Life has strange ways to catch up with you, and for this 78-year-old veteran, it was the nicest present he could ever wish for.
Gary Barnes, a Vietnam veteran residing in California, had resolved to never have children. He held faithful to that commitment until he received a call that would alter the rest of his life. Soon later, he held a daughter in his arms in a homecoming he would never forget.
Barnes, much like most of the young men of his period, was requested to serve in Vietnam.
During his tenure in the Southeast Asian country, he spent his time in the neighboring nation of the Philippines for relaxation and leisure. Naturally, for a lonely soldier and a guy in his prime, he sought out the companionship of ladies. This led him to a wonderful Filipina who he, sadly, had to abandon when he was summoned back to the military. It would be the last time he’d ever see or hear from her again.
After half a century has passed, a lady is now on a quest of her own.
It all began when she uploaded the results of her DNA test to the Ancestry.com website. The sole goal that Olivia Robles had in mind was to discover the truth about her heritage. Although she is aware that she was born in the Philippines, she was never given a great deal of information on the history of her family or the genealogy that came before her.
Nevertheless, an unanticipated match to a “far relative” was found thanks to her submission. Following a few back-and-forth conversations, Robles and her cousin were able to trace her ancestry all the way back to a guy who lived on the other side of the nation.
That’s when Barnes got a phone call with an offer: he could take a DNA test to find out whether Robles is the daughter he never had by finding out if she’s his biological daughter.
“It’s just something that a lot of people really take for granted,” Robles stated to WTSP. “For folks who have always had their parents throughout their life, it’s just something that a lot of people really take for granted.” You have that desire, don’t you?
When the data were finally available, Barnes and Robles did not waste any time in acting on them.
When Robles traveled to California, it was the first time they met one another in person. As Robles left the gates, Barnes, who was feeling anxious and a little bit sad, gave her a strong embrace.
Robles, who is now 50, and Barnes, who is now 78, have provided him with not just a daughter but also three grandchildren, as well as a great-grandson. The recently reunified family was eager to make up for lost time and celebrated Christmas in Tampa with Robles’ extended family after they had been reunited.
The retiree had been enjoying a peaceful life, but suddenly he is a part of a larger narrative that unfolds within the context of a family that has accepted him. Even when Robles’ youngest son was wrapping up his first year at West Point, he traveled all the way to New York to be with her there.
It was an honor bestowed upon him to be the one to pin his grandson’s first badge, passing the soldier’s torch from grandpa to grandson.
Robles has accepted a job in the west since her boys are now all adults, which is fortunate for her family. Barnes, who had been living in Grass Valley, is now just a few hours’ drives away from her new profession in the Los Angeles area.
Barnes was appreciative of what he called “divine providence,” even if his life has been turned upside down by the changes that have occurred.
According to what he said with WTSP, “more essential than everything else in life there is family.”
Even if he may be late to the party, he is still willing to participate in it, particularly in the years that are to come.
Watch as a father and his daughter who was born on the other side of the world are reunited thanks to a submission that was made to a genealogical website.