Shrodes said that she had 'prepared herself to find a grave' but she 'found a person which is mind-blowing.'
Deanna Shrodes searched for her father for 56 years. She finally found him in a nursing home and met him in May this year after being matched using genetic testing 23andMe.
Shrodes, an ordained minister who was adopted as a baby, found her biological mother Sally King, when she was 27. King was not interested in meeting her at first. "And then I went and met her personally. "I just showed up, knocked on the door," Shrodes told CBS News.
Shrodes got to spend time with her biological mother and get to know her for two decades. King passed away in August 2019, a few months after being diagnosed with cancer. However, she never revealed the identity of Shrodes' biological father.
So, Shrodes tried to find him on her own. She only had two clues about him, that he was from Richmond, Virginia, and that he is Greek. Determined to find him, Shrodes created a Facebook group consisting of a group of friends and volunteers and also signed up with multiple DNA registries.
But nothing really worked out. According to Shrodes, after a decade of searching, she turned to God for answers. "I told my husband, I told my best friend Laura... I said, 'Listen, guys, you might think I'm crazy, but I was in prayer. God spoke this to me: 'Your father's name is Gus,'" she revealed.
In May this year, her search finally came to an end when she got a DNA match with a cousin she'd never known about. "I reached out to this cousin and I said, 'We've just matched on 23andMe'... And he said, 'I think you're my Uncle Gus' daughter.' And I said, 'I think that, too,'" Shrodes shared. The cousin revealed that her father is 92-year-old Gus Nicholas, a retired ballroom dance instructor who lived in Richmond all his life and was a bachelor who never married.
She decided to call her father the next day. "My heart was beating out of my chest," she said. "I was like, 'What is this going to be like?' And is he going to accept me? Is he going to want to see me?"
However, Nicholas was also happy to find his daughter. "He said, 'I woke up this morning and I was alone... And now this afternoon, I have a daughter. I have a son-in-law. I have three grandchildren. I have great-grandchildren... I'm not alone in the world anymore,'" Shrodes recalled. "And I said, 'No, you're not. You're not.'"
Shrodes said that she had "prepared herself to find a grave" but she "found a person which is mind-blowing." Four months before they met, Nicholas was placed him in a nursing home. by the state after he was found lying on the floor of his house following a fall. "Gus would say to me... 'Please don't let me die in here. Don't let me die in here.' And I said, 'You know what? I'm going to make sure," Shrodes shared. Just 75 days after meeting her biological father, Shrodes took him home and now takes care of him full-time.
Shrodes sees it as a “miracle” that she is getting to be with her father. "It's the hardest thing. It's the most worthwhile thing. It's the most incredible miracle I've ever had the privilege to live out," she said. "I'm living the dream."