Couple's Secret Has Surprising Outcome

Laurie had a final comment. "I said to her, 'Missi … if does turn out that you aren't my daughter, I just want you to know that I would have been very proud to be your mom.'"

After what seemed to be an endless weekend of waiting, the Erie County Orphan's Court confirmed that Laurie and Chuck Thompson were Missi's biological parents. At that point, Missi knew she had to tell her adoptive parents, Doug and Sandy.

Even though the Meelys and Thompsons had lived within just a few miles of each other and had probably crossed paths over the years, the news that they were unexpectedly and profoundly connected had suddenly come from out of nowhere.

"I was very concerned," said Missi. "I didn't want my parents to think that … I don't need them anymore, or that our relationship is going to change at all."

"She probably thought I was going to have a heart attack," said Sandy.

To prepare herself, Missi had first told Sandy's mother. Then she told her parents.

"I thought she was going to die, she was crying so much," Doug said. "And I said, 'I love you, and you know that.' And she said, 'That's right.' And I says, 'And you have no intentions of leaving us, do you?' And she goes, 'No.' And I says, 'Well there. That's nice.' And it was."

'A Dream Come True'

In a gesture of friendship, Sandy and Doug collected albums of Missi's childhood pictures and sent them to Laurie and Chuck.

"You look at it and say, 'Wow, she really had a nice upbringing,'" said Chuck.

"Both of us thought … we missed all of this," Laurie said. "It was sort of a mixed emotional day, going through that photograph album."

But Laurie and Chuck agreed that their decision to give up Missi for adoption was the right one. "I was still in high school," said Laurie. "My family was not in a position to raise a child. And she had such wonderful parents and such a wonderful family. It was a dream come true when we met them."

That meeting finally occurred at a family picnic, and the two families have met on special occasions ever since. One topic of discussion was how lucky they were not to have experienced the opposite results: biological parents who didn't want to be found or a child whose hopes were extinguished by unwelcome discoveries and unfulfilled promises.

In this case, the stars seemed to align in everyone's favor, and they knew it.

"It's just a real blessing to see that everything worked out the way it did," said Doug. "I think [Missi] has really pulled us all together, and it's just a good feeling."

Missi did get a new job with the Erie Times-News because it was "just too strange" working for her mother. Now, she occasionally goes sailing with Laurie and Chuck. On a weekend shortly after they discovered each other in the summer of 2006, Chuck realized he had neglected to get Laurie a wedding anniversary gift amid all the excitement.

"We sailed across the lake over in Canada," Chuck said. "I kind of apologized to Laurie because I didn't really get anything for our anniversary. And she just looks at me and goes, 'What else can you ask for?'"

"It was the best anniversary present ever," Laurie said.

"It is an adopted child's fairy tale," said Missi. "It could not have been written better if somebody made it up."

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