EDITOR'S NOTE: In February, The Mining Journal ran a two-part series about a local man's amazing search for his birth mother. In this follow-up story, the two share what it was like to meet for the first time. The original stories ran Feb. 13-14.
NEGAUNEE - It was a moment Judy (Wanichek) Adams had anticipated for 44 years, so her emotions are understandable.
"What was I feeling while I was waiting for David to get to the hotel? I was very anxious, scared and very happy," Adams said in an email. "I paced, changed outfits at least 12 times and waited."
At the gathering for David Bond and Judy Adams are, from the left, Amy Bond, Jillian Adams, Judy Adams, Amie Adams, Taylor Bond, David Bond, Tucker Bond, Allan Adams, June Adams and Laura Heaney Adams. (Bond family photo)
It was the first time she would meet David, the son she had given birth to on March 29, 1970 when she was 18 and unmarried. Deciding it was best for him to go to a family who could care for him, she had surrendered her baby son for adoption.
That son, David Bond, with help from his wife, Amy, tracked Adams down earlier this year. They had been communicating regularly on the phone and through emails ever since, Adams from her home in Indianapolis and Bond from his Negaunee home, the place he was raised by loving adoptive parents Bill and Joanne Bond, who have both passed away.
June 17-18, mother and son met halfway, each driving to the Wisconsin Dells.
As David, Amy and their children Taylor and Tucker drove south, Amy asked David - called Bondo by most folks - if he was nervous.
"I wasn't nervous," said Bondo, The Mining Journal's creative services director. "Judy and I had talked so much, I already knew her. But I was anxious and excited. I was giddy the last couple of miles."
Adams, on the other hand, was more than a bit anxious.
"I had all kinds of worries. Was I going to be what he expected? Would he like me?," she said. "I always dreamed of him knocking on my door some day and when I opened that door, all my fears went away and I finally got to hug my beautiful boy."
Bondo smiles when he relates his side of that first moment.
"Judy was waiting in her hotel room for us. We had booked a room right down the hall from her," he said. "I knocked on the door and Tucker was videotaping, so I pulled her out in the hall so he could record it. The door closes. And she's locked out of her room.
"We all laughed."
Over the course of the next few days, Adams and the Bonds spent time together, doing some touristy things in the Dells, but mostly just talking and enjoying getting to know each other.
Then on June 21, Bondo and his crew were able to meet some more of the Adams family.
"At (Judy's) niece Cindy's house, there was a gathering. It was probably 15 or 20 people," Bondo said. "It was my cousins, one of Judy's sisters and Judy's son Allan and his wife, Laura."
Although he had been a bit nervous about meeting more of his birth mom's family, especially his half brother, any apprehension quickly faded.
"I didn't know what to expect," Bondo said. "But Allan and I hit it off. He fishes. He hunts. We had things to talk about.
"It was emotional but it was positive," he said. "It was special. People we don't know opened their home up to us. It shows how close Judy's family is. One of them drove four hours just to meet us and then turned around and drove four hours to get home."
For Adams, the time together was healing.
"How do I feel now that I have met David and his family? My heart is whole, complete," she said. "I am very, very happy and looking forward to getting to know them more and more and more. They are more than I could have ever expected.
"I am so happy that David has a wonderful life and family. He has everything I wanted him to have all those years ago, a good life, a wonderful wife and two beautiful children. I am so blessed to have them in my life."
Bondo was awed by his new-found relatives.
"I can't get over the looks, how much they all look alike," he said. "I met one of Judy's sisters but she has two brothers I haven't met.
"I guess I am not gushy enough myself, but I want to say something Judy posted on Facebook. She said 'the hole in my heart is starting to be filled.' I thought that was unique," Bondo said.
Adams and Bondo talk frequently.
"And when we do, it's for a half-hour or 45 minutes," he said. "We talk about some goofy stuff."
He's hoping to bring Judy to the Upper Peninsula.
"I'm trying to get her to come up here, so she can see how we live," Bondo said. "We have to do some logistics but we want her up here to visit."
In her email, Adams said, "When am I coming to the U.P.? Well, if I had my way, it would be tomorrow, but I live kind of far away and I work and I already had vacation this year.
"I can only say that I will come to visit whenever they want me to."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.