An adopted woman who spent decades wondering who her biological dad was finally able to share an emotional first hug with him and sister – a moment more than 30 years in the making.
The tear-filled embraces took place in Carlsbad, New Mexico, ending Aliesha Bree’s years-long journey, which saw her spend many late nights filling notebooks, searching through social media, and looking through genetic testing websites.
In the end, Aliesha’s breakthrough came through the help of a social media community that are collectively known as “search angels” – people who volunteer their time to help reunite individuals with their biological family members.
Aliesha was adopted when she was six days old, and because this was a closed adoption, no details about her biological father were ever revealed to her.
For years Aliesha shared a loving relationship with her adopted family but felt a “sense of a void” in her life.
Genetic testing proved to be unsuccessful; four notebooks of names she had looked up on social media turned out to be blanks, she thought.
But then, when she turned to a search angel group on social media, a volunteer responded within a matter of minutes, saying they would be happy to help.
After a few days of looking at Aliesha’s notes and connections, that person was able to make a rough family tree, which led Aliesha to her biological grandmother and, ultimately, her father, Fermin Gutierrez, 58, who had no idea she had existed.
Aliesha opted to reach out to Fermin’s daughter Bianca, 23, her half-sister, who, after some initial skepticism, then relayed the information to her father.
A shocked Fermin, from Carlsbad, could not believe it: he had dated Aliesha’s biological mom when he lived in Louisiana, before moving to New Mexico, but he did not know that she had become pregnant.
He, Bianca and Aliesha decided to meet – and so, on October 16, 2022, Aliesha made the 12-hour drive from her home in Shreveport, Louisiana, to New Mexico.
There, she was greeted by her biological dad and sister, as well as Fermin’s wife, Grandma Katie, and extended family, all of whom had flowers in hand.
Aliesha later shared the moment on her TikTok channel, which she uses to encourage others who may be looking for their biological familes.
She said: “That moment was so surreal. I felt relief and gratitude.
“After all the searching and closed doors, it was finally over – but also just beginning.
“My ending was a happy one.
“I have been very open about my adoption story, so I’ve actually used my social sites to post updates on this journey.
“I’ve had complete strangers offer to help because they were so invested.
“We are making up for 31 years of lost time. We learn new things about each other every week.”