My friend Cara messaged me one day asking "hey, do you photograph homecoming ceremonies?" My mind first thought she meant like for a redeployment ceremony, seeing as how both her and her husband are in the military, but then she proceeded to tell me the most AMAZING story ever. Brace yourselves, you may cry!
The backstory is important: Cara has four older siblings spread across the country, and her father served as an Army Special Forces Soldier during the Vietnam War. [Small note here: to tell the rest of this heartwarming story, I'm going to borrow a bit from Cara's words on her Facebook post] What happened next is incredible!
"One of my brothers took a 23 and Me DNA test a couple of months ago. In the report of that test you can see and connect with people who are a genetic relative. One of those connections (which we were all surprised to find out), was from an either a first cousin or nephew who was more than half Vietnamese. Through a little math and a little research, we discovered that they did in fact have a Vietnamese half brother, who’s existence was unknown to her father and everyone else in her family. Myself, along with my eldest brother, also took the DNA test to begin the journey of meeting the family we didn’t know we had. Shock gave way to excitement, trepidation to elation. This journey has been nothing but love, and I’m so thankful to have helped make it today happen.
My brother was from an orphanage in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Since he learned of his adoption as a child, he has searched for his biological family. Until now, that search was unsuccessful. He came to America in the early 90s, to chase the American Dream he had no idea pulsed so deeply through his veins. And today, after 47 years of so many unknowns, my brother got to meet his dad, sister, and brother on Father’s Day weekend."
I'm not crying, you are! 😭 YOU GUYS. This story.... I can't even believe it! To not know who your family is and then "poof! one day find them through a DNA testing kit is almost surreal! Sweet Jerry (the long lost brother) assumed his father was a Soldier, and all these years worried whether he even if he made it out of Vietnam alive or not. My heart is literally bursting over how perfect this home-coming celebration was. To the Burruss family, I am so honored to have captured these memories for you. May your visit getting to know your family be filled with love, laughter, and lots and lots of catching up. 💙