81-year-old man discovers son he never knew he had

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Grand Rapids, MI -- After a lifetime of believing he could never have children, an 81-year-old Michigan man discovered he has a son.  Troy Trapani, 81, said he and his wife wanted a family and tried for years to have children, but were unable to conceive.

After his wife passed away, Trapani was sorting through papers in a filing cabinet when he came across a letter he had never seen before, from a woman.

"I have a little boy," the letter said.  "He is five years old now. What I'm trying to say Tony is he is your son. He was born November 14th, 1953."  Trapani said he thought his wife had intercepted and hidden the letter from him for decades, according to a report from our sister station WXMI.

Samuel Childress, the son Trapani had never known, is now 61 years old.   The two men met for the first time in January 2015.  Childress said he spent his life wondering about his father.

"I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well, what does he look like?' She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror,'" Childress said.  His mother told him she had sent the letter, and they figured no response meant his father was ignoring him.

"Why my wife didn't tell me, I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried," Trapani said.  "He's my full son that I've had my whole life, but why my wife hid that letter is beyond me."

"Just to know him now is so important to me. It's going to fill that void," Childress said.  They're catching up on a lifetime of memories, knowing they cannot go back in time or dwell on the secret that kept them apart for more than five decades.


  • John Reilly

    I met my dad for the first time when I was 20 — I’m 71 — I have a 100 cousins and uncles and aunts – that I’ve never met and at my age never will —

    this happens all over any more

  • Chris

    By some amazing circumstances, I met my biological mom, dad, and brothers after they she spent 40 years searching for me. I had always known I was adopted at birth but never really had a huge desire to locate my biological family thinking it would be too expensive to search for them. After I had my daughter I wanted to know medical history for her sake. After a couple phone calls and an email I found and met them a couple weeks later.

    • Dana

      For anyone else wondering about this, it is FREE to search for your family. Even if you live in a state that does not have open records, look for an “adoption search angel” online–that is their job, they search without a fee. (If they ask for any money at all, they are fake. Search again til you find a legit one.) Also get yourself on the International Soundex Reunion Registry (look it up on Google, not sure how this site is with leaving links in comments), which is also free, though they accept donations to keep the site running. Don’t accept anything anyone tells you about whether your lost family wants to see you until you hear it from the lost family themselves. As the wife of the man in this article demonstrated, all too often they have their own agendas that don’t benefit you.

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