Jonny Ruzzo for Reader's Digest
Kieron Graham always knew he had an older brother. His adoption papers, signed and sealed when he was three months old, listed a sibling named Vincent but no last name. Though Kieron spent years thinking about Vincent, he could never track him down.
That changed in December 2017, when Kieron’s adoptive parents gave their four adopted children AncestryDNA tests as Christmas gifts. Kieron, now 21, sent his saliva sample in for analysis. When his results came back, he was stunned to find he had a slew of DNA matches for relatives who had also taken the test. Most were distant connections, but one match was so strong that it was labeled “close family.” His name was Vincent Ghant. Read about these real-life adoption stories that will melt your heart.
Kieron looked for him on Facebook and soon made a possible connection.
“This is going to sound so wild … but I think you’re my brother,” Kieron wrote on Facebook’s Messenger app. “I was given up for adoption in 1997 and it says on my paperwork that my mother has a son with your name and your birth date. Her name is Shawn.”
“OMG do you know your real name?” wrote Vincent, now 30.
“I think it was Tyler.”
“OMG YES!!! You are my brother.”
“Wow,” wrote Kieron.
“This is crazy,” said Vincent.
The craziness was just beginning. As they talked, the brothers realized they lived about 20 minutes from each other, outside of Atlanta. More mind-blowing, they attended the same university and majored and minored in the same subjects: political science and legal studies.
“We were like, What are the odds we’re separated our entire lives and then end up at the same school with the same interests?” says Kieron.
Vincent was nine when Kieron was born and remembers caring for his baby brother. But times were tough, and Shawn, who worked 15-plus hours a day as a nurse, decided that placing Kieron for adoption would give him the best chance to succeed.
“She was very emotional about that time, to the point where it was hard for her to put into words anything about what happened,” Vincent says.
Now the brothers had the chance to make up for lost time. They decided to meet at a local tea shop that week. “I was really nervous,” says Kieron. “I was wondering what I should say, what I should do.” As he waited outside the shop, he heard someone call his name, and he suddenly found himself in a hug with the brother he’d thought about his entire life.
The men went inside and talked. “We connected,” says Vincent, “like we already knew each other.”
One of Vincent’s concerns was that Kieron might resent his birth family for placing him for adoption. He was relieved Kieron didn’t, and that he’d grown up in a loving family.
Later that day, Kieron talked to his birth mother on the phone and went to Vincent’s to meet his wife and his two-year-old daughter, Kieron’s niece.
“She looked up at me, and I was like, Wow, here I am an uncle and I have an older brother,” says Kieron. “I was in shock at that point.”
Since that first meeting, the brothers have bonded even more. They play flag football together—Vincent is the quarterback and Kieron is the receiver—and celebrated Christmas with their families. “We’ll keep growing our relationship until it’s time to leave this planet,” says Vincent. That shouldn’t be hard. As Kieron says, “We’ve got years and years to catch up on.”