A mother was recently reunited with the son she gave up for adoption in hopes he would have a better future.
Melanie Pressley’s questions about her son who she put up for adoption three decades ago were answered after she took a DNA test from 23andMe.
It suggested a genetic match to her firstborn son, Greg Vossler with whom she finally met recently.
Pressley had given birth to Vossler in 1988 when she was just 18 in Canton, Ohio, and wasn’t able to care for him financially. So she found an adoption agency that connected her son to a family.
Pressley was left with just one photograph of her newborn son from the day after his birth. “You go through a mourning period and yet live the rest of your life mourning,” Pressley said of her life without her son.
Vossler, 33, of Winchester, Virginia, got to know he was adopted later in childhood and grew up wondering about his biological family.
He opted to take a DNA test in 2018, after he became a father himself, to know more about his genetics since he had no knowledge of medical history from his biological parents.
“Everything checked out, but in the back of my mind, [23andMe] always suggests new DNA relatives,” Vossler said. He said, “I was like, ‘You never know. Maybe one of these lesser connections will lead to something significant.’”
Pressley received a 23andMe gift card from her daughter Rachel as a “birthday-Mother’s Day combo,” Pressley said. She later came to know that her daughter had purchased the DNA test hoping it would connect her to the son she longed to know more about.
But instead of saying that directly, her daughter cited the DNA test’s health report as the driving factor. “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 said.
The DNA test matched Pressley and Vossler as potential relatives, Pressley said. She sent him a message as soon as she saw that it was an option on the website, she added.
Pressley asked him his age and when Vossler confirmed June 17 as his birthdate, that she had embedded in her memory, Pressley told him that she believed she is his birth mother.
“His adoptive mother had written me a letter a couple of months after he was born. And she had said that when he is old enough, she will tell him [that he was adopted],” Pressley said.
Pressley and Vossler started communicating through email and later, and then moved to text messages. They finally met in person on June 2021 at Pressley’s home in Wadsworth, Ohio.
After their emotional reunion, Vossler met Pressley’s husband, his half-brother, and two half-sisters, while Pressley met Vossler’s wife and two sons.
“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,” Vossler 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.” The mother-son duo says they’re extremely lucky to have found each other as there are so many DNA tests available in the market.
Pressley said before she took her 23andMe test, she thought her son might not want contact, but after seeing the results she wants other separated families to benefit from it.
“After finding him, I felt like my heart was just whole again,” Pressley 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 went on, “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.”
Vossler believes their story is like a fairytale come true. “It’s just a blessing beyond blessings. It really is,” he said. “If I could share one piece of advice, it would be: Don’t be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”