Father-daughter reunion, 42 years in the making

It was a very special meeting for a very special “early” Father’s Day.

Anne Crozier, of New York, flew into the Orlando Sanford International Airport on Friday to meet her father -- for the first time in 42 years. 

The story starts in the 1970s, when her father, Joel Gates, left for the Navy, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend. Gates finished basic training, but when he returned home, his daughter had been given up for adoption.  Gates says he was devastated and really had no way of knowing if he would ever have the chance to see her again.  

Meanwhile, Anne was being raised in a happy home with her newly adoptive parents. She says she had a good childhood and great family memories. But in the back of her mind, she would always wonder about her real parents.

"Growing up, I always wondered what my real parents looked like," Anne says.

So she began searching online for information about her past.  After finding very few answers, she decided to purchase a family DNA kit to test her luck. She hit the jackpot. The test revealed she had half- sisters. Luckily, they were trying to find information on their heritage as well, never expecting to find a sibling.

After numerous Facetime sessions, there had been introductions, tears and a whole lot of laughter, as her new family continued to grow.  But it is meeting her dad, days before Father’s Day, that means the most.

Gates is in failing health and said he worried he might leave this earth before meeting the daughter that was put up for adoption, face-to-face.   Now, that worry is gone. For Gates, Friday was truly his Father’s Day.

"Best one I think I’ve ever had," he added.