A man who was adopted over three decades ago was reunited with his birth parents on the other side of the country after connecting with them through an online DNA test kit.
At their emotional reunion, Mitch Yurkovich’s birth mother showed him she still had his baby picture on her dresser, 37 years after putting him up for adoption.
"Growing up, I always knew I was adopted," Yurkovich told "Good Morning America," adding that he was "always curious about who my birth parents were, where they were."
The married father of four from Red Axe, Michigan, applied for a DNA test kit through the website MyHeritage and their DNA Quest program. The company said it donated kits to connect thousands of adoptees to their biological relatives.
In July, Yurkovich received results that lead him to find his birth father.
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"I saw his picture online for the very first time," Yurkovich said. "The resemblance was striking."
As excited as he was to connect with his biological father, Yurkovich said he also felt "nervous about contacting him.”
He eventually reached out via email to his father, who lived across the country in Angel Fire, New Mexico.
Yurkovich said that his biological father's response to his note "was beyond my wildest dreams.”
Scott Shaffer, Yurkovich's biological father, told "GMA" that when his son first reached out, "His question was, 'If you know anything about my mother, would you please share it with me?'"
Shaffer responded saying: "Your mom and I are still together and you have a brother and sister."
Shaffer and his wife, Mary, were teenagers and high school sweethearts when Mary discovered she was pregnant.
Incredible reunion story decades in the making! Man takes DNA test and finds his birth family and his mother who kept his baby photo on her nightstand all this time. @tjholmes has the heartwarming story. https://t.co/T3gtmmd6PF pic.twitter.com/dJi7mcHHPR— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 25, 2018
Mary Shaffer said they decided "almost right away" to give the baby up for adoption.
"I was adopted myself and I knew he would go somewhere decent,” she said.
It was a closed adoption, the couple said, so they didn’t know where the baby would go.
Mary Shaffer penned her baby a letter, she said, explaining "why we gave him up and just hope that he would have a great life and come look for us someday."
She said she kept Yurkovich's baby picture on her dresser, along with her other kids who grew up knowing they had a brother out there somewhere.
"It did kind of feel like we were missing out on something," said Mary and Scott’s daughter, Kristen Shaffer. "We always knew about it."
Their other son, Michael Shaffer, expressed how excited he was to finally meet his older brother "after so many years."
Mary Shaffer said reuniting with her son brought "closure" to her family.
Scott Shaffer described it as, “a start to a real happy time, and a closure of missing somebody.”
"Just seeing them face-to-face, I just stopped,” said Yurkovich. "I was like, 'Where'd the mirror come from?'"
Yurkovich added on "GMA" this morning, "It was incredible to me how much you can miss someone you never even met. It's unforgettable."
His birth parents showed him his baby picture on their dresser.
Yurkovich showed his mom the letter she'd written to him 37 years ago, which read in part: "I hope I can see you when you're older ... Take care and be happy love always."
He then told his mom, "Well, I took care and I'm happy."
"That's all we wanted,” said Mary Shaffer, “all we ever wanted."
Yurkovich's adoptive parents told "GMA" they are happy he has met with his birth parents, and they hope to meet with them as well some time in the future.