Gerard’s DNA Surprise

This week’s DNA surprise story is told from a side we haven’t heard from yet – a found father. When Gerard received an email from a man claiming to be his son, he wasn’t sure what to think. He soon discovered that unbeknownst to him, he was the father of a 30-something-year-old man who had been adopted as an infant.

Gerard shares how he pieced together who the mother of his son was and how he reconnected with her. He also discusses how supportive his wife and daughters have been as he builds a relationship with his son.

Gerard’s story is one that many in the DNA surprise community hope for – he’s accepting, open, and seeks to understand how to best fit into his son’s life.

Thank you for sharing your story, Gerard.

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Episode Transcript

Transcripts are AI-generated and may not reflect the final published episodes.

[00:00:00] Gerard: So, so the visit, we flew out and it’s we flew out and I’m really nervous in the plane. I said, I’m going to see a son who I never knew I had, I have no idea how it’s going to go.

[00:00:12] Gerard: I have no idea what to do. So I’m trying to think. How can I be a good father? And then we landed, it was a, we landed in Salt Lake City and then there was an another flight. And I landed and I went, wait a minute. He has a father. He’s not looking for a father.

[00:00:32] Gerard: And it was, it was a relief to me because I was thinking, well, what, how should I act or how should I try to be to let him know I’m there and I can be fatherly and this and that. He wasn’t, he didn’t need a father. He had a father. at least this is what I was telling myself.

[00:00:47] Gerard: And it was maybe I needed to tell myself that because I was getting myself pretty wound up and then I just, I just said, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. 

[00:00:57] Gerard: Hi, my name is Gerard. I’m from the New York metropolitan area and I am 70. And I found out a few years ago, three years ago, that I had a son that I never knew about.

[00:01:12] Gerard: It was kind of a regular day. I generally get up, I have coffee and read for a bit. Then I’ll look at the emails and then go to work and… Come back home and just regular day. And so I looked through the emails and there was a number of emails and there was one from someone, Steven, something, and I just looked at it and I said, I don’t know this person.

[00:01:32] Gerard: This is just typical idiot email. So I read it and it said, hi um, I recently went on ancestry DNA and you and I came up as a strong match. As a parent child match. And I just kind of glanced at it. I didn’t even read it closely. And I went, Oh what is this? This is some kind of crap, you know?

[00:01:54] Gerard: So I read down and it said, it said I was adopted at three days old. And I’m writing this, I’m writing this email because I recently went on AncestryDNA and we came up as a match. And if you go to your site, you’re, you are now going to see yourself, your two daughters, and then my name. And he said, I have a mother and a father that love me.

[00:02:20] Gerard: The only reason I’m reaching out is to basically let you know that if you get on the site, you may see this. And also maybe we can open up a line of communication. So. I read this. I was in disbelief. I didn’t know what to believe. However, it smacked of truth. There was some, something about it that it didn’t sound like a scam.

[00:02:43] Gerard: And so I thought, so I freaked out. I freaked out a little bit. I was, you know, Okay. Well, what is this? Is this real? And I had the instinct run, you know? Um, And so I said, I’ll just, I’ll delete this if it’s real. And if it’s not some silly scam, it’ll come back, there’ll be another email and I’ll address it at that time.

[00:03:05] Gerard: And then something inside of me said, No, just think about this. Continue. So I forget exactly how it ended, but it said please take some time and speak to your family about this. And if you can get back to me and something about opening a line of communication you know, that would be great. Looking forward to hearing from you.

[00:03:26] Gerard: Something like that. 

[00:03:27] Alexis: I mean, this is probably an obvious question, but I’m assuming then you had no idea that there was a possible child out there who you could match with was okay. So this was a complete

[00:03:41] Gerard: Yeah, it was a complete surprise. Now I, you know, I mean, I was out, I fooled around when I was younger. I had a number of girlfriends. I was married twice. I’m married now to my second wife. There was a long time in between, but I never, I never thought, geez, you know, I think maybe, you know, I might have a child out there and don’t know about it.

[00:04:02] Gerard: I never thought that. 

[00:04:04] Alexis: Yeah. Mm

[00:04:05] Gerard: And even when I did the DNA test, I thought, you know, because there’s questions I forget exactly how it works. I’m sure you know, but if I didn’t want anyone else to know my information, I could say, no, I’m just finding out for myself to find out how European I am or how, you know, Celtic or what, whatever it might be.

[00:04:24] Gerard: So, and I had, I was like, nah, I don’t care. This is fine. Anyone can read this. You know, if I have a second cousin in Virginia or someone in Oregon that’s fine. So I never thought about it for a second. And it’s interesting because The Christmas prior to the, that email I have two daughters and I bought, the DNA kits for my daughters.

[00:04:47] Gerard: I said, Oh, it’ll be fun. We’ll do the test and look it up and find out how Celtic we are and see if there’s other European strains in there. And so for Christmas I gave it to them and unbeknownst to me, they gave me a kit as well.

[00:05:02] Alexis: Oh,

[00:05:03] Gerard: so it was kind of 

[00:05:04] Alexis: So it’s just this fun. Yeah, it’s just this fun thing that you were doing with your daughters.

[00:05:08] Gerard: we were.

[00:05:09] Gerard: So we were laughing about it. And like within the next month, I think we all sent it in and we got it back and we were laughing about it because one daughter was a little more Irish than the other one. And the other one had some Scottish and I have a little African in me, which was crazy. And so we laughed about it.

[00:05:28] Gerard: We looked at it for a couple of weeks. And then that was it. I never looked at it again. And then it was August when I got the email. 

[00:05:37] Gerard: So this is starting to sink in now. And I’m thinking, okay, so do I answer this email? Do I just let it be? You know, think about it for a day or two and think about who I want to tell, if I want to tell anybody. And I don’t know what happened, but something happened and I went, I know I’m going to answer it. So I answered it, kind of cold, not cold, But strident, you know, simple. I just said, thanks very much. Yeah I will take a, I will take a day or so and speak to my family and I’ll get back to you.

