Woman is emotional meeting brother after more than 30 years of searching for him

They both had waited so long to wrap their arms around each other.

Tommy Carmichael grew up believing that his father had abandoned him and that he was a “secret” or a “mistake.”

Pershawn Mattison grew up knowing that she had a half-brother, but despite her best efforts, hadn’t been able to track him down.

Woman is emotional meeting brother after more than 30 years of searching for him

Finally, after more than five decades, Mattison was able to reunite with her brother Carmichael and bring the truth to light— that her father loved her brother very much and was murdered before they could build a relationship.

“We knew about you. We couldn’t find you, but you were never, ever, ever, ever a mistake or a secret. And he loved you,” Mattison told her brother when then met after COVID kept them apart for two years after they made contact.

Mattison, who lives in Atlanta, spent 30 years searching for her brother and had almost given up.“I was trying everything to find him and no leads, no luck, nothing,” she told Alive 11. “I had just about given up hope and was accepting the fact that I would never find him.”

Woman is emotional meeting brother after more than 30 years of searching for him

Finally, Mattison made an account on Ancestry.com and got a hit in 2019 for a man named Tommy Carmichael who had a 100% DNA match.

The two of them began making plans to meet in May 2020. Then the pandemic hit. Then another COVID surge put a damper on their plans to meet in 2021.

Woman is emotional meeting brother after more than 30 years of searching for him

But Carmichael promised he would come to Atlanta in 2022, no matter what. They finally met in April 2022.

She sobbed loudly praising Jesus as she held her brother tight when they first met. Carmichael’s reaction was less physically emotional but equally as powerful.

“I think it’s probably easier to say what I don’t feel,” Carmichael said. “I don’t feel out of place. I grew up feeling as though I was a mistake or an accident. And that really shaped everything about how I saw where I came from, who I was. I felt like I didn’t belong.”

Woman is emotional meeting brother after more than 30 years of searching for him

Learning that the reason his father had never been in contact with him because he was murdered in 1975 not long after Carmichael was born really had a profound healing effect on him.

“For me, family was always something other people had,” he said during an interview with 11 Alive. “Other people have that. That wasn’t for me that wasn’t on offer for me. And so I just shut it off. When you put up those sort of barriers, you put those sort of defenses, you shut off a whole part of yourself. Part me is terrified because now I’ve got something to lose. But for once, it’s a really nice, positive adventure.”

As for Mattison, finally having her brother back in her life has fulfilled a long-desired dream.

WhoAreYouMadeOf.com suggests using an autosomal DNA testing company with a large database when trying to track down half-siblings. Some people even use multiple companies in order to expand their reach of finding the company their half-sibling may have chosen.

Woman is emotional meeting brother after more than 30 years of searching for him

There are also other websites like Gedmatch where you can upload your existing DNA info to compare it with others who have already tested their DNA.

“I guess it’s something universal,” Carmichael said tearing up. “Whether someone’s looking for relatives, whether someone’s just generally going through the existential thing of trying to figure out where they belong. Don’t let somebody else erase you. If I‘d succumbed to that, I wouldn’t be here.”

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