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Man celebrates New Year with newfound family members

January 5, 2019

DUSON, La. (AP) — A Houston man celebrated the last weekend of 2018 with family he never knew he had.

Earl Luckett, 54, made his way to Southwest Louisiana for the party, the culmination of months of searching.

He found out the big secret in October while at a funeral. He asked an aunt if he’d been adopted, having always suspected.

“I had no idea I was adopted,” he said. ”(But) I had a feeling. None of us looked alike.”

She called his bluff and answered truthfully.

Yes, he and his sister had been adopted, she told him. Their parents hadn’t been able to have biological children. It was a secret they took to their graves.

He doesn’t fault them for it.

“I had a great childhood,” he said in an interview. ”... I was raised.”

But Luckett still wanted to know about his biological family and, in turn, about himself.

Days after the funeral, he contacted an adoption service in Corpus Christi, where he was born.

It was a lengthy process of phone calls, providing documentation and identification, and lots of work to get his documents unsealed.

He received them the day before Thanksgiving.

His birth certificate revealed a new name, calling him “Baby Boy Brown” and “Nelson Brown.”

It also included the names of his birth parents, and he soon found his mother had died in 2006. She was from Duson.

They found her obituary and her survivors. Luckett’s daughter found them on Facebook and reached out.

Luckett talked to his newfound sisters by phone. He backed up his story by sending them photos of the documents with their mother’s signature and photos of himself.

“Once we saw a picture of him, we knew he was related to us,” said his aunt, Joyce Brown Lewis, who lives in Duson.

Luckett felt the same way when he saw their photos. They looked alike, especially the green eyes.

They all met at a party in Duson.

“It’s the best feeling,” Luckett said. “I still can’t even tell you the feeling it was. I’d seen pictures, but it was different face to face.”

They found they had more in common than just looks.

“He’s just like us,” Lewis, his “auntie,” said. “He likes to eat. He likes to dance. He likes to laugh. He’s one of us.”

She said her sister never told her about this baby boy, and she’s thankful “he was interested enough to look for us.”

“That’s love,” she said. “When you want to know who you belong to, that’s love.”

And she’s thankful to have this “extra” part of her sister.

Luckett also met his six biological siblings — two sisters and four brothers — and his father.

“We sat and just talked. His accent was a little different than what I’m used to,” Luckett laughed.

They had something big in common, too — their passion for baseball.

The two played in minor leagues in their own times, and today, baseball is how Luckett makes a living, running the youth travel ball organization Team Houston Baseball.

Luckett said his dad remembered when his mom was seven months pregnant and went to Corpus Christi. When she got back she wasn’t pregnant anymore, and the dad asked.

She said there was no baby, Luckett said, so his father assumed she had miscarried. They later went on to have five more children.

Luckett was born in late February in Corpus Christi while his mother was there “on vacation,” according to the adoption records. He went into foster care a few days later.

They probably will never know her reasons, as she and the cousin she stayed with are gone now.

While in Southwest Louisiana the family took him to see his mother’s burial site, which was a meaningful trip for him.

“I’m happy to find my biological blood,” he said. “It’s still sinking in. The love they showed to me and my family was overwhelming. As we move to 2019 this is a new beginning.”

The get-together won’t be the last for this newly united family. They’re already planning more.

“I know we will keep in touch,” his aunt said. ”... We have to. I told him, ‘Maybe we don’t have a lot to give in this family, but we have a lot of love to give.’”

Now Luckett’s adoptive sister is following her brother’s lead and going through her own process to find her biological family.

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Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com