Finding Family After All Hope Is Lost

Finding Family After All Hope Is Lost

Patrick Tarin from Amarillo, Texas was raised by his paternal aunt and uncle. His father died in a car accident when Patrick was 10, but he knew nothing about his mother and the rest of his family.

One day, he came across a letter written by his father that turned his world upside down.

His father had written the letter to his sister — Patrick’s aunt — explaining that his relationship with Patrick’s mother was tense, and he decided to leave her and to take Patrick with him, without Patrick’s mother’s consent. In other words, Patrick had been kidnapped from his mother.

In the letter, Patrick’s father also mentioned a daughter of his ex-wife’s from a previous marriage. All Patrick knew about her was that her name was Debbie.

With so little to go on, he didn’t have much hope of finding his mother, but he tried everything in his power to find her: research, genealogy, DNA testing — at one point he even hired a private investigator. All these efforts turned up dry.

Patrick was close to losing hope when he heard that MyHeritage was also offering DNA tests. After so many years of searching for his family, Patrick’s expectations were low, but he decided to buy a kit anyway.

About a month later, Patrick’s wife Marie — who manages Patrick’s MyHeritage account — checked his DNA results and could not believe her eyes when a match came up for a niece named Jessica Salinas.

Knowing that Patrick would be devastated by another disappointment, Marie decided to contact the niece without telling him, to share some details they knew about Patrick’s family.

Not even three minutes later, she messaged me back and said that she recognized the story details. I still wanted some kind of proof, so I asked for a picture of Patrick’s mother, and Jessica sent it to me.

The woman in the photograph looked exactly like Patrick.

Patrick’s mother

Patrick’s mother



Marie began shaking and crying, and Patrick, who had been sitting on the couch, came over to find out what was wrong.

I told him, ‘We found your mom. We found her. Here is a picture of your mom.’

Patrick sank back onto the couch, overcome with emotion.

Debbie told Patrick that she and their mother, Elisabeth Aaronson, had been searching for Patrick just as desperately all those years. When Patrick first disappeared, Elisabeth had been told that her ex-husband would bring Patrick back to her at a certain time at a certain park. She waited for them there, but they never showed up. She came back to that park for days, weeks, and months with Patrick’s picture, asking passersby if they had seen him… to no avail. The months turned to years and the years, decades. Unfortunately, just a year before Patrick made contact, Elisabeth passed away. “If it wasn’t for MyHeritage, Patrick’s dream of learning more about his mother probably wouldn’t have happened,” says Marie.

Though Patrick was unable to see his mother again, he did discover a whole family he hadn’t known about. Patrick found out he had eight half-siblings, five of whom were still living. Raised as an only child, Patrick is delighted to get to know his new half-siblings.

Have you made any wonderful connections via a MyHeritage DNA test? We want to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below!


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  • Susan Putnam

    September 20, 2019

    This is just a tiny bit of my story. I really need to write a book!!! Goes back to WW1.

    I had been searching for my family in Germany for over 30 years but finally after a Rhine River Cruise, and research while there, and after getting home I finally found my birth mother’s family! I had a half-brother I knew nothing about and he didn’t know I existed either. We spoke for the first time January 1, 2011. This was our mother’s birthday. In July 2012, I was able to go to Germany and meet him for the first time. It was an experience I will never forget. We were like two little peas in a pod. I visited every summer for five weeks. Unfortunately he passed away on August 16, 2016. I knew that he had two children a boy and a girl. But I was unable to find them as he was estranged from them in they’re growing up years. His ex-wife was from the Netherlands. So I tried to find them before I left Germany but with no success.

    So this spring I was on and went in and was doing a little bit of addition and the next day I get a message through from my nephew telling me his name and who his father‘s name was. I immediately wrote back and said yes, and my brother was so in so. So I wrote a little synopsis of my life’s story of being adopted and brought to the United States. He wrote back saying, “my mother, my sister, my son, and I are at the computer, and after saying several things, at the end he says, “And we welcome you to our family.”” They were very shocked that I existed. They thought their dad was an only child all these years. So soon I will be going to the Netherlands to visit my brother’s children and their families! I just can’t wait!

    So even though you might find many sad circumstances don’t ever stop looking because as it’s been said, “You can’t find peace until you find all the pieces.”