For years, a Medina County woman has been wondering about the child she put up for adoption nearly three decades ago.
How does he look to be? What does he do for a living? Was he happy?
She now has those answers and more thanks to 23andMe, a well-known DNA genetic testing company.
Melanie Pressley was only 18 when she fell pregnant with her first child, a son. Her partner was not supportive and wanted her to have an abortion at the time. Pressley declined, and the pregnancy was carried to term.
She recognised, however, that she couldn’t keep him forever.
“I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it financially.” “Also, I wanted him to have a mother and father, so I decided it was best to place him for adoption at that time,” Pressley explained.
She went through the adoption process with the aid of her family through an Akron-based agency.
On June 17, 1988, she gave birth to her child at Canton’s Timken Mercy Hospital. She didn’t name him because she wanted his adoptive parents to be the ones who got it.
She added that she wasn’t allowed to hold him that day, but her sister inquired with a nurse the following day.
“‘I’ll take you into a private room so she can hold him,’ she replied, adding, ‘Take as much time as you need.’ My sister photographed me holding him at the time, the last image I had of him for the next thirty-three years. “That was the only photo I had of him,” explained Pressley.
Pressley has three more children and is happily married, but she still thinks about the kid she gave up for adoption every day, especially on June 17th.
“On that day, I still had a little of the melancholy in me.” “And that’s pretty much the easiest way to express it,” Pressley observed.
Pressley’s son, who lived in Winchester, Virginia, 307 miles away from her Wadsworth home, was also worrying about her.
After being adopted by the Vossler family, he was given the name Greg. They lived in Stow for almost seven years after he was adopted before moving to Winchester.
“They told me I was adopted and I could have a better life abroad when I was maybe nine or ten years old,” Vossler, who still lives in Winchester, said.
Vossler stated that his interest was soon sparked.
Years later, he uncovered hospital documents with descriptions of his birth parents but no names, birth dates, or ages.
“I’ve never been inquisitive. ‘I don’t see a star who looks like me,’ or ‘No one who is a king or queen in some faraway country looks like me,’ I’d always say. And I always pretended it was a joke. “It was just my way of having a quick response in my back pocket when people enquired; I’d never really given it much thought,” Vossler explained.
He stated, however, that it was constantly on his mind as he went through college, married, and reared two sons.
“I named my first child Gregory after the first blood relative I ever met.” “I needed that connectivity,” Vossler explained.
I was adopted 33 years ago through 23andMe.
He then decided in 2019 that he wanted to learn more.
“My wife and I were sitting and talking one night when I stated, ‘I don’t know anything about my medical history, genetics, or where I’m from.’ There was also some kind of 23andMe ad going on. As a result, I took the test,” explained Vossler.
Melanie’s mother died the same year, forcing her to pursue a long-held ambition.
“It had always been my hope that he meet my mother, but she had died.” The night Grandma died, my nieces, nephews, sisters, and I were all gathered around the table. “And we were just strolling around saying stuff when it hit me, and I started crying and screamed, ‘I need to find my son,'” Pressley recounted.
Melanie found out when one of her daughters gave her a 23andMe test as a birthday present in May 2021.
The results arrived in just a few days, along with a prospective son named Greg Vossler.
“I immediately sent a message, and my first message was, I believe we’re connected,” Pressley explained. “I believe I am your birth mother,” the following message said. It just blew out from there.”
“One of the first questions I asked him was, ‘Are you happy?’ It was a big question for me.” And he returned, saying, “Oh my God,” he’s married with two sons. “It was like spilling everything,” remarked Pressley.
I evolved into emails, then messages, and finally texts.
According to Vossler, they thoroughly researched each other to verify the bond was genuine.
“You see, the hospital where I was born changed its name, so we were wary of each other.” ‘Do you remember the hospital where I was born?’ I said. And she brought up the name from 1988. “And I was like, ‘OK, alright, we got there,’ and I had a couple more questions, and she responded, and she passed the test,” Vossler explained.
“You’re just sitting there,” explained Vossler, “and it’s not something you can ever mentally prepare for.”
When Vossley asked if he could phone Pressley, she said she wanted to hear his voice when she saerson.
Vossler, his wife Chelsea, and their two sons spent the weekend in Wadsworth in June.
Vossler and Pressley were both worried that the link would fail and the whole affair would be a farce, but they were both completely incorrect.
When Vossler and his wife first met, his wife took a photograph of him.
“I’m grateful to her for doing that because it was the first time,” Pressley remarked.
Vossler claimed he and Pressley talked for four hours straight on the first day. He also met 17 new extended family members, including two siblings, aunts, and grandfather.
“Everyone is upset, and they’re all shaking hands or hugging.” ‘Hello, I’m your half-brother, half-sister,’ and so on.
Melanie’s elder sister, who was instrumental in allowing Melanie to snap that first photograph, approached me and stroked my face. “She hasn’t seen me in 33 years,” Vossler explained.
“It’s a terrific feeling.” “It just goes to show that there’s always room for families to grow and more love to be shared,” Vossler remarked.
Pressley and Vossler are still figuring out how to be friends. This weekend, Pressley and her husband, Tim, plan to visit the Vosslers in Virginia.
Vossler has also been invited to his half-sisters’ wedding this fall, which he plans to attend.
“I’m just glad the ball is moving, and I’m going to soak it all in and enjoy it.” “Enjoy the little ones whenever we get the chance,” Pressley continued.
The photo taken in the hospital by Pressley’s sister 33 years ago isn’t the only one of this mother and son together.
“I suppose life just recognised that we needed this connection and that our families needed each other,” Vossler explained.