NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – Jacob Milhan said it was DNA kits he received for Christmas that ultimately helped make a meeting with his biological parents possible.
- Jacob Milhan reunited with his biological parents
- Milhan was given up for adoption
- DNA kits he received at Christmas led to the meeting
"There’s no words to describe my feelings. Happiness. Prayers answered," Milhan said the day after the reunion.
Milhan said the kit results first helped him find a first cousin – his mother’s niece. Although it appeared she hadn’t logged onto the site in years, Milhan said he sent her a message and she responded.
"She said, ‘I know your mom. She’s alive. She’s well," Milhan said.
That niece reached out to Milhan’s biological mother, Thea King.
"’Tia, are you sitting down? Your son is looking for you,’" King remembered her niece saying over the phone. "And I knew. I knew it was him immediately, she didn’t need to say anything else."
King called the decision to give Milhan up for adoption the toughest of her life.
"I was pretty much single at that point in my life, and I knew I couldn’t give him what he deserved. I wanted the best for him," she said. "I knew that I had placed him with a good home. I took about five and a half months to find the good home through the Catholic Charities."
Milhan calls his adoptive parents his "saving angels." He learned when he was seven or eight years old that he was adopted, and said he knew he wanted to eventually find his birth parents.
Mother and son connected first via text, then through phone calls. Milhan asked King for his biological father’s name, and she told him – Martin Franks. He found Franks, and the two also began talking on the phone.
In the meantime, Milhan and King had planned a visit – she’d come to his Pasco County home on his birthday, April 22. Milhan said he expected King’s red Nissan to pull up his drive. Instead, a large RV drove down the street.
"I see the RV pass, and then I see my dad’s face," Milhan said.
"His jaw was already on the driveway, and I said, ‘Darn! He saw me! He saw me!" Franks said.
Then, as a neighbor recorded the moment on her cell phone, the three were reunited on Milhan’s 32nd birthday. King and Franks said they began planning the surprise shortly after Milhan first contacted them last month. Franks came from Colorado and King from South Carolina.
"I couldn’t get to him fast enough. It was that missing piece," King said.
"You feel like you’re a strong man, you don’t cry," said Franks. "But, man, I’ll tell you what – the tears were flowing. I just – I found my happy."
Milhan has four children of his own and one on the way, which he said makes finding his biological parents even more special.
"Doesn’t matter how far apart, how distant, how long it’s been. Family is family, blood is blood, and that’s all that matters," Milhan said.