[00:06:08] Gerard: Thank you. And so I was freaked out and it’s funny when I look back on it, it’s, you know, you Everyone understands this. You wake up to your normal day. You have your coffee or you go read the paper or you look at the news.

[00:06:21] Gerard: Whatever you do, you do. Well, all of a sudden, you know, I got this email and my whole day changed. There was nothing regular. I don’t think I remember what I did that day. I went to work. I remember that. I have no idea what I did. There is one thing my I have somebody that worked for me. I He was a manager, and he was really into ancestry.

[00:06:49] Gerard: He would always give me stories about his uncles and cousins and aunts and mothers, sisters, and stuff like that. And so that morning when I got to work, I said, Hey, Take a look at this e mail. Tell me if you think this is, you know, bullshit. And he looked at it, and he looked up at me, and he didn’t have to say anything, just his look.

[00:07:11] Gerard: He went, you know, yeah, it looks, and he’s a man of few words, he just said, yeah, it looks legit. But anyway, I digress a little bit. Prior to that, I’m still at home before I went to work. And I thought, what do I do? Who do I tell? Do I tell nobody? Do I tell my daughters? Do I call my wife and tell her?

[00:07:34] Gerard: And so I said, I’m just I’ve got to tell her. So she works in in Manhattan. And. She’s has an executive position. So, you know for me to call her over something silly like hey Did you see where my suitcase is or do you know remember where I left something, you know, she doesn’t that doesn’t fly

[00:07:55] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:07:56] Gerard: Because she’s very busy and she wants she wants no part of that So anyway, I called and it was I don’t know ten o’clock and I said, I said, I need five minutes, and she immediately said, you got it, and normally she wouldn’t say that.

[00:08:12] Gerard: She’d say, can I call you back? I’m about to go into a meeting or something. So she knew it

[00:08:17] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:08:19] Gerard: so I said, look, I have to explain something to you. I don’t know how to explain this. So let me read you this email. So I read the email verbatim to her. At the end of it, there was a pause. And then she said, congratulations, you have a son, 

[00:08:36] Alexis: Wow. So she instantly believed it.

[00:08:39] Gerard: She did. And not only that, I mean, it almost chokes me up to realize the coolest thing a wife could ever say to you.

[00:08:46] Alexis: Yeah. So understanding.

[00:08:49] Gerard: or a wife or a loved one, somebody that was just, I mean, there could be nothing better.

[00:08:57] Gerard: You know, I mean, I guess I was imagining she might say, well, this is crazy. Did you have an idea? How did this happen? Did you know I didn’t sign up for this stuff and any of that. Although we were married much later. in life. You know, she wasn’t around during that time, so it wasn’t a matter of maybe you were messing around on me, which was never the case.

[00:09:19] Gerard: But anyways, for her to say that was just So great.

[00:09:22] Alexis: Yeah, that’s amazing. So when you get this affirmation and support from your wife, does it make it any more real? Like, is it starting to sink in as the time passes that since you’ve read this email?

[00:09:38] Gerard: You know, I knew it was real, but I needed someone else to say that, or I needed someone else to say, yeah, this is, this seems real. This is real. And when she said that, kind of went, okay, this is real. And it’s, I’m glad you’ve mentioned it like that. Cause I didn’t never thought of it that way, but it kind of confirmed it and was like, okay, you know, this is real. So I can stop thinking about maybe, I mean, I still had plenty of questions, but, you know, I had to take those steps to get there.

[00:10:09] Alexis: right. So, so speaking to these questions, I mean, I can only imagine. Are you racking your brain trying to think who could the mother be? What happened? How did I? So take us through that process.

[00:10:26] Gerard: Well, it was, well, for I’m trying to do the math, you know, he was 37 years old. This was three years ago.

[00:10:34] Gerard: And so, he said he was born at a local hospital outside New York City. He was given up for adoption at three days old. He has a mother and father that love him. Oh, he said, The only information I have on my mother…

[00:10:50] Gerard: He had none on his father. Well, that’s untrue. The information he had on his mother was she was a 22 year old law student at the time. And that was it. Because I guess back then in the early 80s, if you gave someone up for adoption being the woman, obviously. That you can’t change your mind once, once you’ve given the child up for adoption, you can’t go and say, Hey, you know what?

[00:11:14] Gerard: I just came into some money and I’ve changed my I’ve changed, I have a change of heart here. I want the baby back. Well, you can’t do that.

[00:11:22] Gerard: Not that that happened, but evidently that’s my, that’s my understanding. And so I started to try to figure out, so this was back in 1982 and like, where was I in 82?

[00:11:33] Gerard: I was out of college. I was working. I was trying to figure out where I was and I worked for in Baltimore for a year and then I was moving back and forth and I’m thinking, wait a minute, I didn’t, I wasn’t married. I wasn’t engaged. I didn’t have a girlfriend. I was working every day. I was, I had this job where I was trying to open up my own ranch.

[00:11:55] Gerard: So it was crazy work. And I’m thinking, I wasn’t going out trying to meet people. This was before online dating or anything like that. So I didn’t do any of that. I wasn’t going out to bars, trying to meet people. So I’m like, this is crazy. Who could it be? And I could not figure it out. I mean, I’m really wracking my brain. So I come from a big family. I have three brothers and three sisters and I talked to, I called. My sister, who’s one I’m closest to, so I can say anything to her and she’s totally cool. And so I called and I told her what was going on.

[00:12:33] Gerard: And I said I said, look at, I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t seeing anyone. I wasn’t out meeting women. I wasn’t doing any of this stuff. This is crazy. I can’t think at all who it was. So I’m thinking you know, I’m doing the math. So I’m going back to from when he was born. And so my sister in, in her, you know, just point blank fashion, she goes, you idiot.

[00:12:56] Gerard: It’s nine months prior to that.

[00:12:59] Alexis: Oh, so you weren’t doing the math

[00:13:02] Gerard: right. Well, I was doing the math from the date of the birth, you know, I said, well, wait a minute, where was I, what was I doing? And she just laughed and said, you dope. So as it turned out, this is what happened. My family had a house. In the suburbs of New York and we were there for many years and then they were selling the house.

