The Internet can save us time and energy and make our lives so much easier. One local man says it has changed his life forever.
FOX 29's Dawn Timmeney explains how he finally uncovered a 40-year-old family secret.
Michael Patrylo of Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania is beaming over birthday cards he recently received.
"Look at this to a brother I am thankful to have. Isn't that amazing," Michael said.
It is more than amazing when you consider these cards are from a family he never even knew he had.
"I looked in the mailbox and there's a stack of cards this thick and could barely get them out," Marianne Patrylo, Michael's wife said. "To get a card from his parents. I think was just. It was so special."
It was the first birthday card that Michael ever received in his 61 years from his mom and dad.
"I've been smiling ear to ear, I'm still on an emotional roller coaster," Michael said.
Michael and his wife Marianne are understandably emotional because Michael has spent more than forty years trying to find his biological parents. Given up at birth in Germany in 1953, Michael was adopted at five months old by loving parents, Rudolph Patrylo, who served in the US Army, and his wife Anne.
He first began searching for his birth mom when he was a senior in high school and on many occasions after that. He had some limited information including her name Helga Gotz.
"Wrote letters to the registrar's office in Germany and in the town of Bobbenhausen where we knew was my birth mothers last known address," Michael said, "The response was always the same- we can't find anything. Good luck in your search."
Michael finally got a break late last year. Friends connected him to a woman in Germany.
"She is an angel in my life." Michael said. "She started going to the same agency that I had been going to for all of those years and not just translating letters for me but call them and talking with them and telling my story."
And that eventually resulted in a letter with information that would be key, the name of the man his birth mother Marrie Joseph Lefever.
"Once I had that piece of information through Google, Ancestry.com and Face Book, I put the pieces of the puzzle together in less than 10 hours where I knew I had found my birth mother," Michael said.
Michael then reached out to a man he found on Facebook, whom he believed to be his brother Bruce, a retired police officer from Oklahoma. It wouldn't take Bruce long to give Michael news he has waited his whole life to hear.
"He called me the next day he says "Michael, my mom is your mom, and my dad is your dad. My knees almost buckled because at that moment I found a whole family, a mom, dad, an older sister and three brothers. And that was the most astounding thing, something I had never anticipated," Michael said.
The family reunion would take place in July in Oklahoma where his entire biological family lives.
"Walking into the room, Helga was sitting there. I just went and hugged her and said I'm so happy," Michael said. "I looked him in the eye and I shook his hand and then we hugged."
You can hear his mom saying she is sorry, but Michael reassures her no apology is necessary.
Michael says as part of the German adoption process his mom was not entitled to any information about the baby she had named Andreas Gotz. He says it was post war Germany, his parents were young and poor, and the circumstances sadly were beyond their control.
"They regretted it and they held it as a weight on their shoulders for all these years," Michael said. "It was nice to know that I wasn't given up for adoption because I wasn't wanted or that I was a mistake- things happened in their lives at that point and they were literally unable to keep me."
Michael says he never ever harbored any ill will, and had a great life, but finally has closure. He encourages others who've been adopted to take a chance.
"You need to prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best. I did that and I got the best," Michael said. "The end of a forty year search and the beginning of a new chapter."
A new chapter that may need to include an index of all of his new relatives, Michael jokes his biggest challenge now is to remember all the names of his nieces and nephews and their kids because there are a bunch of them. He'll get a chance to practice on his next trip to Oklahoma in the spring.