DNA test unites local man with long lost brother
By Shaun Szkolnik
For The Tribune
LEEDS — Martin Beebe has a unique story with a uniquely happy ending. This story begins decades ago with a revelation from his adopted parents and ends after a DNA test reunited him with his brother.
“I grew up in Arlington, Texas,” Beebe said. “I always knew I was adopted. But I didn’t know anything about it (the particulars) until I turned 21 and then my parents provided me with some news articles about how I was abused as a child and in the news article it said that I had a brother — it didn’t give a name — that was born up in Maine.”
His brother had been adopted about three years before Beebe was. That, and a vague location of where his brother might have been a number of decades ago, was all he knew. Beebe spent 30 years looking for his brother but the attempts were always confounded by time, distance and never enough information.
After years of frustrated attempts to find his brother, Beebe switched tactics. He was hopeful that technology and the Internet could prevail where all other efforts had not.
“Back in June of 2016 or 2017, I did an ancestry test with Ancestry.com just to see if I could find somebody out there, ” Beebe said. “I put it out there. No one replied back, nothing got tagged back as an immediate relative. So I let it go, didn’t think anything of it.”
What Beebe did not know was that he had set in motion a series of events that would unite him with his brother.
In August of 2018 John Ferlan received a birthday gift from his wife. The present was a DNA test that he could administer to himself and send off to Ancestry.com. Ferlan did the test, he was not particularly hopeful that anything would come of it.
“He thought it was just crazy,” Beebe said. “He did that and sent it in not thinking anything would come back from it. About three weeks later, he gets an email that says, ‘Hey, you’re related to P.B.’”
P.B. stood for Patrick Beebe, which is Beebe’s legal name. With this information, Ferlan got in touch with the only relative of “P.B.” that had contact information on Ancestry.com. That relative was Beebe’s wife.
“He emailed her and told her, ‘Hey, I’m related to this P.B. in your family tree. We’re family related, either brothers or that is my sister.’ My wife freaked out.”
Despite the overwhelming surprise, she was able to pass the information on to her husband. Beebe then emailed the brother he knew he had, but had never known.
“I emailed him back and we started a discussion over the Internet through emails for a couple of days,” Beebe said.
As overwhelming as the information was for Beebe and his wife, it was even more so for Ferlan.
“I always knew I had a brother out there because of the news articles,” Beebe said. “But he didn’t until August or September (of 2018).”
By October, the two brothers were ready for a Facetime conversation.
“We set it up for a Sunday afternoon,” Beebe said. “And I said, ‘We’ll just play it by ear,’ and it lasted over an hour. Normally you would think, ‘I don’t know this person at all,’ and ‘we’re not going to have anything to talk about,’ but we spent an hour just going back and forth talking and enjoying each other’s company.”
After Facetime, the brothers were ready for real time. They decided to meet in North Carolina, where Ferlan has one of his homes.
“We drove up there and then I sat down to talk to him,” Beebe said. “Obviously, I was nervous as all get out. You know who he is but you don’t know what kind of person he is. And he was raised so differently. He was raised in the Northeast, in Maine and New Hampshire and that side of the world, and I grew up in Dallas, Texas. Geographically, family wise, the whole nine yards, we could be totally different.
“We met, got together at about 4 o’clock and when I looked up again it was 11 o’clock. The conversation just didn’t stop. It was like two friends that had been separated for a long time, we just kept talking.”
That was just the first of several meetings for Beebe and Ferlan.
“What has been really odd is that each time we’ve met we’ve worn the same color shirt, without telling each other what we were going to be wearing. Now that is a running joke!” Beebe said.
Beebe and Ferlan spent Christmas with each other this year. A fitting gift for two brothers who spent so long being apart.
“I’ve been looking for the last 30 years or more for him,” Beebe said. “Now that we have created that friendship and that bond, we talk and text daily or weekly and it is just a good relationship.
“We have prayed for a great result and a positive outcome for years and now we are seeing the answer to our prayers. We look forward to having many more years of get togethers and family gatherings. My Texas family all have said we stand alike, and have very similar gestures and smiles. They have welcomed him with open arms and hearts. Even though we were raised in separate parts of the country, we share the same sense of humor and outlook on life.”