Delaware County man discovers he was adopted; finds large family after taking DNA test
BOOTHWYN, Pa. - Imagine finding the long-lost family you never knew you had, in your 70's. That’s exactly what happened to a 77-year-old Delaware County man who thought he was an only child, for decades, only to learn he was one of 13 children. It all started with a DNA test.
"You can’t have too much family," Ed Grunwell said.
The Boothwyn man choked back tears as he talked about the family he never even knew existed, including 12 siblings. "I still have six brothers and sisters, two half-siblings and the other four are my full siblings."
He was adopted as an infant by Pete and Rose Grunwell, of Ridley Park and lived a happy life as the couple’s only son. Then in 2019, after Ed and his wife, Doreen, submitted DNA to Ancestry.com, results showed a possible match for a cousin.
Ed remarked, "I knew my first cousins."
Another so-called relative reached out after seeing a picture of Ed and Doreen on Facebook taken in 1967 and then another photo at their son’s wedding. She noticed Ed’s family resemblance. It turns out, his sister, Betty Jane, had been looking for him for 24 years.
Ed’s birth mother, Libby Weaver, and father, Charles West, were not married. They gave him up for adoption, but he had never been told.
"We don’t know the circumstances. My birth parents had a hard decision to make," Ed said. "They did what they thought was right. My adopted family did what they thought was right."
Doreen put the final pieces of the puzzle together at a funeral in January of 2020, when she asked a family friend, who had been at Ed’s christening – was he adopted?
"Her first response was, ‘You mean he doesn’t know?’ My response was, ‘You mean he is? Oh yeah,’" Doreen explained the conversation.
Ed has now met his surviving siblings, getting together for the first time at his sister’s place in Georgia.
"We pulled down the street and there were 25 people standing in her front yard, which is just immediate family," Doreen commented.
"I’m related to everybody," Ed said. Doreen added, "It’s been a wonderful experience learning about the family. They’ve been very welcoming and warming."
Besides his brothers and sisters, Ed has 61 cousins, and that’s just on his mother’s side, and dozens of nieces and nephews.