"Everybody has a right to know where they came from" Catherine Ann Nelson, North Carolina

Cathy searched for many years for her daughter Karen but was never able to find her. It took 50 years after mother and baby were separated for them to reunite through a MyHeritage DNA match.

When Cathy got pregnant at the age 16 in Pittsburgh in 1966, she was sent to a Catholic home for unwed mothers, where she was forced to hand over her daughter for adoption. She was allowed to see her baby just briefly after the delivery before the child was whisked away to the nursery.

There wasn’t a day that went by that Cathy didn’t think about the daughter she’d had to give up, wondering where she was and if she was happy.

Karen grew up in a loving and warm adoptive family, but she always yearned to meet her mother who had given her up for adoption. She recalls being assigned to create a family tree in third grade and not knowing where to start because she had no information about her biological family. Throughout Karen’s search for her roots, her adoptive parents were incredibly supportive of her journey and helped her along the way.

The search went on for years, to no avail. Then one day, Karen’s husband learned that he could upload her raw DNA data for free to MyHeritage. In only a few days, Karen received a close DNA match, and it all came together. After a 50-year wait, Cathy was finally able to reconnect with her daughter.


As a first visit, Cathy flew from Baltimore to Greensboro, North Carolina to meet Karen and her family. They have lots of catching up to do. 

They are enjoying spending time together and getting to know one another. The two have plenty in common, besides a similar taste in haircuts and tattoos, and their love of garden flags and animals.

They are ecstatic about their discovery, and they don’t want others to have to wait as long.

Cathy says:

I don’t think anyone should go 50 years without their child, it just shouldn’t happen.


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  • connie stahlman

    August 14, 2017

    Would love to find who my father is-(I was adopted)-but since I am almost 77 assume he is dead and would not have done a DNA. How can I interpret my results and the info you send me to decide if anyone from his family has DNA done and there might be a way to find his family. The guy we think it might be had a daughter about 6 months older than me.

  • Margaret Ann Smithwivk

    August 15, 2017

    I have had a DNA test with My Heritage. I also have my results. I was hoping to find out about my birth parents. Margaret Ann Brown a nurse. Joseph Pitre a barber. A lot of other information which is great but I would like more.

  • Rachida Djebel

    August 15, 2017

    What a joyful story in the midst of such a chaotic world. As a line from a song in Mame! says: It charms the husk right off the corn <3, especially since there is only a 2 % chance of an adoptee to find a parent or sibling or grandparent match. So fortunate was it for these two to be on the same database. In Arabic we call that maktoub-fate-inevitable for the lucky recipients. Congratulations to Cathy and Karen! And thanks for sharing this happy event, MyHeritage!

  • Claudia

    August 16, 2017

    Want to order a DNA test

    • Esther Shuman

      August 20, 2017

      Hi Claudia,

      You can order a MyHeritage DNA test from http://www.myheritagedna.com. Let us know what you discover!

      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Michael Bannon

    August 16, 2017

    I was adopted in 1952 want to find who was birth parents

  • Gray

    August 16, 2017

    Every child should have the right to meet his/her birth parents.
    However, this should always be his/her decision. I knew a woman,
    who had been adopted at birth and has lived 56 years on a farm, with
    her adoptive parents.
    This woman doesn’t want to know the woman, who gave her up for adoption
    because, according to her, she has the best parents she’d ever want to have.

    I support that theory, just like I’d support the theory if the woman actually decided
    she wanted to meet the parents, who brought her into the world.

  • Will Wood

    August 16, 2017

    What a great story. Hoping for just such a reunion myself someday! Congratulations, ladies! 🙂

  • Rozannah IreneRenner Petets

    August 17, 2017

    I would like to do the dnr testing but is not feasible for me . my biological grandmother was dark skin of either apache indian or black and would like to know if she really was. Her name was Harriet Breece ans gave birth to ma dad in abt 1890’s, can you help me.

  • Janet Deyes Barrett

    August 17, 2017

    I am looking for my cousin Who was adopted round about the age of 5years fromHull East yorkshire his name is Richard Danville

  • Lelia-Ann Barnhardt

    August 23, 2017

    I , also, am adopted. Thanks to My Heritage.com I have found several people who are my distant cousins (2nd,3rd & 4th removed) but so far no concrete leads to closer kin. I am 72 now and immediate kin are probably deceased but would have liked to know about aunts of uncles (or even 1st cousins).
    Was surprised how many relatives live all across the U.S. (even New Zealand!)

  • katy

    August 25, 2017

    WE are waiting on the results of my partners DNA results. He has been looking for his Birth Father since he was 18 years old he was born in Chicago Area 11/1964. He was Adopted to a family 1 month after his birth. We pray once we get the DNA results we can find him and or a relative. (Grossberg would have been his birth last name.)

  • Cathy Nelson

    September 10, 2017

    Thank you so much for the kind words. It was a very different time 50 years ago. I will be forever grateful to MyHeritage.

  • Dee B

    June 10, 2019

    Just found out I have twin sister’s who have been looking for a connection for almost 30 years. I am 84 years old and they are 72. Never knew of two extra sisters. We will meet on 6/13 and looking forward to new family members.
    Never dreamed of any thing so exciting and really unbelievable. Thanks to my granddaughter and a soon to meet niece who started our families involvement

  • Gwen S. Potts

    August 5, 2019

    I have a brother that was born in 1970. The only name I know is Baby boy Seevers. He was born in Salisbury, N.C. to Dorothy Raymer Seevers and James E. Seevers. He was abandoned at the hospital.