DNA ancestry test connects brothers, both KSU students, 20 years later

Credit: Courtesy of Kieron Graham

Credit: Courtesy of Kieron Graham

Kieron Christian Graham got the email from AncestryDNA with his results last Tuesday.

A week later, “Good Morning America” called asking the 20-year-old and his newfound brother to fly to New York.

Graham and his brother, Vincent Ghant, spoke over the phone to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the filming on Thursday from the airport waiting to come back home to Cobb County.

It was their first trip together. But then again, most everything is their “first” together. They hadn’t seen each other since their mother put Graham up for adoption when he was 3 months old.

Ghant was 9 at the time and remembers their mother telling him that his brother was going to live with grandparents.

He wasn’t. He was adopted by a family in Hall County.

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Graham didn’t know much about his biological family, but he had some paperwork. He knew his birth name was “Tyler,” his brother’s name was “Vincent” and their mother’s name was “Shawn.”

For Christmas this year, his adoptive parents bought him the AncestryDNA test about three and a half weeks ago. The closest match was “Vincent Ghant.”

He checked Ghant out online and was shaken by what he found.

The guy who just might be his brother was also a Kennesaw State University student. And they were both political science majors. Heck, they even have the same minor — legal studies.

“I looked forward to that moment for my entire life,” Graham said.

So he messaged him on Facebook.

"This is going to sound so wild ... but I think you're my brother. I was given up for adoption in 1997 and it says on my paperwork that my mother has a son with your name and your birthdate," Graham wrote.

Ghant texted his wife right away.

“I initially was in disbelief,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything from my brother and then all of the sudden.”

A screenshot of their initial conversation Graham tweeted out on Dec. 12 has garnered more than 8,000 retweets and 26,000 likes.

Graham has been giving updates throughout the process, which has also led him to more brothers, his biological mother and also his father’s side of the family. Among the people who have shared their excitement online is actor Patricia Arquette, who tweeted about the reunion.

The brothers first met at Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar on Marietta Square last week. Graham found out he had a niece, Ghant’s daughter, who turns 2 in February. She already calls him uncle.

The brothers caught up on the past two decades and found more similarities. They are diehard Atlanta Falcons fans and have similar political stances. They even played the same positions on their high school football teams.

“Genetics, man,” Graham said with a laugh.

But the obvious question came up: Why did their mother put Graham up for adoption?

Ghant explained to his brother that their mother was a single parent who worked as a full-time nurse doing 15-hour shifts and had just moved to the area without family to help her out. He remembers changing Graham’s diapers, making bottles for him.

“It wasn’t until maybe (two) years later that I finally realized that he had been put up for adoption,” Ghant said.

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He said he tried several times to ask his mother about what happened to his brother. It didn’t work.

“It was so emotional that she couldn’t drum up the words to explain to me without breaking down,” Ghant said.

When the brothers met up, Ghant called his mother again to ask — to give her one more chance to explain it on her terms. She was driving on the highway, started to tear up and said she’d explain later.

“Mom, this can’t wait anymore because he’s sitting right next to me,” he remembers telling her.

Ghant said his mother was shocked — and scared.

“We didn’t know if he had any resentment toward us, but we were so relieved to know he didn’t,” Ghant said.

Their mother went on to have another son, whose name is Christian, which is Graham’s middle name. Apparently he was named after Graham. The youngest brother said on Twitter that he’d always thought Graham was dead.

Graham has since met his biological parents and both are willing to have a relationship with him moving forward.

“Sometimes I wake up, and I wonder if this is a dream,” he said.

Graham, who wants to become a corporate attorney, said he has gotten thousands of messages from people hoping to meet their biological family some day.

When reminded that he now has to get holiday gifts for all these new family members, Graham was optimistic: “But also I’m going to get a lot more presents,” he said.

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