Mother’s Day is this Sunday and one Canyon Lake mother is grateful to be called “Mom.” When longtime resident Cindy Davis took an Ancestry.com DNA test, she never dreamed there would be a match with a son she had given up for adoption 52 years ago. Following a year of phone calls and correspondence, Cindy and her son Gary met in person for the first time in 52 years on Mar. 30, 2018. They formed an immediate bond.
Cindy was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. In 1965, she became pregnant. In her early 20s and unwed, Cindy believed adoption would be in the baby’s best interest. Prior to giving birth, Cindy prearranged for the baby to be adopted at birth. As per the terms of the adoption, the baby was to be handed directly to the adopting parents upon birth. A nurse mistakenly brought the baby boy into Cindy’s room. “Having seen and held him, I could not complete the adoption,” said Cindy. She canceled the adoption and took the baby home.
After a few months, the young, unwed mother was facing personal problems and Cindy realized it was not in the baby’s best interest for her to keep him. She turned him over to welfare and he was placed in a Catholic infant home until a loving family adopted him.
Cindy moved to Southern California in 1971 where she met Paul Davis, who was divorced with three children. They married in June of 1980 and moved to Canyon Lake in 1989. Paul owned a mobile screening business in Canyon Lake until his passing four years ago. They never had children together and Cindy never forgot the son she gave up for adoption. “Through the years, I prayed for Gary and thought about him,” said Cindy. “I wanted to look for him, and started to a few times, but was fearful of the outcome. Every year around the holidays and his birthday I would think about looking for him.”
Gary was adopted by Joan and Don Edwards who had a biological son of their of own. He was given every opportunity and excelled in school and sports. Following his high school graduation, Gary moved to Northern California where he attended Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, earning a bachelor’s degree before returning to New York. “He lived so close when he was in college and neither one of us knew it,” said Cindy.
In January 2017, Cindy’s friend suggested that she use Ancestry.com as a way of trying to find her son. Cindy took the DNA test through Ancestry.com but it was to find out more about her ethnicity than finding her son. Little did she know that Gary had taken the Ancestry.com DNA test five months earlier.
Gary’s girlfriend, Barbara Petraznik, and her daughter, Lauren, had given him the DNA test as a gift for his birthday because they knew he was always curious about his biological parents. “I was surprised when the results came back,” said Cindy. “There at the top of my report was a small picture of a bearded man wearing a baseball cap and underneath it read parent child match.”
Cindy immediately contacted Gary through Ancestry.com messaging. She asked him, “Can you tell me if you were adopted?” He answered back, “Yes,” and gave his birth date and the location he was born. He also said he spent the first few months of his life at a Catholic infant home. Cindy wrote back, “I think I’m your mother!”
They we’re both in shock and it took time for each of them to process what was happening. A few weeks later, they spoke on the phone for the first time.
“I was on pins and needles waiting to hear his voice for the first time,” said Cindy. “It was wonderful to hear his voice and he gave me the answers I was looking for.” Gary told her he had been raised by two loving parents who gave him the best of everything and he thanked Cindy for giving him a good opportunity in life and for giving his adoptive parents the opportunity to experience having another child to love. He also told her that his adoptive parents had both passed away.
Since that first phone call, Gary has called Cindy faithfully every week. He has sent her cards and gifts, including a photo album he put together of his childhood with dates and important events in his life. Last Mother’s Day, Gary sent her a necklace with a hummingbird pendant, Cindy’s favorite bird.
On March 30, Gary and Cindy met for the first time. Gary and Barb arrived at Cindy’s home in Canyon Lake, where Cindy was eagerly waiting and wearing a t-shirt that read “This is the Best Day Ever.” Mother and son were once again reunited and spent their first Easter together. “I experienced the joy of a new mother,” said Cindy. “Gary has made my life meaningful again.”