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sation, he said, “If you are my son, and I think you are, I’m happy about this and want to meet you and get to know you.”

Bill ordered a DNA test from to remove all doubt from the equation. It took over a month to get the genetic confirmation, but when it came in March, they invited us to Texas to meet in person. Four or five days later, we were on another airplane flying back to another part of Texas to meet another part of Gene’s biological family.

They welcomed us in the driveway with open arms. As I hugged Laura on one side of the car, Gene and Bill hugged on the other side of the car, and I heard Bill say, “Welcome home, son.” Minutes later, we sat across a dining room table from them and studied Bill’s handsome face — a face that looks so much like Gene’s.

They are both quiet men (men of few words), extraordinarily intelligent men, and deep thinking men. They are both kind, caring and considerate. They share mannerisms and facial expressions. They also share a unique sense of humor and interestingly, a love of carrots.

And I feel that his wife, Laura, and I are kindred spirits, too. Is it strange that a father and son would choose to share their lives with women who also have similarities? Well, of course not. The visit concluded with plans to meet up again at Amelia Island in June, which we did.

As with Gene’s maternal side of the family, we are blown away by the love and acceptance of these new people in our lives — strangers no more, but family. We know that not every story ends this way, and so every day, we give thanks for these new, beautiful relationships. We feel fortunate and better in some way. We feel joyful. We feel whole.

But back to the phone conversation … I love to hear Bill’s voice, and I love to see Bill’s face. It’s like moving forward in a time machine to hear and see Gene twenty years from now. And amid the oddness of this familiarity, I am reminded of the complex interplay of nature and nurture in shaping one’s identity. Most of all, I see so clearly that some of life’s beauty lies in its unpredictability, for we never truly know what gifts tomorrow will deliver, until tomorrow is here.

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