The completed journey of Joe Adams

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"For Joe, at this stage of his life, the future has never looked brighter. No more mysteries to unravel – just discoveries of what has been found."

When Joe was a young boy growing up, he sensed that something was missing in his life. He was born to a single mother who lived in Texas. Not long after Joe was born, his mother had met a man who was to become her husband. They married, had some kids, and life went on. That is, until Joe's step father was no longer in the picture. After that short marriage, Joe's mother never married again. Joe, the eldest of two sons in the family, became somewhat of the patriarch at a very early age.

As Joe grew up, his awareness of his upbringing became clearer. He knew that he came from a different father than his siblings did. He had asked his mother about who his father was, and she had only some clues to the puzzle. She remembered he was in the Air Force and a fireman. That is where she met him - near an Air Force Base in Houston. When she found out she was pregnant with Joe, it was time for Joe's father to rotate to another duty station. Joe's mother was left to give birth and raise Joe as a single mother. That is, until she met Joe's step-father.

After Joe grew older, he went away to college. His thirst to find out who his real father is (or was) grew stronger every year. He had a copy of this birth certificate, and was hopeful he could find clues somewhere in that single piece of paper. All he could find was a couple of oddities, besides the fact there was nothing filled in on the birth certificate under “Father”.

First, his name. It was odd to have a first name of simply "Joe". "Joe" is most always a nickname for Joseph. Then then his middle name - Adams. "Adam" is not an unusual middle name, but "Adams"? That was very unusual.

Joe had figured out the mystery to his middle name "Adams" with the help of his mother. She told Joe it was on his birth certificate that way as "Adams" was the name of his biological father. That helped a bit, but the clues he had so far, were scarce. Then what really got him thrown off the trail was when his mother’s sister told him his father’s name was Covington. That made a confusing situation ever more confusing for Joe. He was searching for an Air Force vet with a somewhat common last name like Adams, or Covington. This made searching for his father something like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Joe finished college and went on to law school. He got married, and started a family of his own. However, that one question kept gnawing at him. Who am I? Who is my real father? Is he still alive? What is my family history? Good? Bad? Health Issues? Or what?

Many years later as Joe's family continued to grow up, something happened which proved to be a key to this mystery. It was going to unlock at least one of the doors. Technology had advanced to the point where a simple saliva test could show one's DNA. It could show a person's heritage and maybe even some relatives with similar DNA.

Joe decided he had nothing to lose by trying the test, so he sent away for it. He followed the directions, boxed it up, and mailed it back. No response. All the excitement Joe had about this test, withered away when five weeks later, he finally received back a note from the DNA company. Joe's test had failed. The company would however, send him another kit, and he could do it again for no additional charge.

This time Joe was nowhere near as excited as the first time. He had put the kit on a shelf, and that is where it stayed. Finally, after about five months, he took the test again. Joe sent the kit in, and within the next four weeks, he received an email response. A hit! The test identified someone else with Joe's same DNA patterns! It was someone Joe was related to! This just might be a key, or hopefully the key, to finding out who Joe's real father is.

A bit of irony here first. The other person who took the test was a grandson of Joe's real father. He just recently completed the kit (less than two months before Joe sent in his first test kit) so this was truly a blessing from God. If for some reason he had not done this, Joe's DNA sample would have come back with his heritage, but no relatives on his father’s side – only his mother’s. Because his father's grandson had taken the test, a very important part to this puzzle was now in place.

Joe got the contact information for this person whose DNA matched his. Is this one of the relatives he has been searching for? Someone who could help Joe located his real father? Joe sent this person of this new opportunity an email via Ancestory.com, but there was no response. And then came the real twist.

Joe learned by looking at this new contact’s family tree on Ancestory.com, he did find out the new contact’s great-grandfather’s name was “Adams”. Not only Adams, but Joe Adams! Then the pieces started to fit together. Hope now surged in Joe like never before.

Within four hours, with the help of Google and Facebook, Joe was able to confirm that Joe Adams might not only be his grandfather’s name, but also his father’s name. If this was true, Joe would be the third of three generations of Joe Adams.

This new contact Joe found had a grandfather who now appeared to be Joe’s father. Yes, the new contact’s grandfather is a retired Air Force vet and fire chief. And yes, he is still alive at 87. The gnawing feeling, which Joe had for most of his life, now started to go away. He was now sure he found his other family! This “new contact” was really Joe’s nephew! And his nephew’s grandfather, was also Joe’s father!

Joe then found out he had other siblings from his biological father (seven to be exact). And nieces and nephews galore. But now came the phone call which he had been waiting for most of his life. After decades of searching and wondering, he was finally going to be able to contact his father.

The contact was as good as Joe could have ever imagined! Joe's father had found a son, and Joe had at long last found his father. This "Hail Mary" pass of taking the DNA test coupled with some deep and serious prayer on the previous Father’s Day, led to the last turn in the road.

Up to now, this last turn was the final part on an incomplete journey. As it turns out, the last turn was going to be the best one. Joe was going down to Texas to meet not only his father, but many other members of this new family he had never seen nor known.

As the time for the trip approached, Joe decided to contact an old friend who now worked at Fox News. That friend is Pete Hegseth. To Joe this made sense. Pete's family is local to Minnesota, he is a vet, and he was connected with Fox News. Joe asked Pete if Fox News would be interested in this story. A story about an Air Force veteran, a son he had never met, meeting for the first time in Texas.

Fox News agreed this story was too good to pass up. They agreed to cover it. The Fox crew went to Houston early that weekend, and had it set up for a network feed. Meanwhile, Joe was on a plane headed to Texas with butterflies the size of eagles in his stomach. The excitement, the nervousness, the apprehension, all were rolled into one emotion.

When Joe arrived, and walked up to meet his father, they hugged like a father and son would do. Was there a dry eye? Not at my house when I watched the reunion on TV. It was without a doubt, one of the greatest quests, the longest journeys that I had ever heard of. And now the journey was complete for Joe Adams. Or should I say, Joe Adams Field.

On a side note, due to other scheduling, Pete Hegseth was not able to be there that weekend. However, he did interview Joe and his father the following Monday. Besides being broadcast, it also went on YouTube. As of last August, the video had 1.2 million views. For a great many people, this was a story worth watching.

This was an amazing journey for my friend Joe. When he and I discussed it over lunch, the emotions of the journey could still be seen in Joe eyes, heard in his voice.

But now Joe has another journey, which is going to be just as wonderful. This is the journey of Joe and his father getting to know each other, enjoying each other’s company. They will be spending time with each other, doing all sorts of things that fathers, and sons do together.

There is an additional bonus to Joe finding his father. That is Joe finding his other family - the family he had never met. It has rekindled a desire for Joe to reunite with his own broken family on this mother’s side.

Finally, how did Joe’s newly found family treat him when he arrived for that first meeting in Texas? Like Joe had always been part of them. He was family. Once unknown, and now known.

What does the future for Joe hold? No more mysteries - just prayers answered. This insatiable desire to find his real father has allowed Joe not only to find his father, but also a family he never knew existed. A new family offering friendship, relationships and love. Joe’s tomorrows will be bright with promise. For Joe, at this stage of his life, the future has never looked brighter. No more mysteries to unravel – just discoveries of what has been found.