[00:13:22] Gerard: So they did sell it and there was a big party at the house I grew up in. I wasn’t living there anymore, but I grew up there. So my parents had friends over my brothers and sisters had friends over. I had friends over and that night. There was a neighbor, there was a girl that she and I had dated once or twice.

[00:13:44] Gerard: We had gone out for a date. We really liked each other. We had fun on the dates. They were always great, big fun, but it was never a sense of, wow, this is going to be great. We’re going to go out. We’re, you know, we’re going to be boyfriend and girlfriend. So there was never that sense, but there was always a sense of.

[00:14:02] Gerard: I really like you. I knew she really liked me and we had fun. So that evening she was a neighbor. So she came by to the house because it was a big party. And then we looked at each other and I went, Oh, okay, you know, we’re going to be hanging out tonight. And so that’s what happened. So I met her and then that night we were together. 

[00:14:25] Alexis: Did you ever see her again after that night?

[00:14:31] Gerard: no. And it wasn’t that I didn’t try to. And it’ll unfold in a little bit about what happened. But, so we had a great time. You know, the next day I kind of, I was living out, out of county, so I went out, I left and she went her way, you know, and there was never a point where she said, well, great, call me next week and we’ll go here.

[00:14:54] Gerard: Or I said that never came up. And so we kind of went about our lives and then, so then years went by and 37 years went by.

[00:15:05] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:15:06] Gerard: And so then this happened and I’m trying to do the math. So I finally figure out it would have to be this, it would have to be this woman, Kate, and it couldn’t be anyone else.

[00:15:18] Gerard: There was just, there was no other person. And that was, It would have to be her. So then I thought, well, Stephen, who is my son, so my genetic son, he we haven’t spoken yet. So I’m scrambling trying to find out who the mother was. So I’ve, I put it together. It has to be her and it couldn’t be anyone else.

[00:15:43] Gerard: And so I said, well, I’ve got to reach out and let her know. So I couldn’t find her men, you know, you have to understand it’s 37 years ago. So people move. I thought she’s probably married, you know, she could be anywhere. So I tried to find their family, and they had moved. I remember the name of one or two of her brothers or sisters, but I never knew them.

[00:16:09] Gerard: So I just thought I knew their names and I could find nothing. I looked up one of I thought her sister’s name was Aileen or Eileen or some kind of name like that. And I found somebody in DC who was an attorney and I said, Oh, well maybe this is her, but it turned out not to be. So I was just desperate.

[00:16:32] Gerard: I mean, I just kept looking and trying to figure out and then I thought I’d look up obituaries in that town and I found their last name and I didn’t know her father’s name, but I took a guess. And then I was reading all the obituaries because they had a name. It was it was fairly common name.

[00:16:50] Gerard: So it wasn’t. It wasn’t easy. So on one of the obituaries, they had the names of their children, and I recognized two or three of them, and they had her name and they had her married name.

[00:17:04] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:17:05] Gerard: I thought, well, that’s one step closer. So I found a number. It was somewhere in southern.

[00:17:11] Gerard: New Jersey. And so I called well, you know, think of it prior to the call, I did a lot of thinking. What am I going to say? How is this going to work? And, so anyway, I dialed the number, I was alone, I got myself in my office, and I got myself all kind of zooted up, ready to make the call, and so in the back of my mind I’m saying, please don’t have a man answer, please don’t have a man answer.

[00:17:41] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:17:41] Gerard: so, naturally, the phone gets picked up and it’s like, hello? And I said, Oh, hi my name’s Gerard and I was looking for Kate. You know, we were neighbors. She was a friend of my sister’s and I was being a bit of a weasel because I was just trying to, you know, just say, yeah, our families knew each other, which they did. So I’m saying, yeah, my sister knew her and my other sister knew her, says my brother knew her. Brother, I’m going on like this. And it’s funny because he’s not buying it at all. He’s like, who is this?

[00:18:14] Alexis: oh, no.

[00:18:15] Gerard: Gerard. And he said, hold on a minute. So it’s funny, he’s kind of got the phone up to his chest and I hear him walking into another room and he’s kind of bantering back and forth with Kate.

[00:18:27] Gerard: And I hear her in the distance going, who’s on the phone? And this guy says, Gerard, and she goes, Oh yeah, I’ll talk to Gerard. So that was great because I thought, well, at least she’ll talk to me. So we finally get on the phone and she’s like, wow, this is, you know, she’s totally surprised. And so I, as you might expect.

[00:18:52] Gerard: And I expected her to go, Oh, hi, meaning like you finally found out.

[00:18:58] Alexis: right? That’s,

[00:19:00] Gerard: So nothing at all. She’s like, Oh my God, you know, how are you? How’s your family? Are your parents still alive? Did they move? Where do they live? What about your sister? Where do you live? You know, just all small talk. I mean it was very nice and it was very funny because after a few minutes there was this rapport And I realized, Oh, you know, that’s why I like you.

[00:19:21] Gerard: I remember that. It, like it all kind of came back, but anyway, so, but there was no hint of, Oh, he found out none. So after all this small talk, I’m thinking, well, this is getting, this is going to be a little embarrassing because I’m wrong, you know, because there’s no, there’s nothing. And I finally said, Kate, listen, can I speak with you in confidence about something?

[00:19:44] Gerard: And she said, Sure. Go ahead. Absolutely. And I said, well, I’ve got this email and the email said I recently did an ancestry DNA test and you and I came out as a parent child. So I said, it’s a very strong, it’s either it, the DNA matches so strong, it’s either a parent or a child match. And so I expected at that point for her to say, Oh, and then she, but her reaction was, yeah.

[00:20:11] Gerard: Like, and I said, well, and so now my mind is racing and I’m thinking, this is crazy because if it’s not her I have no clue. And I certainly wasn’t, you know, drunk and had a blackout and don’t remember it. That was not the case. So, you know, she’s like, well, and she’s probably thinking, why is he telling me this?

