LEE COUNTY, Fla., - A local man met his mother and siblings for the first time in his life.
Gene Rogers was adopted at birth. After more than 4 decades, he says he got the courage to search for his biological mom on ancestry.com
After a couple years of searching, he found a name and phone number. He initially contacted his biological mom via text message.
“He sent me a very professional, involved, text message. He told me who he was and my heart sank,” said Cindy Neidlinger, Roger’s biological mom. “I’ve always wondered. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t wonder where he was, who he was, what he was doing.”
In between text messages and phone calls, the nerves built up for the both of them.
“Maybe he’ll be mad at me for giving him a way,” said Neidlinger.
“It’s very awkward at first but it’s also very exciting,” said Rogers.
After 46 years apart, they finally met this week.
“It’s a miracle I never thought would happen,” said Neidlinger.
A miracle in the making since 1972. That’s when his biological mother, 17 and pregnant at the time, gave him up for adoption. She says it was a hard decision but ultimately she didn’t have the means to support him on her own.
“I saw counselors and made the decision that I needed to give that child more opportunities than I could give him."
Through the adoption agency, everything was sealed, so no communication allowed.
Now, decades later, Rogers is assistant fire chief for South Trail Fire Department with a wife and three kids.
“I have hugged and thanked her and so has my mother here for making the decision that she did. It brought everybody to where we are today,” Rogers said.
Rogers says he looks forward to many reunions with his newly found family.
“It’s a fairy tale ending. Christmas just got bigger in my house this next year and we can’t be more thankful for that.”