Shrodes said that she "couldn't believe that I had found a person" after wondering if she might find a grave when she began searching for her father.
Deanna Shrodes was adopted as a child 56 years ago. She was raising a family in Florida and at the same time attempting to uncover her family history. She finally found her biological mother, Sally King, after years of looking and, they ultimately remained together for 20 years. King was hesitant to reveal his identity to Shrodes. Shrodes was unaware that her mother was ill and that "cancer was brewing." A few months after receiving her diagnosis, she passed away in August 2019. According to CBSNews, when King passed away, she carried Shrodes' biological father's name with her to the grave as a secret. But, Shrodes was determined to bring her biological father's identity to light---and in the process, her wishes were granted.
King revealed to Shrodes two crucial facts about her father: he was Greek and from Richmond, Virginia. As a result, she started a secret Facebook group and gathered friends and volunteers to assist her in her hunt for him. In the hopes that science would help her find her father, she registered with many DNA databases. Shrodes, an ordained minister, resorted to her higher power for guidance after 10 years of searching. Apparently, she frantically told her husband and her best friend, Laura that God had spoken to her saying that her father's name is "Gus". After nearly a lifetime of wondering, in May of this year, a cousin she was unaware she had was the recipient of a DNA match. "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 found out that her father's name is Gus Nicholas. He is 92 years old, lived in Richmond all his life. He was a bachelor who never married and, a retired ballroom dance instructor. Shrodes said that she "couldn't believe that I had found a person" after wondering if she might find a grave when she began searching for her father.
The very next day Shrodes was beside him. Though she was anxious about whether she will be accepted, Gus was elated to have been found and have a family. "I'm not alone in the world anymore." It turns out that Gus had fallen at home only four months prior to their meeting. He was unable to care for himself when he was discovered laying on the ground. He was housed in a nursing home by the state. Gus was taken out of the nursing home by Shrodes and her husband, pastor Larry Shrodes, and brought to their house outside Tampa, Florida.
"It's the most incredible miracle I've ever had the privilege to live out," she said. He is currently sleeping in Shrodes' guest room. He requested that she bring souvenirs from his Richmond home, including his awards, dance shoes, favorite hat, and old photographs. His full-time care is currently provided for by Shrodes and her spouse. He enjoys Greek food, so she prepares it for him to eat. Up to the end of his life, Shrodes is willing to repay the man who gave her life. "Will you tell me everything about you?" is the one thing she has requested of him. It was the most worthwhile thing she had ever done, she concluded.
Cover Image Source: Instagram / Deanna Shrodes