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How come I don't look like my family? An adoption story
They were taking pictures. Aunt Sis said that Jeff looked just like Uncle Les and Rod, just like dad. I looked up. "Who do I look like", I asked. My mom said, "Gary you look just like yourself".
Gary is adopted
Lydia Mary Gaulthair or Lida Mae Gaulthier, (depending on what name she was using at the time) had at least 13 children. She either abandoned them or dropped them off with family and never came back.
Gary was handed off to Lydia's cousin on Christmas Day. Pat and Bill had been unable to have children and welcomed Gary as their own. Later, they were able to have two more boys which made their family complete. They were your typical middle class family growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. Dad worked, mom stayed at home.
They had a nice home and pretty much everything they wanted or needed. The boys were indulged by their mother. All three of them were curious and energetic and into everything. As they got older, they skirted disaster. Let's just say they were a little wild.
When Gary was 13, he was testing the limits which frighted his parents. They had no legal rights to him and were afraid that if he got into trouble, he would be taken away.They decided to tell him he was adopted.
Rod, Jeff, and Gary
He said the world went black
"We love you and you are adopted". Somehow those words had no meaning and he was feeling a little faint. "What?" he said. "We love you and you are adopted".
They went on to tell him the story about Lydia not being able to care for him and how she had given him to them. They told him how much they loved him and what joy he had brought to their lives.
They told him his mother was Lydia Gaulthair and his father Montoya.
Did he have any questions? He was 13-years-old. Drop a bomb and then ask if he had questions. Of course he did but he didn't ask the ones we needed to know to track his family. He did ask who the children in the picture were. They were his biological brother and sister. Where were they? Ramon took them and went back to Mexico. (Aside here, the family has never been in Mexico and has been in the New Mexico territory since the 1600's.) They told him his father was a one-legged Mexican man nicknamed Stumpy. Several lies to keep Gary from finding his biological family.
He wanted to know if Rod and Jeff knew. They hadn't told them yet but the outcome was great. The brothers didn't care., Gary is and has always been the big brother.
Gary asked if I could find his missing family. I have been on Ancestry.com for a very long time and have tracked my family. While not easy, at least my mom had started it so I had a defined direction. With Gary's family, half-truths and lies clouded the research.
Gary had three pictures that his mom gave him. One was a picture of a boy and a girl. He found the picture as a young child, tucked into a cedar chest. He couldn't figure out who the girl in the picture was because it was obviously a picture of him. He also couldn't figure out why the back read Ricky and Francie when his name wasn't Ricky.
Ricky and Francie
Where do you start looking for a one-legged Mexican man named Montoya?
Let's face it. The odds of finding a Montoya with nothing to go on is almost impossible. We could narrow down the odds if we are looking for a one-legged man nicknamed Stumpy but even on the Internet, those facts don't just jump out at you.
I am a firm believer that God directs our lives and provides answers in his time. After three years of looking, I changed Gary's name on Ancestry.com to Montoya to see if it would help. I listed his mother as Gaulthair. Three months later, I got a note from a lady who said she was looking for the mother of her cousins.
Gary couldn't quite believe we had found his brother and sister. They were excited too. A flurry of emails went back and forth and then Gary sent Frances and their cousin, Esther, a photo of himself. They were shocked!
Esther sent Gary the photo of Aurora. It was then we knew that God in all his wisdom had sent us the answer we had been looking for.
Shock and Awe
This is a photo of Maria Aurora Lovato Escarcida. She is Gary's biological grandmother. I don't think we can describe the feeling when we saw the picture. Gary was shocked into silence (and that is a big deal). At 55-years-old, he was finally looking at someone who looked like him. I was surprised that they looked so much alike.
Gary's biological grandmother
Gary and his biological grandmother
Do you think they look alike?
Know of any one whose mother was a Gaulthair? Please let me know.
I am a big believer in DNA testing. While it has not helped us find the other siblings, it has lead to 2nd and 3rd cousins who have been instrumental in adding details to Gary's family history. Richard Hill tells his story of finding his family through DNA.
We have had an amazing two years. Of the 13 children, we have found seven. One has passed away but the others are alive and well. What's even more wonderful is the relationship between the siblings. The two oldest are in their 70's. We haven't met them in person but talk on the phone all the time. We don't know who the father of Frances is but Ramon Montoya adopted her and raised her with Rick. He had to hire a private detective to find them but never found Gary. Lydia had hid him too well.
David's father is also unknown but he was raised by a Tom Stump, the father of Darla. David and Darla are children of Lydia Gaulthair. And yes, the mysterious Stumpy is Tom and he is not missing any legs. We met Darla and David last year.
We have been blessed with amazing new family. Now if we can only find the other five. Another block here, we know that some of them are Garcia but it's such a popular name, we are not holding out much hope. If they are meant to be found, it will be on God's time and we will continue to search.