DNA Test Reunites Mother and Son After 50 Years

15 March 2014

When Ken Drake of Lindon, Utah, took an AncestryDNA test, he had no plans to find his birth mother.

Drake was looking to see what DNA might tell him about his ethnic profile. Ken had been adopted as a baby, and while he had never made an attempt to find his birth mother, he was interested in genealogy, and his genetic heritage intrigued him.

Meanwhile, miles away, Richard Larsen had received an AncestryDNA test as Christmas gift. Ken and Richard had never met, but once both tests were in the AncestryDNA database, the computers took over.

Along with providing ethnicity estimates, AncestryDNA searches its database for possible family members based on the number of DNA markers two people share in common. Ken Drake and Richard Larsen came up as a close match. Drake had found his biological uncle.

Drake wrote Larsen a message explaining that he had never really tried to find his birth parents, but now he was curious. He got a reply in two days: It was almost certain that Larsen’s sister, Raella Bodinus, was Drake’s mother.

When she was sixteen years old, Bodinus had put her newborn up for adoption in an era when closed adoption was the standard. She hoped her son had found a good home, but she knew nothing of his life until results from two DNA tests met in a database—and a mother held her son for the first time in 50 years.

You can read Erin Alberty’s full story on Ken Drake’s reunion in the Salt Lake Tribune here.

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