DECATUR, Ala. — A DNA testing site connecting a father and a daughter who have spent more than half a century searching for one another; this 4th of July weekend, the Marine Corps veteran finally meeting his daughter, her children, and his great grandchildren face-to-face.
“I think about you all the time. I always did,” 81-year-old Thomas Williams said as he embraced his 62-year-old daughter, Tylin Rosser, for the first time.
“I’m here,” Rosser replied.
“God answers prayers,” Williams said.
Williams always knew he fathered a child from a relationship he had while stationed in the Philippines.
“A friend of mine in the Marines showed me a picture and I didn’t know whether it was a little girl or boy because it was so small, and he said ‘this is your baby,” Williams said.
He was always open with his American-born children about this knowledge.
“I told you about Tylin years ago!” Williams said to his daughter, Dana Williams.
Williams just never knew how to find the child.
Long-lost daughter Tylin Rosser had no idea the father she grew up with was not her biological father until after his death. It was a hidden truth her mother only confessed to soon before her own death.
“She had dementia, and she was in several stages then, but when I asked her was he my biological father, all she could remember was just, ‘William,'” Rosser said.
Rosser’s own daughter gifted her a DNA test from Ancestry.com.
“I got some information maybe about 6 weeks later saying Carla Minor Williams was a cousin or close relative,” Rosser said. “I said that must be the ‘William’ my mom was always saying.”
Carla was a relative, along with Thomas Williams’ other children; confirmed with a DNA test.
“They all favor!” Williams laughed.
The father-daughter pair met virtually first. Then, Williams’ American-born children began to plan the surprise of a lifetime, bringing Tylin, her children, and her grandchildren from their now-home in Ohio, to Alabama for the 4th of July.
The two spoke about his time stationed in the Philippines, catching up on the little things.
“I got that when I was in Subic Bay,” Williams said as he pointed to an arm tattoo.
They had tough conversations too.
“My mother got terminally ill, that’s the only reason I didn’t come back there, but then after that I didn’t know how to find you,” Williams said.
The day was filled with tears and laughter from the Williams’ and the Rosser’s. It’s exactly what you would expect from a family reunion.