[00:20:36] Gerard: And so at that,

[00:20:37] Alexis: Yeah. How confusing it must have been for her at that point. Yeah.

[00:20:41] Gerard: so I’m starting to lose it. So I finally said, okay, April 10th, 1982, and she starts weeping and crying. And I went, okay, so I guess, I guess we’ve made the connection here. And she’s weeping and she’s saying, Oh my God, I didn’t know. You know, she was saying, it’s interesting, she said, it was kind of heartbreaking, she said, gee, she, what kind of a woman am I?

[00:21:13] Gerard: I gave that child up for adoption, and I said, well, you’re a pretty good woman because now there’s this wonderful man on earth, you know?

[00:21:21] Alexis: Oh. Wow.

[00:21:23] Gerard: She said, yeah, it was terrible. You know, and she it bothered her for so many years. She said she used to have nightmares and dreams about it.

[00:21:31] Gerard: And she had a name for him. It was different from Steven, which was his name. It was in some other name. And she said, she finally had a dream that he passed away. And I guess it was God’s way or some way of letting her let go of it and continue on her life because since that point, she got married and she had a son. So the first part of the conversation was all small talk. How’s the family? What’s the neighborhood like? And this and that. And the second part was pretty heavy and all straight to the point. 

[00:22:05] Alexis: Did she know that you were the father?

[00:22:07] Gerard: okay. See, you’re a woman and you figured that out. All the men I tell never figure that out. They stand there and look at me and their wives or girlfriends will take a step back and go, Oh, they’ll go, okay, I get it. She didn’t know it was me.

[00:22:26] Alexis: Okay.

[00:22:27] Gerard: that’s what happened and evidently she had a boyfriend at the time.

[00:22:33] Gerard: And they were in the midst of breaking up and that was when she must have come home and then she, we were having a party in the neighborhood and she came over and that’s how we hooked up that night. So the whole time she thought it was her boyfriend. And so it’s funny. I’m fair skinned and blue eyed and I’m about five, nine.

[00:22:55] Gerard: And Stephen told me the only information he had about his father was that he was a six foot four dark haired Jewish man. And so he’s five nine and fair skinned and blue eyed. And so he said, growing up, he kept on looking in the mirror and goes, where’s this six foot four dark haired Jewish man?

[00:23:15] Gerard: Where, when’s that going to come in? So

[00:23:18] Alexis: wow.

[00:23:19] Gerard: I just thought that was very funny.

[00:23:22] Alexis: Yeah. So she did not think it was you. Did she say why she ultimately made the decision to relinquish Steven?

[00:23:35] Gerard: I think her father or her mother, someone was pressuring her to have an abortion and she said that was never going to happen. She would just, it’s, I don’t know if it wasn’t a religious thing because she was pretty wild, but she just said that wasn’t going to happen. That wasn’t in the cards.

[00:23:55] Gerard: She was going to have the child. And then it’s funny because they said her father said you should get your boyfriend and you should get married and this and that and Kate said her mother came to her and said, Kate, I’m with you. So whatever you want to do, and she said, I don’t want to get married and I’m not going to abort this child.

[00:24:13] Gerard: So I’m going to go to term and I’m going to deliver the baby, but I’ll put him up for adoption. And that’s what she did. And of course I’m, you know, I’m gone and never, never land, you know, out doing my own thing without even a thought, without even a thought in the world. 

[00:24:31] Alexis: How do you feel as you’re hearing this and making all of these connections and realizing that you did father a child with her?

[00:24:42] Gerard: I’m kind of the type of guy that I’m all in. In other words, I’m not running. So if. If that’s kind of what you mean, I mean, it was emotional and it was I had a little guilt like, Oh my God, I never even thought of this. I never even thought, gee, I might have someone out there, but I don’t know.

[00:25:03] Gerard: Then what difference would that make? But should I have felt guilty more often? I don’t know. 

[00:25:10] Alexis: Well, you didn’t know. I mean, you didn’t

[00:25:12] Gerard: No, I didn’t. I didn’t know at all. And it wasn’t that I was fearful of it. It was like, boy, you know what? I think something might’ve happened. So I, I didn’t have those fears. 

[00:25:22] Gerard: I do want to say one thing. I want to go back after the email. He sent me the email and I could tell this was a heartfelt email. I received it. And of course I’m in my own little world receiving it like, Oh my God, this could change things for me. In hindsight, I was being a little selfish, you know, and there was a point during the day I went, Oh my God, it must’ve been so hard for this kid to write this email or this man to write this email to his genetic father. And so for him to write that to me and for me to answer it going, yup, thanks a lot. Yup. I’ll think about it and get back to you. That was, I felt. Bad. So I wrote him another email three or four hours later and I said, by the way, I never thanked you for going to the, you know, going the distance to write this and send it to me.

[00:26:24] Gerard: I know it couldn’t have been easier for you. Thanks. I will. We’ll talk soon.

[00:26:29] Gerard: I just sent that back to him because I realized it was so it had had to be so hard for him.

[00:26:36] Alexis: Yeah, that’s, I’ll be honest, that made me tear up a little bit to hear you empathize with him because, yeah it can be a lot to, to put yourself out there and it was really kind of you to go back to him. Now, Stephen always knew that he was adopted. Is that

[00:26:56] Gerard: Yes. Yes. 

[00:26:58] Alexis: You talk to Kate, you have your conversation with her, after that, so when do you decide to reach back out to Steven and have that conversation?

[00:27:06] Gerard: after because I want, I wanted to know who the mother was before I had a conversation with him because I did say, we’ll talk and it’ll be a couple of days. So I was scrambling. I mean, I, I felt like a detective, I mean, trying to find out who it was. She was and I didn’t want him to say, well, so you know, what can you tell me about my mother?

[00:27:30] Gerard: And I’d go, oh, well, yeah, she was great woman and not knowing anything. So I just. I didn’t want that to happen.

