It was back in the 1950s. A woman put in a newspaper column that she couldn’t have another child, that she couldn’t take care of the baby that was soon to be born to her. At the same time, one family—the Harmons—had been wanting to adopt a child. The Harmons saw this woman’s clip in the newspaper and were prompted to respond to her.
The woman was Lena Lewis. The day she was going to have her child, she walked into the hospital under an assumed last name: Harmon. She had the child, a son, and the very same day, the real Mrs. Harmon walked out of the hospital with Lena Lewis’s child.
No one knew what had taken place. It was during a time when adoptions didn’t really have any legalities surrounding them. There was no follow-up or paperwork done by the hospital. All they knew that was Mrs. Harmon had taken her baby home with her that day. But what they didn’t know was that there were two women claiming to be Mrs. Harmon. There were two mothers for that child—one who gave birth, and the other who took the child to raise him.
In today’s world, this could never happen; however, for Troy Hitt’s father, it did.
This is Troy’s story.
Troy’s father, Robert Harmon, was that little boy who was placed for adoption by Lena Lewis into the care of the Harmons. He married later on in life, and then Troy was born. When Troy was about 3 years old, his parents split up and went their separate ways. Troy’s mother then remarried, and they moved to Houston, Texas. It was not long after that Troy’s stepfather adopted him, and he changed his last name from Harmon to Hitt. Troy really didn’t have a desire to find his biological father’s side of the family until he started wondering about his medical history.
“I was about 35 years old, and I started wondering about medical history. I thought about trying to figure things out. It was about 2005 that I started thinking about searching for biological family. So what did I do? Well, this was before the Internet got really big. So I got out white books and started calling every Robert Harmon out there. Got a lot of people that hung up,” Troy laughs about.
But his search didn’t render any fruits. Nothing was coming up.
Until Relative Race.
Troy’s son did acting and modeling in high school, and Nicole, Troy’s wife, was their son’s manager. She submitted applications for him to different companies and was always on the lookout for more opportunities for her son. After receiving a list of auditions for organizations, Relative Race came up. They decided to apply, and Troy and Nicole were picked for Season 3 of the show.
The big push for the show was to find Troy’s biological father, Robert. Unfortunately, Troy’s father passed away in 2002. Although Troy couldn’t connect with his biological father, he did connect with his Uncle Dave—the adoptive brother to Troy’s dad. If it wasn’t for Troy’s Uncle Dave, he never would have been connected to his father’s side of the family. He would never have known that his father was adopted and that he had a whole side of the family he never knew existed.
When asked about how he felt when he connected with his biological family, Troy responded: “I was just a bit overwhelmed. The first two cousins that I met it was really exciting and emotional. Then I got to meet Uncle Dave. He preserved dad in the best way possible. It’s crazy to not have a blood connection to Uncle Dave, but yet, I feel so connected to him. There’s no one on this planet that knows him as well. There was no one who knew him better. It was really nice to get to know who dad really was.”
Until Troy was discovered, no one knew that Troy’s whole biological side of the family existed. Lena Lewis had never spoken of placing her child. No one knew. The only person that connected the dots was Uncle Dave. A DNA test didn’t help Troy find his Uncle Dave. The connection came through an aunt and a few first cousins.
Troy offers this advice to adoptees searching for birth family: “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. There are many stories even on the show of folks getting to their biological family just a bit too late. So prepare for the worst and hope for the best. At the end of the day, there are two sides to every story. Now, I have the closure that I need. I know my dad a little bit better. No one is perfect. Don’t get wrapped up too much in things. Go with the facts. I have people who loved my biological father and knew him. Some people go out for vengeance. Well, you don’t know the person’s situation. It’s not going to do anything to be that way. Prepare for it emotionally. More importantly, figure out the ‘why’ behind your search. For me, it was my medical history. That was my biggest motivator.”
Troy goes on to say that “there are many people that have a negative connotation about adoption as a whole, that it’s mostly a bad thing. It should be a positive thing. The mother that made the decision to place the child was probably looking after the well-being of that child. She [Lena Lewis] gave me life by giving my dad life. I don’t think there should be a negative connotation to adoption. Adoption isn’t a negative thing. It’s a positive thing—if people’s hearts are in the right place.”
Troy and his family would like to say thank you to Relative Race for everything they’ve done.
Are you searching for your biological family? Relative Race is looking for new contestants! Visit Relative Race Casting now to apply for the show!
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Do you want more choices with your adoption plan? Do you want to regain more control in your life? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98. We can help you put together an adoption plan that best meets your needs.