The journey may have been long and hard, but Martin Hauser finally met his long-lost biological brother and birth mother after decades of trying.
Martin, 59, was adopted months after being born in 1962 in North Carolina. He and his sister were told they were adopted at a young age, with Martin being adopted in Greensboro.
Martin, who lives in Mesa, Arizona, grew up in Greensboro before attending junior high school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. When his parents divorced, he and his adoptive mother moved to Tucson, Arizona.
His adoptive mother always encouraged him to find his birth family, and that’s exactly what he did for 30 years. However, doing so proved to be extremely difficult.
Adoption records can’t be viewed in North Carolina. When he started having his own family in the early 1990s, Martin requested family medical information from Guilford County’s child services department, but no identifying information could be released then.
His search picked up pace in 2017 when he took a DNA test for the first time. With the help of a volunteer, he started building out his family tree. She spent months looking through his birth certificates, US Census records, DNA test results, and more.
The search led to a name of a woman, her birth year, and a line to a baby. Martin knew that could be his mother because her birth year matched the year stated in the non-identifying information he received.
Then, in 2019, Martin heard about a change in the state law. A measure passed in 2008 allowed independent parties to serve as a confidential intermediary if a birth parent or adoptee wanted to initiate a search.
Martin started working with the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina to search for his biological parents. In December 2020, he had a breakthrough when the organization found his birth father’s death certificate.
His dad passed away in 2008, and listed next of kin was his son, Joseph B. Shaw Jr. Within 15 minutes, Martin found his biological brother on Facebook.
“I sent him a message that day, short little message, explaining who I am and who I am to him, and we have the same father and to call me,” he recalled.
On January 7, after a couple weeks, Joseph, 58, responded with his phone number. He lives in Westfield, North Carolina, and has lived in the state his entire life.
Once they started talking, the two men discovered they had the same mother, which means they are full-blooded brothers.
Since they had a lot of catching up to do, Martin and Joseph ended up talking for three hours, only taking a break to tell their families what was happening.
The brothers have been talking or texting daily ever since. Soon, Joseph told Martin that he was engaged and getting married soon.
Together with some of their children and grandchildren, Martin and his wife attended the April 25 wedding to meet the family.
The long-lost siblings shared an emotional reunion at the airport in Greensboro two days before the wedding.
“We hugged and we kissed our cheeks and we cried on each other’s shoulder,” Martin said. “My little brother is 6’4″ and I’m 5’11”, so he rubbed me on the head and he asked me if it was good to be home in North Carolina. I said yes.”
Martin even wore a shirt that said “Big Brother Finally!” to mark the special occasion.
Martin met several cousins and other family members during the wedding. Their biological mother was there, too.
No one knew Martin existed because their mom and dad told nobody. When Joseph was just three months old, his parents left him with his paternal grandmother, who raised him on her own.
Before the wedding, Joseph last saw his mother 13 years ago when he helped her move from Florida to North Carolina, her home state.
The day before his wedding, Joseph insisted on taking Martin to their mother’s house.
“When we got to her house, she told me how much she loved me. She said love is not a big enough word for what has just happened,” Martin said.
Their mother said their father was mean and never gave her any money. She was also sick and in and out of the hospital at the time. She knew she couldn’t raise their kids, so she had no choice but to give them up.
This experience has inspired Martin to help other people in North Carolina find their birth parents, siblings, or the children they adopted out.
“I don’t want someone to spend 30 years looking for them,” he said.
Click on the video below to witness the brothers’ emotional reunion.
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