Laura DeLong thought the day she met her biological father would never come, but now, decades later, she is smiling.
"When I was 15, I found out that my dad that raised me, my hero, wasn't my biological father," DeLong said.
DeLong said she was heartbroken when she learned the truth. She obviously wanted to meet her biological father, but didn't know where to start. Her mother had a short affair and didn't remember anything about the man. But that didn't stop her from wondering.
"Why am I the way that I am? I'm so different from my family. I'm just different," she said.
Some 30 years later, DeLong started searching. After memberships to two DNA websites, hiring a DNA detective, joining multiple Facebook groups, some roadblocks and a heartfelt letter, she finally got a phone call.
"And I answered it, and he said, 'Hello? Is this Laura? And I said 'yes.' And he said 'hi Laura, this is Donald LaFond. I got your letter.' I was like 'oh my gosh! Hello, how are you?' And he said, 'I'm good...so, are you my daughter?'"
The next morning, Laura hopped in the car and made her way to Houghton Lake to meet the man that she lived so long without. She said she was scared of how the meeting would go.
"He was so excited. He said, 'I can't even believe this. I have a daughter, and you're so lovely,'" DeLong said.
Laura said it was crazy how similar they were and she felt complete leaving his house that day in early April.
"I finally know who my father is. When I left his house that day. I told my husband if I never see that guy again, I now know. I felt so complete and at peace."
Laura says that although she is happy to have met her long lost biological father, and establish a relationship with him, the father that raised her, Robert Getter, will always be her best friend and hero.
"I missed out on a lot with my biological father, but I'm pretty sure I got the best end of the stick because I was raised by my dad. He's a really really amazing guy," she said.
The entire process took Laura about three years. She says she wanted to tell her story to inspire other to find their long lost family members.