her boy friend who knew about the pregnancy did not know where she was.
After the birth, she was taken on a family vacation to recover. With just three months to finalize or reverse the adoption she reconciled herself to not being part of her son's life. After high school, she and her boy friend married and had two more children, a sister and brother to Drake.
When Bobinus' daughter, Robin Ramirez learned she had another brother, she frantically searched for him online. She found many named Ken Drake but one look at a photo on LinkedIn proved who the right one was. He is a dead ringer for her brother Ricky Bodinus. She tears up as she recalls saying, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. It's my brother!"
Although decades have passed, a flurry of friendings, messages and photos exchanged on Facebook have helped to bring the siblings closer together. A meeting was planned and flights were scheduled. The Drakes bought gifts for the Bodinus who bought gifts for the Drakes. Drake apologized to Ramirez for missing so many years of big-brotherly torment and gave her a brand-new Barbie doll—with the head popped off!
Three weeks ago they met for the first time. Drake paced around his living room waiting for them. A car pulled up, and he said, "I know it's them." Bodinus stepped out as he strode down the front walk and mother and son hugged for the first time in 50 years.
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3 April 2014