DNA testing has reunited an Ohio mother with her son after 33 years. She gave up custody of him in the hopes of finding him a better home.
Melanie Pressley, then 19, discovered she was pregnant in late 1987. At the time, her partner urged her to have an abortion. Instead, he left her after she declined.
Pressley’s son, Greg Vossler was born on June 17, 1988 in Canton, Ohio. The birthmother sought an adoption agency to place her baby with a two-parent family because she was unable to care for him properly.
“I wanted him to have a mother and a father,” she said, according to the Winchester Star.
Pressley was left with only a single snapshot of her newborn baby taken the day after he was born when the adoption was finalized. “That was the only picture I had of him,” she said.
Pressley, now 53, has three children in Wadsworth, Brian, 30; Rachel, 24; and Jessica, 22. Pressley, however, never forgot her firstborn son that she gave up for adoption.
In May, Pressley’s daughter Rachel gave mom a 23andMe gift card—a DNA testing—as a “birthday-Mother’s Day combo.
“My children all knew that I had given my son up for adoption, and she was hoping I would find him,” Pressley recalled.
Pressley was startled to learn that 23andMe had found another customer whose genetics suggested he might be her son when the test results arrived on May 21. DNA testing identified Pressley and Vossler as possibly related within days.
“Oh my gosh,” Pressley shared. “I sat and stared at it a little bit.”
Meanwhile, 300 miles away in Winchester, Virginia, 33-year-old Vossler was going about his business, raising a family and working for Green Bay Packaging Inc. The father of two boys found he was adopted later in his childhood and grew up thinking about his birth family.
He decided to take a DNA test in 2018 after becoming a father to discover more about his genetics because he could not find any medical records of his biological parents.
“Everything checked out, but in the back of my mind, [23andMe] always suggests new DNA relatives,” Vossler said according to the New York Post.
“It was a surreal and crazy moment,” he recalled after receiving a message from Pressley on May 21. “I couldn’t really wrap my mind around it.”
When Vossler confirmed his age and his birthday that Pressley had memorized, she felt sure she is his biological mother.
Pressley always believed her son would be well since the parents who raised him promised to look after his health, welfare, and happiness in a letter sent in Sept. 1988.
“Dear Birthmom of ‘Our’ Baby,” the letter began, including a sentence that Pressley has kept in her heart ever since: “Please, if you ever wonder about him, know he is loved and we will strive as hard as possible to be good parents.”
The letter’s author and also Vossler’s adoptive parents, Rich and Patrice Vossler, relocated from Ohio to Winchester in the early 1990s.
“It made me feel like I had done the right thing,” said Pressley. “He went to a great set of parents.”
In June 2021, the birth mother and son finally met in real life at Pressley’s home in Wadsworth, Ohio.
“After finding him, I felt like my heart was just whole again,” Pressley recalled. “Becoming older, you kind of become a little wiser, but there is no shame in giving somebody up for adoption. There are loving couples out there that cannot have children that would love to raise a child.”
“It’s just a blessing beyond blessings. It really is,” Vossler said, believing their story is much like a fairytale has come true.
“If I could share one piece of advice, it would be: Don’t be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God,” her son added.