Dec 15, 2017 - Stories

A Family Reunited Using 23andMe

wide shot Barrie, Alex, Travis and Ida

Every day for 55 years, Ida Pollack thought about her baby, wondering if she’d made a mistake in letting him go.

As she’d told the Omaha Herald recently, she always asked herself the same thing: “Did I make the right decision?’”

Now she finally has the answer thanks to 23andMe.

A few weeks ago Ida, and the son she raised Travis, met her first born, Barrie Bode, who Ida gave up for adoption as a frightened 19 year-old.

The meeting in New York City gave Ida the peace of mind that even though giving him up was hard it was the right thing to do.

“I was glad I did after I met him and found out what kind of life he had. He had wonderful parents,” she said.

Family gathering for the first time in New York City. From Left to right, Barrie Bodie, his son Alex, Travis and Ida.


Their story isn’t just about Ida, but about Barrie and his brother Travis. Coming together in New York just before Thanksgiving was the culmination of months of talking and emails between Travis and Barrie.

They’d been able to find each because Barrie’s son had used 23andMe and so had Travis. Alex and Travis matched on the DNA Relatives tool as predicted first cousins — Travis and Barrie are biological half brothers.

When he first saw the match, Travis was a bit confused.

“I know all my first cousins,” he said, but he didn’t know who Alex was.

But Travis also knew that first cousins can share a similar amount of DNA as a nephew or half nephew. And he knew that his mother had given up a baby for adoption when she was a teenager. So Travis called her and asked her about the baby’s date of birth. So when Travis finally connected with Alex, he knew what to ask. “Was your dad adopted?” And “what is his date of birth?”

The dates matched his mother’s first born. Travis figured out that Alex’s father, Barrie, was his brother, and his mother’s first born.

The two connected talking on the phone for hours. For Ida the news took a little time to settle in, but soon they were making plans to meet in person.

For Barrie, who over the decades had made efforts to find his biological family, meeting his mother was a bit overwhelming. Like a lot of adoptees, he wasn’t even sure his biological parents would want to meet him.

“You always have that fear that the person might not want you to find them,” Barrie told the Omaha World Herald.

In this case, Ida and Travis welcomed him and his son Alex with open arms. For Ida meeting her son has opened a new chapter in her life.

“It’s something you’ve been thinking about your whole life, and suddenly it’s the beginning of another story,” she said.

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