"This has been one of my life’s true blessings" Al Ballard, Colorado

Al Ballard found out that he was adopted at age 13, and his adoptive mother told him she was unable to 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.

Al Ballard up in Edgewater, a suburb of Denver, Colorado. His parents were divorced and his mother remarried when he was very young. It was only when he was 13 years old that his mother revealed to him that he was adopted.

“My adoption mother told me that she adopted me as she could not have children, from a Catholic adoption center in Denver,” says Al. “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 adoptive mother told him that he’d been born out of wedlock to a young woman who had been unable to care for him. She said that she had tried to find his birth mother and was unable, because his adoption was a closed adoption, and no records were shared. For the next 58 years, Al didn’t try to find his birth parents because his mother had been unsuccessful.

Al grew up, joined the army, and married Lina, and they had two children together. The children also grew up and provided Al and Linda with 7 grandchildren — 3 of whom are adopted.

For Christmas 2017, Al’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren gave him and Linda MyHeritage DNA test kits as gifts. He noticed that he has information on DNA matches but didn’t pursue them directly. One day he received a message from Mary Ann Rosas that would change his life.

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.

On March 28, 2018, 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,” says Mary Ann. “I messaged him through MyHeritage immediately, and I was so excited, I also searched for him on the Internet and sent him an email.”

“She was very patient with me, as I needed to get comfortable with entering a new phase of my life at 71 years old,” says Al.

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

They began their communication through writing, then moved to speaking over conference calls, and then, on August 1st last year, they finally met for the first time in Mary Ann’s home in Kansas City. Their first meeting was as “if we had always known each other,” says 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 owned 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.

“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,” says Al.

“We have now spent 5 days bonding,” says Mary Ann. “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,” she continues. “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.”

“Meeting my sweet sister Mary Ann has been one of my life’s true blessings,” says Al. “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,” he concludes.

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  • Martin

    February 17, 2020

    Remarkable and wonderful story

  • Judith A Hurst

    February 18, 2020

    Dear Mary Ann and Al loved your story so very happy for you both. My father played drums with Paul Whiteman and Bing Crosby. He was a drummer his name was Horace Beaver. Its possible they may have met..very small world..

  • Matilda Sink

    February 18, 2020

    This awesome.
    My fiance has been looking for his brothers and sister’s and the one brother that changed his name.
    I have been doing the best I can but I don’t think I’m much help to him.

  • Susan Mathews

    February 18, 2020

    Thanks to you My Heritage & Ancestry NA after 18 years of searching on your site my sister found me…..Her daughter saw my family tree & contacted me. She was looking for her mother’s twin brother who she was told died at birth but could not find any record of him. When asked my birth year 1943 she said it didn’t match, that her mom was born in 1941. I then told her I had a sister that was born in 1941 from the letter I got from the Angel Guardian Home in Brooklyn NY in 1998. I gave her daughter some of the info in the letter, and lo & behold it matched her sisters family to a tee. She never even knew her mother had another child after her birth so this was a surprise to her. Well we talked on the phone, her in NJ & me in Illinois .We are both over the moon & can’t wait to meet each other. I finally know after all my 76 years on this earth that I have a biological family. Seeing a picture of my mother for the very first & know who I look like. Thank you & ancestry, for without you I would never had this wonderful experience. P.S.. Never give up looking, someone is out there looking for you too. Sincerely Susan Mathews

  • Patricia Haugh

    February 19, 2020

    What a wonderful story. My sister in law (deceased) Margaret (Haugh) Wambacher had a baby in a Catholic home for unwed mothers in Winona, MN. about 1954 and it was adopted out. One of Margaret’s daughter wanted to find out who the birth father was. I couldnt remember. I am sure she would like to know her half sibling (a boy) as well. How would she go about finding her sibling? We will be greatful for your help.

  • Thomas E. Palos

    February 20, 2020

    I know there are children out there who are looking for me.

  • Joy Wener Bang

    February 20, 2020

    As an adopted child , born in Kansas City, MO on October 6 1947 and adopted one month later on November 7th , I grew up KNOWING I was adopted by my parents but believed “G-d brought me to them, just an alternate route” I never sought my biological mother . MO is a “closed” state and I felt no need to find a woman who’d birthed me as my parents were MY PARENTS. Only now (at age 72!) am I curious about possible siblings! Am I really Jewish ? My parents insisted that the birth mother was a Jewish woman. Judaism is all I know !