DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – A father and his son spent Thanksgiving together for the first time in 37 years thanks to DNA testing from “23 And Me.” Casper Collins and Tom Robertson didn’t know of each other’s existence until a positive match connected the two through DNA testing.
Collins was raised by a Filipino single mother after his father, an American Navy sailor, returned to the United States unaware of her pregnancy. Collins was raised knowing his father was an American sailor, but unaware of his identity.
Collins submitted his DNA sample to the company in hope of finding out what medical issues he could be exposed to through his genetics.
“I just thought there is no way I am going to find [my father]. But, maybe I would find if I have type two diabetes or something coming up,” Collins said.
When the results returned, Collins was matched as a sibling with a man named Michael Robertson in Colorado, who had also submitted his sample to the database. After reaching out, and connecting the dots, Collins confirmed he had found his father.
“I was just shaken to the core. Like, this is not real,” Collins said.
“I didn’t have a clue [I had another son],” Tom Robertson told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “I’m very thankful.”
Collins said he didn’t have ill-will for his father not being in his life. He said his mother simply lost touch with Robertson.
“It was the ’80s. There was no Facebook or MySpace, or cell phones,” Collins said.
Collins was provided photos of Tom Robertson, and that was when he started to piece together his similarities.
“To realize I have kind of been looking at him in the mirror my entire life is just mind blowing,” Collins said.
“I don’t know what I missed out on. I missed a lot of Christmases and birthdays,” Tom Robertson said.
However, on Thanksgiving Day, Robertson was able to meet the child he never knew he had. The duo met at Denver International Airport for the first time when Collins visited Colorado for Thanksgiving with his new family.
“[It has been] a lot of years, son. I love you,” Tom Robertson said as he hugged his son for the first time.
Both Collins, and Robertson, were crying as they embraced each other for an extended period of time.
“To feel the love that I was feeling for him, just coming right back, was absolutely amazing,” Collins said.
Collins was also able to meet his brother, and other members of his new family.
“We always get to see family we didn’t see the rest of the year [on Thanksgiving]. Now, we get to see family we haven’t seen our whole lives. It is extra special this year,” Michael Roberts said.
When asked if he would change history if he was able to, Collins said he would leave it the same. With how his life played out he said he was able to have double the friends, double the family and double the places to call home.