Baby put up for secret adoption in 1949 reunites with family six decades later 4



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Photo credit: video still.

This is the kind story that you think would only happen in movies or books but it actually happened to a real person and his name is John “Jack” Etgen.

Jack was just a baby when he wad adopted back in 1949 in Danforth, Maine. He had no clue that he was adopted until his mum told him after high school.

Jack's adoptive parents.
Jack’s adoptive parents. Photo credit: video still.

For decades, Jack searched for his birth mother with no success. The only information he had about his mother was her name, Gertrude Cropley Kinney. “I’ve always had a notion to find my mom, you know… but didn’t quite make it,” said Jack before bursting into tears.

Jack's mom. Photo credit: video still.
Jack’s mom, Gertrude Cropley Kinney. Photo credit: video still.

He got older, got married, and had four kids of his own and then 14 grandchildren. He had no idea that his family size would grow almost immediately.

Jack and his children and grandkids. Photo credit: video still.
Jack and his children and grandkids. Photo credit: video still.

After failing to find his family himself, his daughter stepped in and did a Facebook search. The search led her to a Family Reunion Facebook page, which led to a phone call with Sam Hafford — one of the eight siblings Jack had no idea he had.

“I was sleeping when the call came in,” Hafford said. “My wife took the call. The girl on the other line said, ‘I think your husband is my father’s brother.’”

Though Jack, 66, found out that his biological mother passed away in 1996, he was too happy to meet the siblings he had been separated from.

Jack travelled 16oo miles from Nebraska to Portland to meet his family and when he finally did, one his brother’s said, “Long time, Jack.”

Two of his brothers, Sam and Bob Hafford, tearfully embraced him as soon as they met for the first time at the Portland airport in Maine on April 25.

“Usually I’m not a crier,” said Jack to Today, “but I’ll tell you what, it was something. It was like we knew each other forever.”

Watch what happens next on this emotional reunion between Jack and his long lost family…

How did this story make you feel? Have you heard of similar stories?

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  1. What a beautiful story, I could not stop crying.

  2. my siblings and I welcomed our half sister with open arms, but my mother blamed me for her finding us and was very angry and bitter towards me til the day she died. She told my sister that my father had a son before she married him, but didn’t think I should look for him. Sadly he died before I knew of him, but I love his delightful mother, sister and niece. I tell them I want to know all about my brother. My siblings have no wish to find out about him, which I can’t understand. I have a photo of him and there is no doubt who his father was! It saddens me that they don’t want to know this family that have welcomed me, but I just think it’s their loss. I love my new family.

  3. My Dad was adopted as a young boy. He had been told he was an orphan, but in fact, his mother lived to the age of 91. He did get some records when they finally allowed adopted children to find out identifying information but did nothing with it.

    After he died, I did some searches and found relatives – an elderly first cousin, in her nineties, was delighted to meet me, but very sad that she had never known my dad. She grew up as an only child with no cousins close by, married later in life and adopted four children herself.

    Sadly, although Dad’s mother had married, she suffered miscarriages etc, and never had another child even though she would have dearly loved one. How she would have loved to connect with her son and her nine granchildren, and some great-granchildren before she died.

  4. I was adopted in 1954 never got to meet my parents both have passed. I had a brother who was adopted at the same time. The adoption conditions were we were not to be seperated, but my adoptive parents could not take care of both of us, so my adoptive mother made arrangements for her sister to take my brother so we could keep in touch , (so we became brothers by blood and cousins by law) sadly my brother was killed in a car accident in 1995. So about late 2013 i decide to do a search came with dead ends every where . I applied for original pre adoption certicate, even with that i hit brick walls. Then i got a letter nswbd to say i had another brother. We met 8 mths ago after 60 years apart. He was aware of my other brother and myself but every thing was covered up, as to were we ended up.

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