KC adoptee finds family using DNA

Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 10:57:32-05

Carolyn Pooler of Kansas City  is one of thousands of adoptees using DNA registries to find their biological families. Pooler knew she was adopted growing up and said she always wanted to find her biological parents someday. She waited until she was in her 50s start searching. 

Pooler's adoptive parents knew the birth mother's name, so at age 52, Pooler found her biological aunt and learned all about her mother's side of the family.

"She died of breast cancer in 1987 and she was 67 years old," Pooler explained.

No one on her mother's side of the family knew anything about Pooler's father, so she got a DNA test kit from 23 and Me and sent samples of her DNA to the DNA registries at Ancestry and a lesser-known website, International Soundex Reunion Registry. Last August she received a letter from a man who noticed they had a strong DNA match.

"I hired a genetics expert, and sure enough, they determined that we were related and he was my nephew," Pooler explained.

RELATED | Missouri adult adoptees fight to change birth record access statute

Pooler and her nephew Kevin met last December, and he was able to get her information that revealed Pooler had many more relatives.

"So we have now found my two brothers and I have a nephew and a niece and it's fabulous, fabulous knowing that I have family out there," Pooler said with tears of joy.

"I never had family," she explained.

Finally, Pooler had the last piece of her life story, her father's name. 

"He is James Vincent Lavelle Jr. and he was a distinguished, decorated naval officer," she said proudly.

Her father and mother were dead when she finally found out who they were. Now, Pooler is now part of the Missouri Adoptee Rights Movement to help adoptees have easier access to records so they can find family before it's too late. 


Cynthia Newsome can be reached at

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