Adopted Woman Finds Her Biological Father in Nursing Home 56 Years Later — Becomes his Full-Time Caregiver
There’s no greater love than the love of family.
Growing up, Deanna Shrodes knew nothing about her biological family. Adopted as an infant, it wasn’t until she was 27 years old — after years of searching — that she reunited with her birth mother.
It would take her another 29 years to find her biological father.
The Journey One Woman Took To Find Her Past
Deanna was 27 years old when she nervously knocked on a stranger’s door. That stranger was Sally King, her biological mother.
According to CBS News, Deanna and Sally would go on to have a relationship for 20 years until King died of cancer. In all of that time, there was one question that Sally refused to answer, “Who was Deanna’s father?” It was a secret she took to the grave.
But even death wasn’t going to stand in the way of Deanna finding the truth.
More determined than ever to find her bio dad, Deanna started with what she did know about him, which wasn’t much.
She only had two clues to go on — he was Greek and from Richmond, VA. So, she turned to Facebook and her faith for help. She created a private Facebook group, “Finding Mr. Greek” and enlisted her friends and volunteers in her search.
She also signed up for multiple DNA registries. And, as an ordained minister, she prayed. A lot.
She shared, “I told my husband, I told my best friend Laura … I said, ‘Listen, guys, you might think I’m crazy, but I was in prayer. God spoke this to me: Your father’s name is Gus.'”
Turns out, God was right.
A Life-Changing Discovery
On May 11, 2022, 10 years after she first began her search, the case finally broke. Deanna found a DNA match; a cousin in Greece.
“I reached out to this cousin and I said, ‘We’ve just matched on 23andMe’. … And he said, ‘I think you’re my Uncle Gus’ daughter.’ And I said, ‘I think that, too.'”
Her search was over.
Deanna immediately called her biological father. Gus Nicholas was living in a nursing home in Richmond, VA. The state had moved him there after he fell in his home four months earlier and was no longer able to care for himself.
The 92-year-old retired ballroom dance instructor had never married or had other children. When he received Deanna’s phone call, he was ecstatic. Over the years he too had tried to find her but to no avail.
“He said, ‘I woke up this morning and I was alone … And now this afternoon, I have a daughter. I have a son-in-law. I have three grandchildren. I have great-grandchildren … I’m not alone in the world anymore,’ ” Deanna recalled him telling her. “And I said, ‘No, you’re not. You’re not.'”
A week later, they met in person when Deanna took the trip to visit him in his care facility. He barely let go of her hand.
However, their reunion story doesn’t end there.
A Biological Father Comes Home — It Only Took 56 Years.
Not wanting her father to be alone as he neared the end of his life, Deanna made a radical decision.
Just 75 days after first meeting her dad, Deanna and her husband, Larry, welcomed “Baba” home. They moved him out of his nursing home in Virginia and into their home in Florida.
Deanna became his primary caregiver.
“It’s the hardest thing. It’s the most worthwhile thing. It’s the most incredible miracle I’ve ever had the privilege to live out. I’m living the dream.”– Deanna Shrodes
All she asked for in return was a chance to get to know him. A request he was more than happy to oblige.
For the next four and a half months Deanna devoted herself to caring for her father. A man who had been a virtual stranger nearly her entire life.
It was an act of pure unconditional love.
After his death in December 2022, Deanna wrote a heartfelt Instagram post alongside a photo of the father-daughter duo:
“When we first met, I thought to myself, “Wow…this has made a mark on me like nothing else ever has.” Finding you changed my life profoundly. It was a definitive turning point in a plethora of ways. The more I got to know you the more I realized, I was marked indelibly by you my entire life. I just never knew it.”
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It may have taken Deanna a lifetime to find her biological father, but once she did, she made the most of the short amount of time they had together. While she could have spent the time angry and hurt over all of the years they missed, instead she chose a different path; one of forgiveness, gratitude, and unconditional love.
Deanna and Gus’s story is a love story, more than five decades in the making. It is a testament to the enduring power of family love — a love that truly has no limits.