Man Discovers Half-sister Thanks to Christmas DNA Kit Gift

Man Discovers Half-sister Thanks to Christmas DNA Kit Gift

At 13, Al Ballard of Colorado found out that he was adopted, but his adoptive mother told him she couldn’t find any information about his birth mother. Discouraged, he didn’t try to find any more information about his birth family for the next 58 years.

Then, he received a MyHeritage DNA kit for Christmas that led him to discover his half-sister, Mary Ann Rosas.

Watch the story of their reunion on KCTV5 news here:

Al Ballard grew up in Edgewater, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

His parents divorced and his mother remarried when Al was very young. It was only when he was 13 that his mother revealed he was adopted.

My adoptive mother told me that she adopted me as she could not have children, from a Catholic adoption center in Denver. She chose me as I was the smallest male — all legs — one of the last she saw, and I looked like I needed to be adopted due to my size.

His mother said he’d been born out of wedlock to a young woman who had been unable to care for him. She said she had tried to find his birth mother and was unable to, because it was a closed adoption.

Al grew up, joined the army, and married Lina, and they had two children. The children also grew up and provided Al and Linda with seven grandchildren — three of whom are adopted.

For Christmas, Al’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren gave the gift of MyHeritage DNA test kits to Al and Linda.

When Al received DNA matches to potential family members, he didn’t know how to proceed.

Then he was contacted by Mary Ann Rosas.

Mary Ann grew up in Kansas City, Missouri with her uncle. Determined to collect as much information as she could on her family’s past, she corroborated information from her uncle’s stories, her degree in history, and a large amount of family memorabilia to build a large and intricate family tree. Through all this, she held onto the hope that she might discover a sibling.

just a few months later in March, that dream came true.

I received a message from MyHeritage that I had a close family match on the level of half-brother living in Colorado. I messaged him through MyHeritage immediately, and I was so excited, I also searched for him on the Internet and sent him an email.

Al says she was very patient with him as he needed to get comfortable with entering a new phase of his life at 71.

According to Mary Ann,

Our emails started to fly back and forth. Our lifetimes poured out in long emails, finding so many similarities, it was astounding!

They began communicating by writing, then via conference calls and then in August they finally met for the first time in Mary Ann’s home in Kansas City. Their first meeting was as if they had always known each other, recalled Al.

Mary Ann’s findings helped Al understand more about himself and his family, including his own behaviors and family traits. He learned about his father, Walter Andrew Martin, an outstanding musician who had his own orchestra in the 1920s and played with Paul Whiteman, Bing Crosby, and Billie Holliday. Mary Ann traced their family back to their arrival in Ontario, Canada, in 1892, when they settled on the outskirts of Denver, in Adams City. Their father Walter was single and living in Denver when Al was born.

According to Al,

My ending-life opportunities to have connected with my sister, to begin a new relationship with her, her husband, and potentially more family on my birth father’s side, has been rewarding and life-extending.

Mary Ann added

We have now spent five days bonding. I look in his eyes and they are mine. I marvel at his intelligence and knowledge of current affairs. He looks like so many of our Martin men, and so very handsome.

This has been a true miracle from a benevolent Creator. I now feel I am no longer alone. Simple bliss and warmth. Thanks so much to MyHeritage for facilitating this wonderful reunion. I’m looking forward to our coming years of joy and growing friendship.

Al said that meeting his sweet sister Mary Ann has been one of his life’s true blessings.

The bond was immediate…I know our communications and coming together have contributed and completed my need to know my family background. It is invaluable…I spent 71 years believing it was impossible to know my birth parents or siblings. With a simple DNA test kit gift, I began this unbelievable journey.

MyHeritage has greatly enhanced this time in my life.

It’s not too late to order a MyHeritage DNA kit for your loved ones at a special holiday price! Pick up MyHeritage DNA for everyone on your list today!