Martin Hauser ultimately connected with his birth mother and long-lost biological sibling after years of searching.
Months after his 1962 birth in North Carolina, Martin, now 59, was adopted. Early on, Martin and his sister were informed that they were adopted; Martin had been adopted in Greensboro.
Martin was born and raised in Greensboro and attended junior high school there before relocating to Mesa, Arizona. After his parents’ divorce, he relocated to Tucson, Arizona, with his adoptive mother.
He spent 30 years looking for his birth family with the support of his adopted mother, who constantly encouraged him to do so. This, however, proved to be very challenging.
Adoption records cannot be examined in North Carolina. When Martin established his own family in the early 1990s, he asked Guilford County’s child services department for family medical information, but no identifying information could be made available at the time.
When he took his initial DNA test in 2017, his hunt picked up speed. He recruited a volunteer to help him start his family tree. She spent months looking through his birth certificates, US Census data, DNA test results, and other papers.
The search yielded a woman’s name, her birth year, and a baby line. Martin suspected it was his mother because her birth year corresponded to the year stated in the non-identifying information he received.
Martin then learned about a change in state law in 2019. If a birth parent or adoptee wanted to start a search, a law passed in 2008 allowed independent parties to act as a confidential intermediary.
Martin began searching for his biological parents with the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina. He made a breakthrough in December 2020 when the organization discovered his birth father’s death certificate.
His father died in 2008, and his son, Joseph B. Shaw Jr., was listed as next of kin. Martin discovered his biological brother on Facebook within 15 minutes.
“I sent him a short little message that day, explaining who I am and who I am to him, and that we have the same father and to call me,” he recalled.
After a few weeks, Joseph, 58, responded with his phone number on January 7. He resides in Westfield, North Carolina, and has done so his entire life.
When the two men started talking, they discovered they shared a mother, which means they are full-blooded brothers.
Martin and Joseph ended up talking for three hours, only pausing to tell their families what was going on because they had so much catching up to do.
Since then, the brothers have been talking or texting on a daily basis. Soon after, Joseph informed Martin that he was engaged and planning to marry soon.
Martin and his wife attended the April 25 wedding with some of their children and grandchildren to meet the family.
Two days before the wedding, the long-lost siblings shared an emotional reunion at Greensboro’s airport.
“We hugged and kissed each other’s cheeks and cried on each other’s shoulder,” Martin explained. “Because my little brother is 6’4″ and I’m 5’11”, he rubbed my head and asked if I was happy to be back in North Carolina. “I agreed.”
Martin even wore a shirt that read “Big Brother Finally!” to commemorate the occasion.
During the wedding, Martin met several cousins and other family members. Their biological mother was also present.
Nobody knew Martin existed because their parents never told anyone. Joseph’s parents abandoned him when he was three months old, leaving him with his paternal grandmother, who raised him on her own.
Joseph last saw his mother 13 years ago, when he assisted her in moving from Florida to her home state of North Carolina.
The day before his wedding, Joseph insisted on taking Martin to their mother’s house.
“When we got to her house, she told me how much she loved me. She said love is not a big enough word for what has just happened,” Martin said.
Their mother said their father was mean and never gave her any money. She was also sick and in and out of the hospital at the time. She knew she couldn’t raise their kids, so she had no choice but to give them up.
This experience has inspired Martin to help other people in North Carolina find their birth parents, siblings, or the children they adopted out.
“I don’t want someone to spend 30 years looking for them,” he said.
Click on the video below to witness the brothers’ emotional reunion.