My name is Jimmie, and it seems like I have spent my whole life looking for my little brother!
My mother was pregnant with my half-brother Josh in 1983. She was in jail at the time, and getting ready to serve a long sentence. I was raised by my grandparents. They wanted Josh too, but she was spiteful and chose to give him up for adoption instead. I'll never forget when he was born, in the same month as my birthday.
I remember going to the hospital and standing on my tiptoes to watch him through the nursery window. My grandparents explained that he was going to go live with another family for a while, something that made no sense to me. My grandpa got me a cabbage patch doll and I named him Josh and carried him around all the time. Growing up I always knew I had a brother. My grandparents were always honest with me for the most part. My mom got out 6-8 years after Josh was born but we never had a good relationship. Like many teenagers, I got in a bunch of trouble in my teens. When I got a little older, like in 2000, I realized part of my problem was confusion and frustration over not knowing my brother, so I decided to find him.
I used a search company that looked reputable on the surface. I spent a bunch of money but the search went nowhere, like a dead end road. I was angry and felt cheated, and swore I'd never be taken advantage of again. Finding Josh stayed on my mind, but the records are sealed. My mom would never help me, or she was so messed up on drugs that she wasn't able to. The situation seemed hopeless.
Then about a year ago I watched Troy the Locator and it was real emotional for me. The stories hit home. My wife told me, "Why don't you write them?" I said "I'm not a person who wants to air my problems on TV," But her suggestion stayed with me, so I decided write in. The show got cancelled, but within a few weeks I was contacted by Linda at Search Quest America. She told me all about the services and I feel bad about it now, but I was real skeptical at first. I was rude and demanded to talk to Linda's boss, and squabbled a lot about the wording in the contract. I really ran them through the mill, worrying about the money transaction and stuff. It's just after being scammed by that other company and going through that heartache I needed to be careful.
Again, my wife pushed me down the right path. She said, "Jimmie I feel this is true. This is good. You should do it." I took her advice, sent in the money and the contract, and sure enough, within 24 hours my case was solved.
Right away, Susan gave me Josh's full name. I went on Facebook, and found a man by the right name and friended him. Susan said 9 times out of 10 the sibling will be in the same city as you are. So I found Josh on Facebook and friended him even though he looked nothing like me. He accepted me, so I went in and looked at his pictures. I saw a picture of his oldest daughter, who is the spitting image of my daughter. He's tall and skinny, I'm not. But if you look at our daughters there's no denying we're related.
Next, I sent him an email on Facebook. Basically I said hey my name's Jimmy. I'm 35 and I'm looking for my half-brother named Josh, born on this date at this hospital.... I basically said hey I'm not looking for anything, I have a good job and great family. I just want to find my brother and let him know I'm here if he needs me. I sent the message.
Nothing happened for another 24 hours. I waited on Facebook till I saw the little green dot showing he was online. I tried to be casual. I just said "hey Josh did you get that email?" he said "no man, what did it say?" I copied and pasted the message and sent it through instant message.
"Dude, I'm it" was all he said.
"What do you mean you're it?" I asked.
"Call me!" So I did.
We had an instant connection. Josh has been in the army for ten years, has a family and a wife. I called him at about 10 o'clock our time, 1 am their time. We literally talked for 4 hours. I was real emotional because I had been searching for him. I was up, down, crying, happy sad, just everything. He explained to me "I knew I was adopted. My parents were wonderful. My mom is a teacher. My dad is a carpenter.
They are good people who did lots of community service throughout their
life. I was raised well." I was so happy to hear he'd had a good life.
One thing that shocked me about his story is that he grew up right here in Modesto. He lived within a quarter mile of the high school I went to. His neighborhood was only 5-6 miles away from mine, and we know several of the same people. He's cousins with a family I used to always go camping with. It's just crazy we never crossed paths. After high school he served in the army and went overseas. He's a real hero. It was almost too good to be true.
I was really apprehensive. I kept saying "are you SURE you're the right person?" He kept reassuring me and he had all the same information I had, birth date, etc. I was totally honest with him about everything, especially about our family. I didn't want to sugarcoat anything and then down the line have him feel mislead. I wanted to reassure him that he was wanted by his grandparents, and it was our mother who was vindictive and prevented him from staying with us.
We still haven't met face to face. He's in North Carolina, I'm in California. My Christmas present was that we got to Skype each other for the first time. It's been a roller coaster. He was going to come back to California this week, but unfortunately he got his papers to go back to Afghanistan. He's got to be on call till they decide what they're going to do. It also turns out his family always knew where I was growing up and kind of steered Josh away from me to protect him from my mother. On the one hand it really hurts to know we could have always known each other. On the other hand I'm glad he had a family that loved him enough to protect him. At this point we're just trying to look forward. So far so good! We talk every couple weeks and things are going great.
My advice to others is to always be honest about who you are and who your family is. I don't think it's fair to paint your family one way and then have them find out the dark secrets down the line. You could lose them a second time. For me it worked out great to just be honest up front about everything.
Also, don't give up! If you don't succeed right now, don't give up. Always keep them in your mind and if you love them, don't give up. Also make sure you are proactive and work with your researcher. And finally, go with Search Quest America! Like I said, I worked with other companies who ripped me off, but SQA was an honest, conscientious company and they really took care of me. Ask around and do your research and stay away from companies who thrive off your emotions.
Over all I'm just so grateful to have found Josh and know he's happy and healthy and had a good life. I'm willing to give him all the time he needs to warm up to us, and over all the future is looking real good for us. Thanks so much to Susan, and everyone else at SQA who make this all possible. You guys rock!