Robert Allen was raised as an only child after he was adopted at just 5 months old, so he tells Yahoo Parenting that reuniting with five of his nine siblings on Saturday was “surreal.” (Photo: WCPO-9)
Forty years after Robert Allen was adopted and separated from his five siblings, the Springdale, Ohio, man reunited with them on Saturday — and discovered that he’d actually met a few of them before.
“We have been passing each other our whole lives,” Allen tells Yahoo Parenting about discovering that his family on the side of his biological mother (now deceased) has a couple of connections to him and his adoptive family in their mutual hometown. The 40-year-old reggae club owner used to own a general store in town that it turns out his siblings visited, with his late mom. “I’ve seen my mother and she’d seen me, but we didn’t know each other,” he marvels. “But we did see each other. Learning that was a real emotional moment for me.”
Another amazing coincidence is learning that his biological mother and adoptive mother, who is a nurse, both worked at the University Hospital Cincinnati at the same time, yet had no idea of each other’s significance in their lives. “I know it’s divine intervention,” Allen says of finally making these family connections. “My mom is up there pulling the strings. Definitely.”
Take the speed with which Allen found his family. Until March, the records of his 1975 adoption — at five months old — were sealed. As soon as they were opened, his mother urged him to find out what his birth parents’ names are so that he could piece together the missing information that he’d always wondered about. “So two weeks ago, I went to Columbus and filed to get my information,” he says. “They told me it would be about four weeks before I’d get news, but it came back in just six days.”
Robert Allen, Jr. (Photo: WCPO-9)
A few hours after he received his birth certificate in the mail, he went on Facebook and asked friends to help him find his family. “That was at 1 p.m.,” Allen says. “And by 9 p.m. I was talking to my sister.” As fate would have it, one of the neighborhood kids who had frequented his general store for candy and snacks 20-odd years ago was his nephew. The nephew saw the Facebook post, messaged Allen, and called his own mother about a hunch he had that they were related. Allen says: “He told his mom, I’m telling you, he looks like Uncle Robert.” (Allen was born Mark Daniel Jordan, but his adoptive mother called him Robert — a name he now shares with one of his birth brothers.)
Robert Allen (right) chatted with one of his brothers and his mom. (Photo: WCPO-9)
His nephew, sister, and he promptly got on a three-way phone call to figure things out. “She interrogated me,” he says. “’Where did you get this information? Spell your mother’s name. Where was she from?’ She did a thorough job.” And before their tear-filled conversation was finished, the trio discovered their relationship was real. “I still can’t believe it,” Allen says.
Robert Allen (center) poses with a few of his siblings on Saturday. (Photo: Facebook/Aj Jordan)
They celebrated by bringing everyone together for the first (intentional) time on Saturday. “It was surreal meeting them,” he says. “It felt like a dream. I was raised an only child and always wanted brothers and sisters. My mom told me I had siblings, so finally getting to meet them filled in the part of me that felt something was missing.” There wasn’t even any awkwardness, he adds. “It felt like I just hadn’t been around, like we just hadn’t seen each other in a long time, but we’d always known each other.”
And now they’re determined to stick together. (Allen has also recently learned that he has another two brothers and two sisters on the side of his biological father, whom his biological mother never married.) “My mother was the real staple of the family, they say, but since she passed eight years ago, they’ve drifted apart,” he says. “So my plan now is to start us all getting together once a month for a family dinner on Sundays. I want to get us all back together, how we’re supposed to be. Personally, I’d like to do it every Sunday.”