The Hauppauge man was adopted at an early age, but on Saturday, the 89-year-old joined a family he never knew he had.
Irving Atkins celebrated his 89th birthday by meeting his two real sisters, their children and grandchildren at a large family reunion in Lake Grove.
Shortly after Atkins was born in 1933, he was adopted by unmarried parents.
“They decided early on they couldn’t afford to have kids. So I found a great family. I was spoiled and rotten,” Atkins said.
Atkins says his adoptive parents gave him a loving childhood, but they kept his adoption a secret. did. He also didn’t know he had a brother until recently.
“I think he was about 50 when he found out. I think his brother let him know…that’s when he started investigating,” said his son Brian Atkins. rice field.
For 36 years, Atkins followed his birth story, wondering why he could not access his birth certificate. The breakthrough came in 2019 with the passage of a groundbreaking New York state law making the birth records of adoptees over the age of 18 public. He said, “I lit a fire under me.”
New laws allowed Atkins to obtain original birth certificates and look up the names of his biological parents online. He discovers a new branch in the family tree – two blood sisters – Rhoda and Marilyn – living in Levittown.
“Unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it from Irving, but he had enough information to show that it was real and that he was our brother.
“A sad situation, but a happy situation. I finally found the rest of my family,” said her sister, Rhoda Giacinto.
Atkins has a lot to keep up with with her newfound sisters and their extended family.
“I feel joy and happiness and can’t wait to learn all the names. It’s overwhelming,” Atkins said.