[00:27:38] Alexis: You wanted some answers for 

[00:27:40] Gerard: I did. And I, before we go further, I do want to tell you that the first, after I spoke with my wife and after she said, congratulations, you had a son I have two daughters. And that was the next step for me to let them know because we’re close and we’ve had. I mean, I’ve, we’ve had some bumps along the way with my daughters, but right now they’re great. They’re grown. One is works in Manhattan, she’s doing well. And the other one just had a baby, so I’m a grandfather for the first time, which is really

[00:28:11] Alexis: oh, congratulations,

[00:28:13] Gerard: But so they didn’t know. And you know, and. To the fact that they have a brother and that they never even thought for one second of their lives that might happen. So anyway, the, it was either the day or the day after I got the email from Steven my daughter called and said, Hey, I’m working in Connecticut and I want to come and stay at the house.

[00:28:32] Gerard: Cause we’re in Connecticut outside New York. And I said, okay, that’ll be fine. So when you’re done, come on over because I want to, you know, I want to talk to you about something anyway. So that daughter was like, fine, great. And the other daughter, I texted and said, hey you know, your sister’s coming over and when she’s here, we’re going to FaceTime you because I just want to talk to you guys about something.

[00:28:55] Gerard: And my second daughter is the one who was like, what’s up? What’s going on?

[00:29:01] Gerard: Is Anne okay? Or, you know, is there something wrong? What do you know that, you know, so the second daughter was really onto it. I was trying to be very smooth and nonchalant, but I only got 

[00:29:13] Gerard: by one of them.

[00:29:14] Alexis: yeah,

[00:29:15] Gerard: So the other one came over, we had a nice dinner and I said, let’s go call Taylor.

[00:29:21] Gerard: Get your sister on speakerphone. So she did. And we’re up there speaking. And I sort of did the same thing. I said, look, I’ve got to explain something to you. I don’t know how to do this.

[00:29:30] Gerard: So let, I’m just going to read you this email. So I read his email verbatim and I looked at my daughter’s face and this is my oldest daughter and it was frozen. And I said, let me read this again. So I read the whole email again and the other daughter’s on the speaker phone and she’s like, what?

[00:29:53] Gerard: And then the daughter sitting there said, you mean I have a brother? And her face just lit, I mean, 

[00:30:03] Alexis: Oh, wow. 

[00:30:04] Gerard: the, it wasn’t anger. It wasn’t. It wasn’t how dare you or why didn’t you tell me because they knew I didn’t know and and they knew me enough to say this is something I wanted to speak with both of you about.

[00:30:19] Gerard: So the long and short of this, they were enthralled with the fact that they might have a brother. They were, and I could hear the emotion. I could hear the emotion from the other one because you know, for their whole lives, for basically 30 years of their lives almost they were just two, two girls, so the fact that they had a brother all of a sudden was something. And then my daughter who was there, who was the oldest, after like five minutes of talking and everything, she kind of shook her finger and said, wait a minute. I said, what? And she said, I will not be the middle child. So I thought that was great because she’s, her mindset is very much the oldest child, you know.

[00:31:03] Alexis: Yeah. Oh my gosh. So, Ann, your wife was completely supportive. Your daughters were completely supportive. How did it feel to have their support as you’re navigating this?

[00:31:15] Gerard: Absolutely wonderful and needed. It was needed, and I have to be honest, I didn’t think it would be any other way. I didn’t want to think that they would be upset with it. And that’s why I just said, these are the facts, and I’m telling you the facts. 

[00:31:33] Alexis: Yeah. 

[00:31:34] Gerard: I’m not, giving you a story or why or where, or I’m sorry it happened this way.

[00:31:38] Gerard: I’m just, this is what happened. I didn’t know, but I know now

[00:31:43] Gerard: And they were all in. But my oldest daughter, she said, and dad, when did you start dating mom? Because she’s doing the chronology.

[00:31:52] Alexis: she’s doing 

[00:31:53] Alexis: some 

[00:31:53] Gerard: I said, Oh, that was, that was a couple of years. That was years later. And she goes, really?

[00:31:57] Gerard: Well, when was that? And I said, Oh, I don’t know. We were married in 82. And she’s like, well, okay, well, so my daughter was having none of it. So she absolutely did the math. And actually two days later, she came back and she goes, okay, you’re in the clear because she wanted to make sure that when my ex wife, who I, we’re still in 

[00:32:19] Gerard: contact and communicate with that we were not courting while this was going on, not dating.

[00:32:26] Alexis: Okay. So you are in the clear. Yeah.

[00:32:28] Gerard: important to my daughters. And it’s funny, I never thought about that. I never thought that, oh, you know, they won’t care about that. I mean, I just, that wasn’t one of the thoughts in my head, but for them, it was big.

[00:32:40] Alexis: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean that we we hear a lot, you know, that sometimes can play a big role into how accepting family members are, the circumstances of the conception and, and all of those things wasn’t an affair or anything like that. So yeah, that actually makes sense.

[00:33:00] Gerard: That was great. And that was, you know, that was mind blowing for both of them, you know, probably for me the most and then for them, and even more than and because this is, they’ve grown up and there’s been a brother out there, And so then I was going to reach out to Steven and we were going to have a talk and, you know, I said, well, well, he was on the West Coast.

[00:33:23] Gerard: So we had to figure out the times like you and I did. And so I said we’ll speak at this time and at such and such a day. And so we spoke and I said, look, you know, when we spoke I said it’s good to speak with you. Tell me about yourself. What do you do? Where do you live? And he works out west in kind of a tourist area.

[00:33:44] Gerard: And he’s been there for 20 years. He kind of, he said he grew up east out here in upstate New York. And then after he got out of high school, he went out and never came back. He said his parents are still alive, but they got divorced shortly after he graduated high school.

[00:34:02] Alexis: And you mentioned he always knew he was adopted,

[00:34:05] Gerard: did. And it’s funny because he told me he mentioned, he said, yeah, I always knew I was adopted. He said, and my parents every now and then, like when I was four and when I was six, they would say, now, Steven, we want you to know you were adopted. You know, we’re your mother and father, but you’re adopted.

