A woman who grew up as an only child and always believed she was “not black enough” discovered a whole new side of her at 66 years old.
Sylvia Kewer, 66, of Emporia, Va., met her three brothers and one sister for the first time in her life last weekend after having been given up for adoption when she was just 4 years old.
“I feel like I’ve been born again,” Kewer said. “I asked God for a small miracle and I got a big one.”
Kewer was given up for adoption by their birth mother Dorothy Mae Goode, who lived on a farm five hours away near Lebanon.
Both of her adoptive parents, Parker and Sophia Faison, are black, yet because only Kewer’s biological father was black, she never quite felt like she fit in.
“She didn’t have a lot of friends growing up and that’s because she was one of 12 blacks in an all-white high school,” her daughter Natalie Graves Tucker, 46, told InsideEdition.com. “She had a lot of racism throughout her life. She always said to me she was not black enough. She always had this question, ‘What am I?’”
After doing a DNA test with Ancestry.com, she discovered she was 72 percent European and 28 percent African.
That’s when she also discovered it was extremely likely that she was related to someone else who has taken the same DNA test.
Kewer and her daughter decided to reach out to this person, William Keith Ray, 46, who took the test earlier this year.
After they got to talking, they discovered Ray is Kewer’s nephew, and his father Billy Lee Ray, 63, is Kewer’s younger brother.
“All the facts came together," Ray told InsideEdition.com. "We compared notes. We knew it had to be my sister."
Ray, who was also given up at a young age, said he discovered he was adopted when he was 18.
About a year later, he tracked down their older siblings, Curtis and Ralph Duff, who are now in their 70s, and Nancy Goode O’Donnell, 69. They all shared the same biological mother but each had different fathers.
Although Ray continued to look for their last sister, he said the rest of them had believed she died.
“I’ve looked; I’ve exhausted every clue I’ve had and I was just about to give up,” Ray said. “I never expected news like that. 60-something years later, I’ve not given up and the news is just amazing.”
Ray and the rest of their siblings organized for Kewer and her daughter to visit, and the five siblings gathered and dined together for the first time in more than six decades.
“It was wonderful,” Ray said. “It was unreal how we connected and everything. We had great food — we even got together and sang ‘Amazing Grace’ — that was the pinnacle for me. It was a wonderful weekend for the reunion.”
Tucker added: “[My mom] was a loner and now to have all these siblings to keep in touch with… she’s on cloud nine. This has been a question of hers forever.”