Pete Moore, 59, has always been interested in his family history. After years of genealogy research, he learned a huge family secret. The Australian genealogist took a DNA test back in 2016 that revealed he was adopted. The news was devastating at first, but six weeks later he spoke with his birth mother and brother for the first time. That conversation led to a face-to-face reunion. “Meeting my mother was surreal. I was nervous and excited at the same time. All she wanted to do was hold me and look at me. It was a special moment,” Moore said. They have since developed a relationship and see each other often.

Moore learned that his birth mother had been single, she was newly divorced when she found out that she was pregnant. Her grandmother sent her to Sydney for a forced adoption. Moore’s birth mom had kept the secret for most of her life. She recently suffered a mini-stroke and feared she would lose the ability to talk, so she shared her story with her husband and son. The pair vowed to find her long-lost child, but Pete found her first.

Having over 13 years invested in research of the family’s ancestry, Moore had accumulated over 13,000 people in his family tree. He only took the DNA test out of curiosity for the origins of his grandkids’ olive skin. Right after receiving his results he was contacted by a DNA match. She matched him closely enough to be a half-sibling. She was afraid the results were showing that she was adopted. Moore went through his matches and his tree to see where she might fit in and was surprised that he didn’t recognize any of the surnames on his match list.

He realized he was the one who had been adopted. “I had always known that I was born at the Salvation Army Bethesda Hospital in Marrickville. I had Googled it many years ago and all I got was an image of an old building. I Googled it again and all of this stuff came up about forced adoptions. The smoking gun was there, it was obvious. I was adopted,” he said.

Being armed with this new revelation brought back a high school memory he had suppressed. In science class, they were testing blood when he realized his parents’ blood types could not have created his own. He asked the teacher after class and was told he must be adopted. It sounded so absurd that he shrugged it off and blocked the whole thing out.

Moore sent off for his adoption certificate and confronted his parents. They told him their fear of losing him forced them to hide his true identity. Even after all he has been through, Moore said, “DNA is wonderful. I wouldn’t have known all of this. At the end of the day, a lie is a lie and it has revealed it. And I may never have met my mother. I may never have met my brothers and sisters. It’s opened the door.”