[00:34:23] Gerard: He goes, I know. So it’s, and it’s funny. He’s a little like me in that respect, it’s like, okay, I get it, I know, I understand. But you know, so, but his parents kept on doing that, and I think that’s kind of sweet because it was, they wanted him not to feel bad about it. And I don’t, and I don’t think he did, I don’t think he ever did.

[00:34:44] Gerard: At

[00:34:45] Alexis: Wow. So,

[00:34:46] Gerard: feeling.

[00:34:48] Alexis: yeah. Did he say why he took the ancestry test? Was he hoping to find his genetic parents?

[00:34:54] Gerard: question. His girlfriend. And he says it’s his fiancée but I think it’s kind of a California, a little bit hippie type thing. It’s like, yeah, she’s my fiancée. Yeah, we’re going to get married, maybe when we’re 70 or 60 or something, you know, where, you know, there’s no rush. He said she gave it to him for his birthday. And so he did the test. And so he said he didn’t care much about it, but once he did, he was very anxious to see the results. And so. Evidently, when he sent the letter to me, or email to me, and I sent the email back, he was driving in the car with his girlfriend, or fiance, and he looked, glanced at his phone.

[00:35:38] Gerard: He said, Oh my God, there’s an answer. And so she said, let me see it. So then she sees it and she sees my name and she goes, let me look him up on, on Google. And so she looks me up to see if it’s. Me and she goes, he says, wait, I have to pull over. So he pulls the car over and she’s on Google and I’m easy to find on Google.

[00:36:00] Gerard: So she goes, Oh my God, it’s him. She goes a hundred percent. It’s him. So

[00:36:07] Alexis: Oh my gosh.

[00:36:09] Gerard: she must’ve seen a picture of me. And she went, a hundred percent. It’s him. And it’s interesting. Cause in that same conversation, I said, look, it seems like this is everything is right. Let’s take the test again.

[00:36:23] Gerard: Let’s just make sure of it. And he said, absolutely. And I said, but I want to find out about you. You know, do you have any kids? He goes, no, I don’t have any kids. Been out here kind of work and doing these jobs. And then I said, he said, but I’ll let you look at my Facebook and I said, okay, great. So I got on his Facebook and I opened it up.

[00:36:43] Gerard: And so then there’s all these thumbnail pictures and I just clicked on one and it was, it looked like. Two couples at a baseball game, you know, in Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium or something. And so there’s a picture of four, a guy and a girl and guy and a girl. I clicked on the thumbnail and it opened up and I looked and I went, there’s no sense that we need to take this test again.

[00:37:07] Gerard: So as soon as I looked and saw him, I went. He’s my son.

[00:37:11] Alexis: How did that feel?

[00:37:14] Gerard: It felt good. It felt good because at this point I wasn’t looking for an out,

[00:37:21] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:37:21] Gerard: I was just looking for how do I make this situation a good situation.

[00:37:26] Alexis: does it feel or have you thought about the fact that you didn’t get to spend that time with him these 37 years before you connected? And what are your feelings around that?

[00:37:39] Gerard: You know, that’s a really good question. It hurts. I feel that I don’t know if I feel I was robbed or I robbed somebody.

[00:37:49] Gerard: I feel really glad when one of the best things I felt was when he said, I have a mother and a father and they both love me.

[00:37:59] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:38:00] Gerard: that, that made me feel so good. But it’s interesting, I did feel that fact that I had someone out there and you know, and I, you know, I was just about to say, and that I couldn’t help.

[00:38:13] Gerard: And I’m not so sure I could have helped. I mean, maybe I would have, wouldn’t have been a good dad for him. I don’t know. I would have tried. I mean, we all have stuff that is not great. But yeah, that’s a really good question. And it’s an interesting thing and I’ll just, it ties into, I went out to see him

[00:38:34] Gerard: We spoke and I said, look I definitely want to come out and see you.

[00:38:38] Gerard: Let me arrange it. And. And he said, yeah, that’ll be fine. And so I said, look, I’ll come out and I’ll just get a hotel room. He goes no, no, no, you come and you stay with us. We’ve got an extra room. It’ll be fine. And I laughed. I said, no, I’m perfectly content to get a hotel room. It’ll be fine. He said no, definitely when you come, stay.

[00:39:00] Gerard: And I went, okay. So I would. In other words, it was… He was putting it out there and I gave him an option and then he said no stay and I was okay I’m gonna stay if it was bad. It would have been one night and then I would have gone to a hotel

[00:39:16] Alexis: Right. Right. So how did it go?

[00:39:19] Gerard: It went well, but it’s really funny I spoke to some other people and I’m saying I’m doing that and there and they said so you bring in the whole family I said no, you know because he could be a bad dude You know, I mean, I don’t know that.

[00:39:34] Gerard: In other words, he could have grown up on the wrong side of the tracks. He could be into drugs. He could be a bad guy, you know, I’m hopeful he wasn’t, but you don’t know that. It depends on how he grew up or what he’s been doing the last 10 years.

[00:39:46] Gerard: Maybe he was in with a really bad group of people.

[00:39:50] Gerard: So I just kind of laughed and I said, no, because in my protective father type thing, it’s like, I want to see that he’s a good guy before I want my daughters to meet him or my wife.

[00:40:02] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:40:03] Gerard: I want them to be safe because, you know, he, he might come east and say, hey, I want to stay for a while.

[00:40:09] Gerard: Can I stay in your house? And, and at this point, yes, absolutely. But not at that point, because I needed to make sure he was a solid citizen, so to speak.

[00:40:20] Alexis: Sure. Sure. So how was the visit?

[00:40:23] Gerard: So we met and I went to his house. He lives with his fiance and it’s a little house and they have a roommate in there as well. And so I went there and knocked on the door and there was no answer. And at that moment. A car comes and pulls in and it was him and he gets out and he goes, Oh, sorry, I had to run and do something.

[00:40:44] Gerard: So he walks up and we’re on this little porch in front of his house and we just looked at each other. And we hugged, and we 

[00:40:54] Gerard: stopped, and then we hugged again. And then he said, well this is strange. And I said, yes it is. And he said, come on in. So, we, I came in, and frankly I can’t remember what we talked about or what we did.

