A son who had been trying his whole life to track down his birth parents met his biological father face-to-face for the first time in 43 years—and he recorded the touching moment on his phone.
Sam Landis, a Northern Kentucky resident, said he was just six months old when he got adopted back in 1974 by a Cincinnati couple.
The Indianapolis-born son told WLWT his birth parents agreed to a closed adoption so Landis could never locate and track down his biological family’s whereabouts.
“I always felt different. I felt that I didn’t fit in where I was and I always wondered where that family was out there. I knew they were out there for me,” Landis told WLWT.
“I don’t have any regrets and I know he doesn’t either and the time was just right for us to meet. It was God’s timing.”
To celebrate Landis’s first wedding anniversary in June, his wife, Susan, gave him a DNA kit through ancestry.com.
After Landis sent in his DNA he got several results back, dramatically narrowing down his search. Through a cousin, he finally found his birth father, Greg Baker.
“I was thinking that we were going to find deceased relatives and now to have his dad still alive, his grandma alive, it’s really a miracle,” Susan told WLWT.
Just a few days later, Landis and Baker were chatting on the phone for the first time. The married couple got on a plane to Orlando to meet Baker, his stepmother, and his paternal grandmother. It was then that Landis learned that his birth mother had died in 1997.
“When I saw him and he looked just like me, there’s no doubt. A DNA test wasn’t even needed,” Landis told WLWT. “I can’t even explain the joy that I felt, and then when I got to hold him and hug him. I felt that we belonged together.”
Landis recorded the reunion on his cellphone and shared it on Facebook.
“It was the most spiritual experience that I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Landis said.
His father told WLWT that he always hoped to search for his son but also wanted to respect the closed adoption agreement.
“I’d always thought about him, always prayed for him,” Baker said.
Baker said that the moment when he saw his son for the first time stirred all his emotions up.
“It was like looking into a mirror. I was extremely nervous and I was also elated at the same time and really there are no words to describe the emotions that I felt,” Baker told WLWT. “It was a magical moment, you know? I am just honored. I am honored that he would want to have a relationship with me.”
Baker and Landis spent the next day engaging in a classic father-son activity together—they went fishing.
“That was No. 1 on my bucket list: Go fishing with my father,” Landis told WLWT. “I booked the charter. We got up at 5 the next morning, got on the boat and, believe it or not, we caught our very first fish at the same time.”
“We really did bond out there on that boat that day and it was amazing,” Baker said. “This is a dream come true and it can happen and it does happen.”
Landis used his experience as an example for families still searching for any lost loved ones to never give up hope.
“It could be the single greatest moment of your life. It’s worth it. It was for me,” Landis said.
A few days later, Landis also met up with his half sister for the first time.