When William Woolery left his military base in the Philippines in 1981, he knew he had a daughter on the way, but he didn’t expect 36 years would pass before he would meet her.
Woolery, then 21, was in the U.S. Navy and once his tour was up, he had to leave the island and his then-girlfriend of two years, who was six months pregnant. Months later, he received a letter about his newborn daughter.
“The letter said, ‘She is everything from A-Z and more’ and I never heard from her mother again,” Woolery told InsideEdition.
The baby’s biological mother told him that she’d named the baby girl Tiffany Ann. After that, Woolery wasn’t able to get in contact with her and spent years searching for his daughter.
That was until this summer when he received a phone call that would change his life.
“Four months ago, my first cousin calls me at night and says, ‘I think I found your daughter.' He said he did a DNA test with 23andMe,” Woolery said.
Woolery's cousin told him that the woman had been born in the Philippines and that they were cousins, but her name was not Tiffany. It was Natosha Brown and she lived in Texas.
Brown had been adopted at six months and her name had been changed.
“I did 23andMe for just health reasons and for ethnicity reasons. I wanted to know what my ethnicity was and get a little health background because I’m adopted,” Brown said. “When I got my results back and I saw that I had a family member with such a high percentage, I shared my information and that family member reached back out to me.”
Woolery immediately reached out to Brown after receiving her contact information and within days, they had a DNA test done.
Brown, 36, and Woolery were a 99.9 percent match.
“I was overjoyed and overwhelmed. I always knew I had a daughter out there,” Woolery said.
Woolery, who lives in California, has since had four more daughters, so for an early thanksgiving, Brown met her family for the first time at a dinner sponsored by 23andMe in New York City.
The reunion was emotional and Brown said it was extremely surreal.
“It’s been great getting to know them,” Brown said. “The thing that fascinates me the most is how alike we are.”
The dad and daughter now talk every day. Woolery plans to travel to Texas this summer to meet his two grandchildren and see Brown again.
"I describe him as my new best friend," Brown said.