AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – The pandemic is keeping millions of people apart, but it’s not stopping a Colorado family from coming together for the very first time.
On Tuesday, Nick Gensman, 35, of Denver rode the bus across town to Aurora to meet the grandmother he never knew. It was the culmination of years of questions, internet searches, ancestry DNA tests and phone calls.
And when he first laid eyes on Anna Perkins, 72, he couldn’t help but get a little choked up.
The encounter happened from behind a window at the Cherry Creek Nursing Center, where Perkins is a resident, and where strict COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
Gensman stood outside the window and talked to Perkins over the phone, trying to make up for lost time.
“So, how you doing? How you holding up from the COVID?” he asked.
“Oh, I’m doing fine. Actually, there’s nobody in here that’s sick,” Perkins said.
After the small talk came the big conversation about how life took them in very different directions. It was 57 years ago in Texas, when Anna, then age 15, got pregnant. She was in a tough spot.
“I lived in a small town and my family was not happy, to say the least. And they sent me to San Antonio, to an unwed mother’s home, and I was there for a full nine months, from September to June, when I gave birth to Kathleen,” Perkins told FOX31.
She made the difficult decision to place Nick’s mother, Kathleen, up for adoption.
“It was a closed adoption, and I was told I had to have two people sign (to get information about the birth) because they legally changed my name when I was (in San Antonio) so that I myself couldn’t even prove I had her,” Perkins said.
For more than half a century, Perkins has wondered about her long-lost loved ones. For 35 years, Nick has too.
“She does look like my mom,” Gensman said, staring at his birth-grandmother through the window.
Life hasn’t been easy for Nick. He came from a broken home, and was homeless for a while. And he always wondered about the part of the family he never knew.
“Me and my mom have dark brown eyes, and my son has bright blue eyes. So I wonder if (you’re) where he got (them) from,” Gensman said to Perkins.
This meeting couldn’t have come at a better time for both of them.
“It just feels like a big part of it has come together now when I really need it,” Perkins said, adding, “Because I’ve been alone for two years here, I haven’t really had anybody.”
Time and circumstance have kept them apart until now. And now, a pandemic and a pane of glass keep them separated still. But at a time when so many people in the world are feeling alone and isolated, at long last, these two have finally found each other.