A woman has reunited with the son she gave up for adoption more than three decades ago after taking a DNA test and learning they were a genetic match on 23andMe.
Melanie Pressley, 53, gave birth to her firstborn son Greg Vossler, 33, in Canton, Ohio, when she was age 19. Unable to financially care for the baby, the teen mom made the difficult decision to give him up for adoption.
‘You go through a mourning period and yet live the rest of your life mourning,’ she told Fox News of the years she spent separated from her son.
Incredible: Melanie Pressley, 53, reunited with her firstborn son Greg Vossler, 33, this summer after taking a DNA test and learning they were a genetic match on 23andMe
Difficult decision: Pressley was 18when she gave birth to Vossler in Canton, Ohio, in 1988 and put him up for adoption because she was unable to financially care for him
The agency she worked with found him a two-parent household, but the adoption was closed. For 33 years, the only reminder she had of her son was a single photograph of him that was taken the day after his birth.
‘His adoptive mother had written me a letter a couple of months after he was born,’ Pressley recalled. ‘And she had said that when he is old enough, she will tell him [that he was adopted].’
Vossler, who now lives in Winchester, Virginia, grew up curious about his origins after being learning later in his childhood that he was adopted.
He was clueless about his biological family’s medical history, and his desire to know more about his genetics after he became a father led him to take a DNA test in 2018.
Vossler told Fox News that 23andMe ‘always suggests new DNA relatives,’ and he thought there was a possibility that one of the connections could ‘lead to something significant.’
Emotional: After learning they were mother and son on 23andMe, they met in person in June 2021 at Pressley’s home in Wadsworth, Ohio
It was Pressley’s daughter Rachel who gave her a gift card for 23andMe. While Rachel secretly hoped to connect her mother with her firstborn child, she claimed she wanted her to take the company’s DNA test for its health report.
‘I lost a mother to lung cancer — who had never smoked or drank a day in her life. So, she was selling that to me, saying, “Oh my gosh. Then you’ll see if you have any of those genes or if there are any flags,”‘ Pressley explained.
The mom sent a message to her son on the 23andMe website right after they were matched as potential relatives and asked his age. Once he confirmed he was born on June 17, 1988, she told him that she believed she is his biological mother.
The two emailed and texted each other before they met in person in June 2021 at Pressley’s home in Wadsworth, Ohio, where they had an emotional reunion.
Vossler also got to meet birth mother’s husband, his two half-sisters, and his half-brother, while Pressley was introduced to her first child’s wife and two sons.
Special day: Vossler also got to meet birth mother’s husband, his two half-sisters, and his half-brother, while Pressley was introduced to her first child’s wife and two sons
Miracle: Pressley and Vossler, pictured with his adoptive mother, feel lucky that they were able to find each other now that are so many different DNA tests on the market
‘Life has a funny way of giving you what you need and not necessarily what you want. Sometimes those wants and needs do match up, but sometimes you don’t realize what you actually need until the future,’ he said.
‘Melanie’s family coming into my life at this point has been a blessing. It’s kind of re-ignited some passions and excitement.’
Before taking the DNA test, Pressley was admittedly afraid that her son wouldn’t want to have any contact with her, but now she believes many can benefit from connecting to their separated relatives.
Both mother and son feel lucky that they were able to find each other now that are so many different DNA tests on the market.
‘After finding him, I felt like my heart was just whole again,’ she said. ‘Becoming older, you kind of become a little wiser, but there is no shame in giving somebody up for adoption. There are loving couples out there that cannot have children that would love to raise a child.’
She added: ‘It’s just a blessing beyond blessings. It really is. If I could share one piece of advice, it would be: Don’t be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.’
Pressley added that she has no regrets about her son’s upbringing, saying: ‘I’m telling you, if you could meet Greg, he was given a life beyond my belief. He was raised with manners. He was raised how you would dream. It’s just unbelievable.’