[00:41:12] Gerard: But we were in his kind of living, living room, kitchen area. And I don’t even remember going out to dinner or getting dinner. I don’t remember any of that. I just remember being there. And then his girlfriend came by and she was a sweetheart. She was great. I loved her. She was just great and positive and she loved seeing us together.

[00:41:34] Gerard: She told us, she said, I was looking so beautiful. forward to just seeing the two of you together. And it was pretty special. So, you know, you’re, you want to say a million things and only so many can come out. So it was interesting because we’re at his place and in the evening, I’m getting a little tired because I Left early and everything from the East Coast.

[00:41:59] Gerard: And, I said, Do you have any pictures of you? And so he brings out this big box, and I’m going through pictures of him when he was younger. And, I swear there were like two or three pictures. I looked, and I forgot where I was and what I was doing. And there was a picture of him with his dog. And I went, Wow, I don’t remember having that dog.

[00:42:20] Alexis: Oh my

[00:42:21] Gerard: I thought it was me. And then there was another one where he was at a wedding. So he was dressed up and it just looks so much like me. It was startling. 

[00:42:32] Alexis: Wow. 

[00:42:33] Gerard: We were looking at pictures and it was really nice and I got tired so I said, I’m going to go to bed. And he said, great. Just go up the stairs. And it’s the first bedroom and, you know, lying in someone else’s bed there and going to sleep.

[00:42:45] Gerard: And it was, I could hear them in, in there. It was outer body. It was just like, wow, here I am out West and someone else’s house who’s actually my son and it’s just crazy.

[00:43:03] Gerard: Finally fell asleep and then I woke up early because I’m used to East Coast time. So I went downstairs and I’m looking around and I said, I’ve just got to make coffee. And so I’m making, looking for coffee and the coffee maker was all dirty. It reminded me of when I was in college so much, you know, cause a bunch of people were there and everybody had different things.

[00:43:25] Gerard: So I cleaned the coffee maker up and I finally found the coffee and. I was making it and I found some milk or something and then I open up a cabinet to get a mug and I look in there and there’s about 30 mugs and there’s not two of them that are the same. So it just reminded me so much of like college days.

[00:43:43] Gerard: So I, I just look through there and push them around. I saw one that I liked. I said, okay, great. I took it down. So I had my computer, I was probably working on it. Maybe half an hour later, Steven comes down. And I said, I made coffee and he goes, great. And he walks up and he walks past me and he looks at me, he looks down at the coffee and he said, that’s my favorite mug.

[00:44:05] Gerard: And that

[00:44:06] Alexis: Oh.

[00:44:07] Gerard: Blew me away because

[00:44:10] Alexis: my gosh.

[00:44:11] Gerard: I looked through there because I wanted a mug that I felt comfortable with. You know, it’s like, if you’re having your coffee, it was, and it was, you know, I actually, you know, look through the whole thing and say, yeah, I like that one. And so he came down and he said, that’s my favorite mug.

[00:44:27] Gerard: So that. That just was spooky.

[00:44:31] Alexis: What happens next? Do you continue your relationship? How are things now?

[00:44:36] Gerard: Things now are good. I actually would probably like more communication

[00:44:42] Gerard: um, because I

[00:44:44] Gerard: Feel I have something to give for him. And so you guys are young, but I’m not. So I guess I’m feeling a little of my mortality. So I’m thinking I might have something to give. You know, I might have something to share.

[00:44:56] Gerard: I’ve made a bunch of mistakes that maybe I can steer you away from making in life. I’m not talking about any one particular thing, like either in business or love or marriage or things like that, because I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I would like to help if I can. It’s hard to ask for help. If I was him and the tables were turned, I probably wouldn’t ask for help or guidance or something.

[00:45:22] Alexis: How often do you talk to Steven now?

[00:45:24] Gerard: It’s funny, I spoke with him yesterday, but prior to that was probably six weeks ago. But that’s still okay though, I think. And he’s he’s met his sisters, which is amazing to me.

[00:45:40] Gerard: And it’s an interesting thing because when I told my daughters that they have a brother, I could hear one over the phone and the other face I saw, it was astounding the look on their face. And then when I spoke with Steven for the first time I said, look, I have to tell you something.

[00:45:59] Gerard: You have two awesome sisters. And I could almost hear him choke up a little bit on the phone.

[00:46:06] Gerard: And that made my heart sore, kind of, meaning just like, you’re a good man. If you if you get a little choked up over that, I like that,

[00:46:16] Alexis: Yeah. Would you describe your relationship with him as paternal or? You know, you mentioned when you were in Salt Lake, when you landed in Salt Lake that you thought, he’s not looking for a father. I don’t have to be a father. Do you feel like one to him now?

[00:46:33] Gerard: a little bit more than it was. I understand he has a father and I’m not, and I do not want to replace his father. And he has a mother that loves him and I would never, you know, want to steer that or change that in any way they raised him. And as far as they’re concerned that, you know, his mom, that’s, he’s her baby. And but I do think because I have put it out there, I said, look, if you need help with something and I’m not saying, Oh, I’ll send you money. I’m not saying that at all. If you’re, you know, if you’re at a point in your life where you have questions about something, I never had somebody that I could have talked to about that.

[00:47:17] Gerard: And I think I would have liked to. So I said, I’m here for you if you need it. And I think he knows that he’s, I don’t think he’s thinking great. There’s three things I want to talk about. I think he knows it. And I think if. If he needed it, he’d call me and say, look, let me throw something by you, be a sounding board for me. And that’s what I hope for, you know, I can say I, I have three kids, you know, I’ve had two kids for most of my life, but now I have three kids. 

[00:47:50] Alexis: So when people ask you if you have children, do you say three? 

[00:47:53] Gerard: Yeah,

[00:47:53] Gerard: It’s funny, a friend of mine was with me, and it was soon after that, and someone said, oh, well how many kids do you have? And I said three, and my friend goes, oh, you’re saying three! And he was a very good friend, he was one of the first guys I called, he was very cool.

