'I used DNA to track down my dad'
I MET my biological father for the first time after finding him through an Ancestry DNA Test.
I was just six weeks old when I was adopted by Mandy and Rod (who I call Mum and Dad) and had never met anyone I'm biologically related too - until now.
I'd never heard the sayings, "like father like son" said about me, no one ever asked "do you look more like your mother or your father?" and I often felt sheepish when a doctor asked about my medical history and I couldn't give an answer.
But after sharing my adoption story with the world last year with a video I was constantly encouraged to do an Ancestry DNA Test.
Being a blank DNA canvas, it was fun to find out I'm 62% Irish, 11% Italian and 10% Greek but it was a random potential 4th cousin that led to me meeting my birth father.
Being able to build out and follow along family trees at Ancestry.com led to us finding a slightly closer relative, then an even closer one, then a great grandparent, then grandparent and finally my biological father.
He's an American man who was backpacking around the world when he was 23 years old and met my biological mother. They didn't know each other for long, but it was long enough for me to be conceived and be brought into this world.
He doesn't remember much about my birth mother, except for saying she was caring and beautiful and before continuing on with his travels, he made her a mix tape.
Thirty years later he now lives and works in London and after finding an address, I started to write an old fashioned letter. But I struggled.
How do you start a letter like that? Is it the opposite of Star Wars with a "You are my father" or a more subtle yet specific: "Where were you 9 months before June 28 1987?"
After finally sending it off with a request to email me back, a week later I received this reply.
"I'm so sorry I've missed being part of your life.
I'm from the USA but I'm currently working in the London.
If you want I'll book you and your family flights over here for Christmas.
You can stay with us and we'll can spend the festive season together.
This is so exciting. It's a Christmas miracle and I can't wait to meet you"
It's not surprising now that I know him, but at the time I couldn't believe how welcoming and generous he was. Two weeks later - on Christmas Day - I flew over and met my biological father for the first time.
We sat in a café just off Oxford Street in London and spoke for about six hours. To anyone else in the café it would have just looked like two old mates catching up. It wasn't overly emotional like most people would assume, it was more of a celebration. We just kept laughing, smiling and asking "Oh my god can you even believe this?" over and over again.
My (adoptive) mum Mandy came with me. I told her she didn't have to come if it was weird but she was so excited I couldn't stop her. My whole family was pumped for me. They all know that blood related or not they're the family that raised me. I love them, they love me, and nothing will ever change that.
When my birth father first found out about me, he was slightly annoyed that no one had contacted him sooner.
He felt like he'd let me down by not being there and he was scared that I would be disappointed in him for being that absent father. But he hasn't let me down and I'm certainly not disappointed in him.
He had no idea I existed, and I thought that would be the case. So how could I be mad?
My birth father went on to meet his wife, start his own family and have a great life.
Mum and Dad weren't able to conceive naturally and after multiple unsuccessful IVF treatments thought they'd missed their chance to be parents but they've now been my mum and dad for 30 years.
I've had a great life I wouldn't have it any other way.
It worked out well for my birth father, my parents and for me.
Everyone is a winner and like with most adoption stories, this is a good news story.
But it gets better.
Growing up as an only child and an adopted child - the thought of having siblings is unfathomable.
But my birth father has two sons and thus, I have two half-brothers and I got to meet them in London as well. There were so many similarities it was spooky. Even after spending a week exploring London, going out for dinner and having drinks every night I still got the shivers seeing my two half-brothers and seeing how much they looked like me.
When speaking about adoption on my Heidi, Xavier and Ryan radio show, lots of other adoptees called into Hit929 and said they feared rejection from their biological family, others feared their adopted family who raised them might be offended and as a result many adoptees live there whole life thinking, "what if?"
It's really hard reaching out. I know it's hard. I know not everyone will have a great result like I've had.
But for me not knowing, not trying, that would be harder and my only regret with reaching out to my family is that I didn't do it 10 years ago.
Ryan Jon hosts the Heidi, Xavier and Ryan breakfast show on Hit929 in Perth.