Vietnam Vet Had No Idea He Was A Father — 50 Years Later He Meets His Daughter

Nov 26, 2021 by apost team

If you grew up without a parent, you understand the childhood dream of someday being reunited with your mother or father and becoming a family. This was the wish of one girl who never knew her father growing up. Gary Barnes of Grass Valley, California, met his daughter, Olivia Robles of Tampa, Florida when he was 78 and she was 50. Barnes had no idea he was a father and thought he had no children, so he was thrilled when he learned the news.

In a story from 2017, a father and daughter have reunited against all odds thanks to the help of Robles had always wanted to know who her father was, and was curious to learn more about her ethnicity. She knew her mother was from the Philippines but had never been told anything about her father. Then, Robles made contact with a cousin on her father’s side thanks to her DNA test sent to and the cousin helped her narrow down who her father was.

Robles then reached out to Barnes and asked him to take a DNA test to confirm and he happily agreed. This proved that Barnes is Robles’s father and the newly reunited pair planned to meet in California. Then, in 2017 the family spent Christmas together in Tampa, Florida and Barnes had the opportunity to meet his grandchildren and great-grandchild.

Stories like this show us the power of today's ancestry tests and how they can help families reunite together even after decades of now knowing about each other. 

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Barnes served in the military during the Vietnam war and was stationed in the Philippines. This is when he met Robles’s mother, but he had to leave before finding out that she was pregnant. Barnes went 50 years without knowing he was a father, but now that Robles is in his life he couldn’t be happier. Read on to learn more about this touching story. 

When Robles first contacted Barnes about the possibility that he was her father, he was excited to find out the truth. Barnes said to CBS13, “She called and said would you be willing to do a DNA test? And I said—sure!”

For Robles, this entire journey and resolution had been a long time coming. “For individuals who have always had their parents all their lives, it’s just something a lot of people really take for granted,” Robles told WTSP. “You have that longing.”

She added to CBS13, “This is truly a miracle; I’ve been on this quest for so many years since I was 10 years old, and here we find each other at age 50 and 78, so it’s a miracle.” It is also miraculous that Robles and Barnes both live in the same country now, as her mother is from the Philippines and that is where she met Barnes. 

Fortunately, Robles has taken a job on the West coast in Los Angeles, so she is only a few hours away from Grass Valley. Now, this father and daughter are happy to be able to get to know one another better. “They say everything happens for a reason so there's all the reasons I look back on that had brought us together today and it's just such a feeling of being blessed,” Robles said.

Barnes lived to age 78 without knowing he had any children, and then suddenly gained a daughter, three grandsons and a great-grandson overnight. “Oh, I can’t describe it,” he said. “My life is complete.”

While Robles and Barnes have had a beautiful and positive story to share about taking a DNA test, there are many others who have had shocks due to the results. BBC News reported on a couple of stories of people whose DNA test results ended up shaking many family skeletons out of the closet. 

One woman, who is named only Jenny, took a DNA test just for fun in 2018, only to find out that she was the only one among her siblings to have a different father. She thought it was a fluke at first and didn't want to believe it, but as asked more family members to do tests and compared the results, she came to understand that the man who she thought was her father was not genetically related to her. "I could just feel my heartbreaking," she said in her interview. "I thought, 'Oh, my god it's true!'" 

Findings such as these have led to support groups for people who have come to realize that they are not related to some people in their family, such as "DNA NPE Friends," where NPE means "not parent expected." 

There can be no telling what people may find when they take DNA tests, but needless to say, there are two sides to the story. For Robles and Barnes, a happy ending was highly appreciated, and their lives have changed for the better.  

What do you think of this incredible reunion? Do you know anyone else who has found family through DNA testing? Tell us your story and feel free to pass this on to your loved ones.

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