MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The COVID pandemic has given many Americans a new perspective on life. For some people, that’s led to discovering family they never knew.
Ancestry.com saw a 37% increase in new subscribers from March to July.
According to Jay Rosenzweig, founder of BirthParentFinder.com, “They want to fill that void.”
He said the pandemic is causing people to think about their mortality and giving many adoptees a sense of urgency. In the past few months, he’s seen a big boost in clients wanting to find their birth families.
“Our numbers have almost doubled, not quite, but they’ve almost doubled, and it’s pretty amazing,” Rosenzweig said.
Philip Harasek always knew he was adopted but never looked for his birth family until his son came home with a school project.
“It was a map and it was color your origins, or where your family’s from, and I had to tell him, ‘Oh, you know, I’m really not sure,’ so that kind of sparked my interest, and then when the COVID hit we had so much time to do this stuff,” he said.
The 35-year-old took an AncestryDNA test and quickly discovered a connection.
“The first thing I saw was a mother and an aunt, my aunt reached out to me immediately,” Harasek said.
This summer, he was able to visit his aunt, who only lives a couple hours away. He hasn’t met his mother yet, but they’ve spoken a few times by phone.
“Awesome, it was great,” Harasek said.
Harasek also met some cousins and discovered a brother, who he plans to meet eventually.
“That was a crazy feeling, that was nuts, it’s like, 35 years of being clueless and all of a sudden within 10 seconds it’s like, here’s everything,” he said.
After never knowing his heritage, Harasek discovered he’s Puerto Rican. He’s hoping to take a trip there one day with his newfound family.