GREENVILLE, Texas — In a year that most would just as soon forget, 2020 is one that Anna Taylor will always remember.
“Hang on let me get my thoughts together,” said Anna Taylor, 62, on a Zoom call Thanksgiving morning.
Unlike any holidays before, the Hunt County woman is especially grateful this year.
“Absolutely,” she added. “I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Her story starts last Christmas when her children gave her the 23andMe DNA kit. Taylor was always curious if she really was Italian, like she had been told.
Her birth parents put her up for adoption as an infant.
“The search that me and Ashley did – apparently we didn’t know what we were doing,” Anna Taylor said describing her first encounter with Ancestry.com.
But a so-called DNA search angel, volunteers who assist in identifying family members, helped Anna and her daughter, Ashley, find something else; a woman in Connecticut named Ada Kinch Tuz.
It was Anna’s birth mother.
“I didn’t have enough nerve to call her so Ashley had been calling and messaging them,” Anna said.
“I think she was really, really nervous, mostly for rejection,” Ashley added.
“Finally, one day, something just hit me and told me to call that number and I did. I left a message, told her who it was, when I was born, that I was put up for adoption. She knew it was me and two hours later she called me back,” Anna remembered.
Then last month, at Terminal C baggage claim inside DFW Airport, Mrs. Kinch, 85, walked into Anna’s life for the first time since 1958.
“Even though she hasn’t expressed it. I think she’s been waiting for that for a long time,” Ashley explained.
“She kind of kept all this bottled up for 62 years. She never told anyone but her husband. No one knew about me,” Anna added.
Mrs. Kinch never had any more children.
But she did tell Anna who her dad was; a man named Nicholas Noto.
He’s 86 now and lives in the V.A. nursing home in New Orleans.
Anna Taylor made the trip to finally meet him, too.
But after 62-years, concerns about COVID-19 still kept them 6 feet apart.
“It’s been a very emotional and wonderful journey,” Anna said as her eyes welled with tears. “Now I have a mom and a dad.”
As she built out her family tree, Anna Taylor discovered she also had two ancestors even come over on the Mayflower and participate in the first Thanksgiving.
“2020 has been a crazy year for all of us. Sometimes I kind of feel guilty because it’s been nothing but phenomenal for me,” Anna continued. “It’s been the best year ever.”
For her, thankful hardly describes it.