Brad Ewell’s story unfolds like a plot from a dramatic movie, but it’s his real life—a tale that intricately weaves DNA discovery, an adoption surprise and the stark realities of familial bonds and identity.
As a police officer in Dallas, Texas, Brad’s life had been anchored in the certainty of law and order, but his own personal history was about to reveal a narrative filled with unexpected twists and turns.
The Catalyst of Change: A DNA Test
The journey into Brad’s unknown past started innocuously enough. In an attempt to bring a novel twist to their Christmas celebration, Brad and his wife decided to take AncestryDNA tests. What was intended as a playful exploration of their heritage soon became the gateway to revelations that would challenge Brad’s understanding of his identity.
His upbringing, under the care of a globe-trotting airline pilot father and a loving mother, had always felt complete, albeit with a lingering curiosity about his family’s roots. He often wondered about his family crest and heritage, questions that were routinely brushed off by his parents. This lack of ancestral information was the seed that grew into a towering tree of curiosity, leading Brad and his wife to the fateful decision of taking the DNA test.
Unraveling the Past
The DNA results initially seemed unremarkable, offering a fascinating glimpse into Brad’s ethnic makeup but no immediate surprises. However, the true shock came years later. A woman, unknown to Brad, persistently reached out to his wife through their shared Ancestry account, seeking to understand how she was connected to Brad. This woman’s determination to unravel their connection set the stage for a series of discoveries that would forever alter Brad’s perception of his family and himself.
The turning point came during a seemingly normal lunch date when Brad’s wife received a startling message. The woman suggested that Brad was her sister’s son, born in 1970 and given up for adoption immediately—a theory so far-fetched that it was initially met with disbelief.
But as Brad began to investigate, comparing his and his wife’s birth certificates, he found alarming differences. His appeared to be a faded copy, lacking the official markings and signatures present on his wife’s. The discovery of these discrepancies led Brad to a chilling realization: his life story might not be what he had always believed.
Facing an Adoption Surprise
Compelled to seek answers, Brad confronted his parents. The conversation with his father, initially intended to be a casual chat, quickly escalated into a life-changing revelation. His father’s prolonged silence over the phone, followed by a reluctant confession, confirmed Brad’s deepest suspicions—he had been adopted.
This adoption surprise revelation sent Brad reeling. He was 48 years old when he discovered that the family he had known all his life was not his biological family. The foundation of his identity was shaken, leading him to question everything he had known about himself.
A New Family Tree
The journey into Brad’s biological past didn’t end there. He learned that his biological mother had passed away 19 years earlier, but his biological father was still alive, albeit in a situation that couldn’t be more contrasting to Brad’s own life as a law enforcement officer. His biological father had been incarcerated in Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana since 1972, serving a life sentence.
This revelation was a bitter pill to swallow. The irony of his profession as a police officer, upholder of the law, being in stark contrast to his newfound connection to a lifelong prisoner, was not lost on Brad. It was a paradox that challenged his understanding of family, justice, and identity.
Reconnections and Revelations
Despite the initial shock, Brad embarked on a path to reconnect with his biological family. This journey led him to meet several siblings and, eventually, his biological father. Each reunion was a step towards healing and understanding, though not without its emotional complexities.
Brad’s meetings with his biological father were particularly poignant. The first encounter, filled with apprehension and uncertainty, gradually gave way to a sense of connection and acceptance. Brad had braced himself to meet a stranger burdened with a criminal past; what he found instead was a man willing to openly confront and acknowledge his mistakes. This honesty and vulnerability forged a bond between them, unexpected yet profound.
Advocacy and Healing
Through this personal odyssey, Brad became a passionate advocate for the right to know one’s genetic identity. He realized the profound impact of this knowledge and the importance of access to accurate information about one’s origins. His adoption surprise story underscores the complexity of identity and the intricate web of connections that define a family.
Brad’s story serves as an inspiration and a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of life’s unpredictability. Brad’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of truth and the enduring quest for self-discovery and connection.
You can follow Brad’s ongoing journey and advocacy on Instagram, where he shares insights and continues to inspire others facing similar revelations. Brad is also the Secretary for Right to Know. His story is not just about discovering the truth; it’s about the courage to embrace it and the journey towards understanding and acceptance.