Brother of Mine
McCreary County resident and forty-two year old brother meet for the first time.
Cathy Corder of Parkers Lake never stopped believing she would someday find her oldest brother. Without a name or date of birth and armed only with the knowledge that her brother was born in Ohio, Cathy knew finding her sibling would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
However, after more than eight years of searching, Cathy’s determination finally paid off.
In June, thirty year old Cathy and her forty-two year old brother, William Pond, made contact for the very first time.
Cathy’s first glimpse of her long lost brother was on Facebook. On her phone, she still has the initial message she texted to William. She recalls pulling up her brother’s Facebook page and seeing his picture for the very first time.
“When I saw his picture, I knew it was him,” Cathy explained excitedly. “He is my mom made over. When I read the things he had posted on his page, I said to myself, ‘Yeah-this is my brother!’”
The unique sister/brother story began in 1972 when Cathy’s mother, at a very young age, gave birth to a son in Ohio. At the time of her son’s birth, Cathy’s mother was forced to place him with an adoption agency. Ten months later, the baby boy was adopted by a loving father and mother.
As time went by, Cathy’s mother married and had six additional children. Her husband and children knew about the adopted baby, but did not have any identifying information. Although the adopted child was the oldest of the seven children, he was always referred to, among the family, quite simply as the “baby.”
Throughout her life, Cathy and William’s mother, who passed away eight years ago, attempted to find her missing son. “Mom tried to find him a couple of times,” Cathy shared. “She just didn’t have the resources.”
When Cathy began her own search to find William, she made very little progress. With adoption records in Ohio sealed, Cathy came up empty-handed in her efforts. However, in May, her luck began to change when she received an email informing her that the state of Ohio had opened up their previously sealed adoption records.
After receiving word that the sealed adoption records had opened, Cathy turned to Facebook and contacted Ohio-based “search angel” Kenny Phillips.
“My search angel was amazing,” Cathy stated. “Search angels are people who help others find their families. They put families together!”
In addition to contacting the search angel, Cathy sent personal information about herself and her mother to the Ohio Probate Court and asked that all non-identifying information about her adopted brother be released to her. Two weeks later, Cathy received an answer in the mail with her brother’s non-identifying information-including his birthdate of September 1, 1972, the hospital of birth, and the ages and religions of his adoptive parents.
That response with the non-identifying information was an immediate game changer.
Cathy recalled how, just prior to checking the mail and finding the letter of response, a baby deer with little antlers came up to the porch of her house and let her husband and children pet it.
“That little buck was my sign,” she smiled. “When I went and checked the mailbox, that wonderful letter was there.”
“I was in tears when I read the letter,” Cathy recalled. “I immediately got in touch with my search angel and gave him the information. Less than an hour later, Kenny sent me a Facebook link and told me, ‘This is your brother!’”
That same day, on June 16 at 3:14 p.m., Cathy sent her long lost brother, William, a Facebook message. The wait for her brother’s response was agonizing.
“For three or four hours, I didn’t get an answer,” she shared. “I was a nervous wreck. I was crying and wondering if I’d wrecked his life.”
When an answer came from William (known as Billy), he indicated that he knew he was adopted but had no clue about any siblings.
Cathy and William began talking on the phone and eventually met in Florida. Curiously enough, the two discovered that William spends his summers working at Sirata Beach Resort-the same resort where Cathy and her family regularly vacation in the summer.
William hopes to visit McCreary County soon. He looks forward to exploring Kentucky. Meanwhile, Cathy is clearly ecstatic over beginning a new relationship with her oldest brother.
“He calls me Baby Sissy,” she said glowingly. “My kids call him Uncle Billy. I have a huge family, but this is a chance to have my oldest brother in my life-my oldest brother who will always have my back. We missed that special bond for forty-two years. Now, I’m his baby sister, and that will never go away.”
Cathy also met her brother’s adoptive parents and sister and has total respect for them.
“They are amazing,” she noted. “I admire them so much.”
For Cathy and William, their meeting has been worth every minute of the eight year search.
“He’s a good guy,” Cathy commented about the long lost brother who, at over six feet, towers above her. “William is just like a big teddy bear-he’s a big ‘ole boy with a heart as big as he is.”