A Vietnam veteran was utterly unaware that he had a daughter in the world for decades. However, the meeting with his adult daughter had a profound impact on his life.
“More important than anything in life there is family,” said 78-year-old Gary Barnes, a Vietnam veteran living in California.
Barnes was asked to join the war in Vietnam, as were most young men at the time.
He spent his time off in the Philippines, where he developed a romance with a native woman.
Unfortunately, when he was forced back into service, he had to leave her behind. He would never see or hear from her again after that.
Meanwhile, there was a woman who was on a mission fifty years later.
When she was 10 years old, Olivia Robles said she discovered that who she thought of as her biological father was her stepfather. She has been on a search for her birth father ever since. Finally, Robles found a new relative after utilizing Ancestry.com to find out where her father could be.
“The next thing you know, she’s sending me a picture of my dad and the resemblance between my youngest son Ryan and my dad—it was so compelling,” Robles said according to Fox 6 Milwaukee.
After some discussion, Robles and her cousin were able to trace her link to a man on the opposite side of the country.
Barnes was then reached by phone, offering him the opportunity to take a DNA test to determine if Robles is a daughter he never knew he had.
“For individuals who have always had their parents all their lives, it’s just something a lot of people really take for granted,” said Robles, according to the SBLY Spotlight. “You have that longing.”
Barnes and Robles wasted no time after receiving the results. When Robles flew to California, they met for the first time in person.
At 78, Barnes gained not only a daughter but also three grandchildren and a great-grandson.
The retiree now is part of a larger family that has accepted him.
Barnes, who had been living a solitary existence, was grateful for what “divine providence” had provided him as his life had changed dramatically.