Human Interest

Adopted woman and biological dad meet for first time in 33 years: ‘Welcome to fatherhood’

In a heartwarming story, a 61-year-old man in Mississippi learned he was a father for the first time shortly before meeting his 33-year-old biological daughter at a local airport, WLBT reports. 

The meeting between Tom Bradshaw and Nicole LeMay was the culmination of LeMay’s years-long investigation to find her birth father. She learned she was adopted when she was 23 years old, and the news shook her world. Disoriented, her relationship with her adoptive parents damaged, she began the journey to find her biological parents. 

After a long search, LeMay eventually found her birth mother, Helga, and learned that Helga had chosen adoption for her in Virginia when she was only a few days old. She nervously decided to make contact. 

And she was glad she did. “So I did reach out to her first, and she told me that she knew this day would come and she would be ready to answer any questions that I have,” LeMay said, according to WLBT. “But to just know that it wasn’t … it’s not that she didn’t want me; it was she couldn’t provide the life that I deserved to have,” said LeMay. 

(Click image below for video.)

Helga had been pregnant without informing the man whom she believed to be LeMay’s father. But when LeMay scoured social media and found someone she thought was a potential match, a DNA test showed he was unrelated to her. 

Bradshaw, who was serving in the Navy at the time of Helga’s pregnancy, was found another way, after LeMay nearly gave up hope.

She decided to take an Ancestry DNA report, and joined a Facebook group for help in deciphering the results, which she described as “a bunch of numbers.” A woman named Sarah, who volunteers her time to help people looking for relatives, offered to help. Within four days, she discovered LeMay’s biological grandmother and her grandmother’s sons, one of whom was Tom Bradshaw. 

LeMay reached out to Bradshaw on Facebook, in whom she immediately saw a resemblance – particularly in their noses. They took a DNA test, and the results showed a 99.99% probability that Bradshaw was her biological father.

At last after months of waiting, Bradshaw and LeMay finally met in person. The reunion had profound meaning for both of them.

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“Everybody in my family knew I was adopted except for me,” LeMay said to her father in a phone call the day before their first meeting. For Bradshaw, LeMay’s arrival brought renewed hope after “a very dark period” that included the loss of several family members, including his wife’s son and granddaughters.

When the big day came, Tom Bradshaw waited anxiously for LeMay in the airport, telling WLBT about meeting his “new” daughter: “I’m ready. I think.”

LeMay, the last to deplane, approached Bradshaw. “Welcome to fatherhood,” she said, and the two embraced. LeMay arrived with a photo album as a present to bring Bradshaw up to speed on her life. In the album were photographs of her upbringing and diary entries that document her quest to locate Bradshaw. 

She ended the album with a dedication to her father, with the last sentence poignantly declaring, “Here’s to ending one book and beginning a new one.”

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