[00:48:09] Alexis: Did Steven ever connect with Kate?

[00:48:12] Gerard: yes I arranged it. What’s interesting is I have never seen her I spoke with her and in our first conversation, you know, when I, at first when she was like, Hey, nice talking to you great that our families, you know, all small talk.

[00:48:26] Gerard: And then after that, there was a point during that it was emotional. And when it kind of settled down, I said, Kate, I just want to let you know something. I’m glad it was you. And then later on, she said, you know, Gerard, I’m glad it was you. And

[00:48:44] Gerard: I thought that was kind of a sweet moment and just a nice thing to, to know for each other. That’s all.

[00:48:51] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:48:53] Gerard: And I also told Steven that I said, I want you to know that it wasn’t just a drunken stupor where we got together and had sex and produced a child. I said, we really liked each other. We absolutely really liked each other.

[00:49:07] Gerard: We had a lot of fun. We laughed. You know, there was a lot of there was just a lot of emotion and we really liked each other. So I wanted him to know that. So he wasn’t born out of, you know, where I forced myself on somebody or, you know, took advantage of someone who was, you know, not in the right mind or I wasn’t, you know, so I just, I wanted him to know that. Because I’ve never been, I’ve never grown up as… And someone who was adopted, so I, I don’t know any, I mean, I never thought for a second what somebody like that might think of. And even when I realized the medical thing, I said, wow, you know, never even dawned on me. But of course he might want to realize, gee, I wonder what my dad’s health was like, or I wonder what my mom’s family’s health history is like. You Every time I go to the doctor, he goes, well, what’s your mother and father’s, you know, health? What was that like? And I can tell them. So, and now he can, but so I arranged for them to talk to each other. I mean, not arranged it. I just said, Hey, here’s the number reach out.

[00:50:18] Gerard: And they both did. And it was great. And he he came East for Thanksgiving two years ago and had Thanksgiving with us and his sisters and me and Anne, and we had some other friends over and it was just. Great. It was absolutely great. And then we drove, I drove him to his mother’s house. She’s in upstate New York. And after I dropped him off there, then he used her car and went to visit his mom, his birth mom. So he, they, he has made the connection and he calls once in a while. 

[00:50:53] Alexis: Have you how have you been kind of processing this? Have you found any support groups, books, therapy? What has helped you as a found father process a DNA surprise?

[00:51:09] Gerard: I don’t have a group I will certainly talk, speak about it with my daughters and with my wife freely. It was an emotional thing. I’ve treated it as a blessing. I’ve treated it as a gift. You know, it’s not like, Oh my God, this has really changed my life and it’s really ruined me or it’s, this whole thing is screwed up now because of this.

[00:51:32] Gerard: I never, it was never a negative for me. It might’ve been the negative when I first read it. And I was like, Oh, this is, what is this crap? What is this email? You know, this is, I was ready to be done with it immediately. But then reality kind of set in. So I, somewhere inside me said, treat this as a blessing, treat it as a gift. And that works for me. or else maybe I’m not so in tune with my feelings that I know that I need counseling with this.

[00:52:05] Alexis: You know, it’s different for everyone. And you know, that’s, I say, we don’t get to define how anyone feels about this

[00:52:13] Gerard: That’s right. That’s right. 

[00:52:14] Alexis: What’s next for you and your relationship with Steven and just continuing to build that relationship?

[00:52:22] Gerard: I just hope he, I hope I’m there in his life now. I hope it’s not just, wow, this is kind of cool. We had a couple of years where we made connections. That’s pretty cool. If I get married, I might give him a call. I might say, look, I, yeah. It’ll be uncomfortable to have you come to the wedding, my parents will be there, and I would be good with any and all of that, but I would just hope That he keeps me, keeps me in his life. And I will, I’ll keep calling. I mean, I’ll keep calling. And it’s an interesting thing. I’m old now, but I still ride a motorcycle. And he rides a motorcycle. So it’s like, oh, okay. Maybe it’s, it’s a little bit genetic.

[00:53:06] Alexis: Yeah, oh, that’s really cool.

[00:53:09] Gerard: and I have this kind of this fantasy of um, semi retired now, and if I finally retire, I would go on this motorcycle trip, where it would be, I might go to Ecuador, or I might go to Spain or something, and do like a 10 day trip, and I would love to do that with him.

[00:53:27] Gerard: I, I haven’t told him that yet. I would love 

[00:53:32] Alexis: that’d be so special.

[00:53:33] Gerard: to say, Hey, let’s just do something really cool that, you know, it’s a guy thing and just really cool. Something that you will remember for our entire lives and, you know, maybe learn something from each other. And if not, it will be a fun vacation. 

[00:53:50] Gerard: Anyway, 

[00:53:50] Alexis: yeah. I ask everyone two questions at the end of every episode and yours are going to be a little bit different just because of your position and all of this. But the first one will be the same. What advice do you have for a parent who might be keeping a DNA surprise from their child?

[00:54:08] Gerard: share it. You know, if you share it you’ll lighten the load because it’s probably heavy in your heart. And if you share it, it may not be easy. It certainly won’t be easy. If you do it with truth and honesty, your child will understand. That’s all I can think of.

[00:54:29] Alexis: What advice do you have for? a father or parent who has just been found through a DNA test.

[00:54:38] Gerard: I don’t know. It just, I keep your heart open, because it’s easy, our instincts tend to shut us down, you know, if you come at me with some questions I don’t like, I tend to shut down and we’ll back off, but it’s hard to stay there in the front lines when those hard questions come and those things come, but if you leave yourself open I think there’s a chance.

[00:55:04] Alexis: Thank you for sharing that.

[00:55:06] Alexis: Thank you so much for coming on the podcast and reaching out as a found father. This was so insightful and just on behalf of all of us who have found our biological fathers through DNA testing, thank you for being open and building a relationship with your son.

[00:55:26] Gerard: thank you, I’ve really enjoyed this and you’ve pulled out some emotions in me, I didn’t know were there.


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