CLEVELAND — There's nothing like family. The closeness, the safety, the feeling that they'll always be there. And, yet, so many people are looking for their missing link.
“The most important thing is that the searcher now knows where they come from. And that's a really hard place to be, to not know who you are, who your birth family is," said Lynette Caton Bryan, co-owner of DNA Now.
The "searchers" are people Lynette and her business partner, Janet Rinardo Travis are dedicated to helping. They have a business called DNA Now, and they're successful "search angels" who have solved over 100 cases.
“I feel like it brings a peace of mind to people. They have questions that have gone on answered their whole lives," Janet said. “And everyone needs to know that they're loved and were loved.”
For over 10 years, the pair has reunited brothers and sisters, long lost friends, and birth parents with the children they gave up for adoption. They say it's important to know the other side.
“There's been different circumstances ... why people give up babies for adoption and they just want to find their story and know their truth," Janet said.
The truth is the driving force. Sometimes, these women won't rest until they find it.
“A lot of times, you don't go to sleep because you're so close to finding an answer ... you're right there, that you just have to keep at it. And so, you solve it," Lynette said.
“I think I go on the same journey with the searcher. I have emotional highs and emotional lows. I cry with them. I scream and yell with them. And, I go through the same things with them," Janet told us.
The first step is always the hardest part. And, it's not a fairytale every time.
“Are they alive? Are they gonna want me? Am I a secret? That's a lot of their fears," Janet explained.
“There is a fear of the unknown ... fear of rejection. They perceive it as a second rejection if the connection's not good," Lynette added.
But, most searchers feel a lifelong weight has been lifted.
"Whether it's the right outcome or not, at least they have answers and that's important," Janet said.
"You know, what's really cool is to hear someone say, 'Oh my goodness, I finally have someone that I look like. I see myself in them.' And, it's really beautiful," Lynette shared.
And for those afraid to reach out, they have a message:
“I say, go for it. Because none of us are promised tomorrow and you don't know what the circumstances are on the other side," Janet said.
"The last thing you want is to regret. So if you don't take that leap, you'll never know," Lynette said.
Are you searching for someone? A sibling? A birth parent? A long lost friend? Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Janet and Lynette, we want to help reconnect you in 2021.