An Ohio woman has reconnected with her son, who she put up for adoption 33 years ago, and it’s all thanks to DNA testing company 23and Me.
Melanie Pressley, who became pregnant at age 18 with a son, often wondered what his life had been like after she put him up for adoption 3 decades earlier.
“I just knew, financially, I wouldn’t be able to do it. And the other thing; I wanted him to have a mother and father, so I decided at that point it was best to put him up for adoption,” Pressley, said.
On June 17, 1988, Pressley gave birth to her son at what was then Timken Mercy Hospital in Canton.
With the help of a local Akron adoption agency, and the full support of her family, Pressley proceeded with the adoption process.
She was allowed to briefly hold her new boy and snap a picture – the only picture she would have of her son for over 3 decades.
“When I was holding him, my sister took a picture and that was the only picture that I had of him for 33 years,” Pressley said.
Fast forward to the present, and thanks to DNA testing service 23andMe, Pressley now has the answers to her questions, and so much more.
Pressley’s son had been adopted by the Vossler family, who named him Greg, and currently live in Winchester, Virginia — 307 miles away from Pressley’s Wadsworth, Ohio home.
And as it turns out, Pressley wasn’t the only one wanting answers – Greg was also looking to find out more.
“Maybe 9 or 10 or somewhere around that age range, [my parents] shared with me the story that I was adopted and that the woman who gave me up for adoption thought I could have a better life elsewhere,” Greg Vossler said.
Vossler said that over his life, and especially during college, getting married, and raising his two sons, his birth history was never far from his mind.
“The reason I named my first son Gregory was because he was my first blood relative that I knew. So, I wanted to have that bond,” said Vossler.
Pressley’s opportunity to find her son came in May 2021 when one of Melanie’s friends bought her a 23andMe DNA test kit as a birthday gift.
The DNA test results came back almost immediately with a match of a potential son named Greg Vossler. After over 30 years of wondering, Pressley decided to reach out.
“I instantly sent a message, and my first message was, I believe we’re related,” Pressley said. “The next message was, I believe I am your birth mother. And from there, it just blew up.”
“One of the very first questions I asked him, which was big for me, was, ‘Are you happy?’ And he came back that he was—oh my gosh—that he’s married, he has two boys. I mean, it was just like spilling everything,” said Pressley.
Vossler and Pressley talked for 4 hours straight during their first meeting. Vossler also met 17 members of his new extended family, two of his siblings, and his grandfather.
“Everyone’s emotional, everyone’s shaking hands or hugging. And, you know, ‘Hey, I’m your half-brother, your half-sister.”
” And her oldest sister, who was instrumental in allowing Melanie to have that first picture, came up and grabbed my face. The first time in 33 years that she’s seen me.” Vossler siad.
“It’s an amazing feeling. And it just goes to show that there’s always room for families to grow and always room for more love within each other,” he added.
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