As an adopted only child, Michael Reed had a happy childhood in Chicago, but he always wondered about his birth father. Was his dad tall and lanky? Did he have brown eyes like his? On May 15, at age 60, a nervous but excited Reed finally found the answers to his lifelong questions.
In an emotional reunion at the Salt Lake City International Airport, Reed, a banker who lives in Chicago, threw his arms around the father he’d never known and wept.
“Hi, dad,” Reed told Dennis Fay, 80, kissing him on the cheek.
“This is probably the most important day of my life – to meet him,” Fay, of Murray, Utah, told reporters as the men embraced. “I’m proud of him. There’s not many people that would go through what he went through to find me.”
Fay, a Korean War veteran, says he “ran around a lot” in his younger years and didn’t realize that a woman he had a brief relationship with in the mid-1950s became pregnant and gave up their infant son for adoption.
“She happened to be one of the carhops,” Fay said. “If you dated a carhop back in those days, you were pretty macho because they had their pick of men, and I dated her.”
According to Fay, the woman left her job and moved away. He married soon after and raised nine children (seven boys and two girls) with his wife, Patsy, who died in 2011.
Reed, meanwhile, found out at age 10 that he was adopted, but wasn’t given any information from his parents until he was 30.
After raising two children with his wife, Susan, he says he took a DNA test to learn about his Irish heritage and found Dennis Fay’s cousin through genome sharing. She then put him in touch with his biological father.
With his adopted parents now deceased, “I prayed about it – I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or really do any harm at all to the Fay family,” Reed said.
He needn’t have worried. At the airport, the only child who always longed to share his life with siblings was greeted by a crowd of new family members holding blue balloons and a yellow banner proclaiming, “It’s a boy!”
“We were a little skeptical at first,” Mike Fay (there are now two Michaels in the family) told reporters. But when the DNA test came back, “we knew he was our brother.”
“I always wanted a brother or a sister,” responded Reed, wiping tears from his eyes. Sixty years later, his dream a reality, “now I have nine.”