Growing up, Theresa Ledbetter never knew who her father was.
She only knew his name: Gilbert.
And Friday, March 33rd was a special day for her.
It’s not only her 33rd birthday and the day she finally gets to meet him.
“It’s something I’ve looked forward to for a very long time in my life.”
Theresa was a teenager when her mother died.
Theresa decided to start searching for her biological father a year ago and that’s when everything began to fall into place.
“I’m just glad that I’m finally seeing my daughter that I’ve missed for a long time I guess you know I really don’t know what to say; it’s overwhelming. I’m glad she met the family and I’ll always be there for her,” her father, Gilbert Garica says.
Theresa now has her father, new grandparents, aunts and uncles, and new brother, who has the next step in mind.
“Getting to know her and everything; I’ve missed out on a good chunk of our lives and all we can do is catch up,” brother Anthony Garcia explains.
“So going from no family to a full blown family is just super overwhelming in a very great way,” says Theresa.
It’s not clear why Theresa’s mom didn’t tell her who her father was. She believes her mother was unsure herself and just didn’t pursue it.
However, Gilbert had seen Theresa very young and noticed a resemblance.
“But no more denying now,” Gilbert adds.
“The fact that I’m able to have that now is super amazing…it’s a blessing,” Theresa says, tearing up.
Theresa is sharing this moment alongside her husband, children, and friends.
“It feels great because my wife has closure in that side, she never grew up with a mom and a father and we’ve paid agencies off the name that we had and we searched and searched and I searched and we could not find the person that we had,” Matthew Ledbetter, Theresa’s husband explains.
“I got to meet my grandpa, my tia, my other tia, my other tia, and my other tia,” their daughter Avery exclaims.
“He had my mom in his heart for a very long time,” says Mathew, their son.
Now Theresa and Gilbert both get to experience new memories with a whole new family.
“Welcome to the family Theresa,” one of her new family member says.
Theresa had looked on Ancestry.com one year ago to attempt looking for her father.
A year later, Mark Ortiz logged on out of curiosity. Theresa popped up at his first cousin.
He also noticed they had a second cousin in common.
After finding out that his mom knew that person, he suggested they suggester they send her a message.
And then she was talking to her new Aunt Debbie and Cousin Mark.
Debbie happened to know Theresa’s dad Gilbert…it was her brother. And the DNA results were clear.
This experience is also something that Theresa can share with her husband, who did not meet his biological mother until the age of 22.