Things are not always as they seem


Some of the most extraordinary things have been happening over the past month. All of it good.

I guess that I should begin at the beginning.

I was an adopted child. It also bears mentioning that my adoptive parents, Herman and Alice Ullery, were the best parents any kid could ask for.

My parents adopted me in Cincinnati when I was weeks old. They never attempted to hide anything. More importantly, as it should be, I was never made to feel “adopted.” I was their child. Period.

Several times over the years, someone would broach the subject of finding my birth parents. My answer was an adamant “NO.”

My thoughts were set in my head. I was with my real parents. The parents who loved me. The parents who raised me. My biological parents, so I believed, didn’t want me. They gave me away. Why, I thought, should I worry about someone who gave me away like a discarded toy?

Fast forward to 2023. My parents, Herman and Alice have been gone for many years. Dad passed away in 1985 and Mom in 1999. We are blessed with only one set of parents.

Or, are we?

My oldest daughter, Carrie, was concerned enough about her, and her daughter’s future health that she began a personal, and low-key, quest to learn of my background.

Her efforts included studying genealogy and taking a DNA test.

On a Sunday evening about a month ago, I was talking to Carrie and could tell that something was not right. She was hesitant and distant. I finally asked, “What’s the matter?”

Carrie replied that she had something to tell me, but wasn’t sure how I would take it.

Finally, she said, “Daddy, I know who your birth father is!”

I nearly fell out of my chair, literally!

She was hesitant because she was well aware of my preconceived notion that I was given away as a baby, unwanted by the parents who had better things to do than have a baby son on their hands.

As it turns out, I am from New York City, the Long Island area.

My father, a man named Ross, was a New York musician, a drummer. I always wondered where my musical abilities came from.

Ross, it turns out knew nothing of my existence.

His girlfriend had gotten pregnant. As so often happened in those days, her parents had intervened and sent her to Cincinnati, Ohio to have the baby.

She was given “the boot” by her own parents and my father was told that she had miscarried.

Well, as the Wizard of Oz said, “Well, that’s a horse of a different color!”

My opinion immediately changed 180 degrees and I was filled with curiosity and excitement as Carrie began to fill in the blanks.

Sadly, my father passed away in 1999, but I have a great big family living on Long Island!

I went from having a single sibling, my also-adopted brother, Larry, to having SEVEN brothers and sisters! I have five brothers and two sisters — actually half-siblings, but I’ve never been much into fractions anyway.

After some online, social media, introductions, my sisters, brothers, and I have been “FaceTiming” and chatting on the telephone regularly, getting to know each other. I have been welcomed into their family like, well, like a long-lost brother.

I cannot believe the emotion and the connection. There is “something” there with all of them. I can’t believe how close I feel to my siblings and I have yet to meet them face-to-face!

We plan to change that this August. My wife, Melinda, and I plan to travel to Long Island to meet my sisters and brothers, along with my aunt, my father’s sister, who has been instrumental in filling in the blanks.

I cannot begin to describe the joy, and love, that is growing as I get to know my new family.

Carrie also located my birth mother. We are working on getting to know her and my two new sisters. They live “out west.” I hope to be able to write more about that later.

If any of you out there are also adopted, don’t be afraid to seek out your biological parents. I can’t guarantee the same “fairy-tale” success that I had but, you never know until you try. My theory that I embraced for more than 60 years was totally wrong. My advice is, go for it.

My mom and dad will always be Herman and Alice Ullery. Nothing can change the love and care they gave Larry and me, but I have been given an amazing gift that I appreciate more than I can describe, another family to get to know and love.

The writer resides in Troy and is the chief photographer for Miami Valley Today.

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