Attempt to Reunite With Son Given Up for Adoption Brings Frustration

Ron Ryba was reunited with son, but a DNA test shows the two are not related.

ByABC News via logo
October 27, 2009, 9:16 PM

Oct. 28, 2009— -- For more than 30 years, Ron Ryba wondered about the baby boy he and his high school sweetheart had given away.

The year was 1975. Ryba played running back on the football team at Shawnee High School in in Medford, N.J., while his girlfriend, Kathy Butler, cheered for him on the sidelines. Ryba said the two were "very much" in love.

But the lovebirds faced a difficult decision: 16-year-old Kathy was pregnant. Given their age, the couple believed they could not give the child with the upbringing he deserved.

"At that time, being 16 years old and scared and not sure what to do, we turned to our faith," Ryba said.

The couple decided to give up the baby boy for adoption through Catholic Charities of Trenton, N.J.

It was an agonizing decision, especially for young Ryba, and he wrote a letter to the adoptive parents, describing the reason behind his decision.

"The only thing I could give him would be my true love," he wrote. "But he also needs two parents together and a good home."

The baby was born Nov. 25, 1975, and soon after was adopted by a loving family, who named him Philip.

As the years passed, Ryba said he thought about the child constantly. Was he well-cared for? Did he have loving adoptive parents? What did the boy know of his birth parents, Ron and Kathy?

"I wanted him to know that he was born out of love, and I had given him up as a gift," Ryba said.

Ryba stayed in contact with Catholic Charities caseworkers, who assured him the baby was doing well. In 1993, Ryba received a file about his son, detailing the child's development through the years -- even noting Philip's first words and first teeth. Ryba, who now had another son and a daughter, told the agency repeatedly he wanted to meet Philip.

"When you have your own children, your bonds, your thoughts ... and I go back ... and you know there's a piece missing," Ryba said.