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Man meets biological father​: 'I felt that we belonged together'

WLWT Cincinnati logo WLWT Cincinnati 8/23/2017
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A father and son met in person for the first time in 43 years.

Sam Landis said he was six months old when he was adopted in 1974 by a Cincinnati couple.

After he was born in Indianapolis, his birth parents agreed to a closed adoption so Landis has never been able to locate his biological family.

"I always felt different. I felt that I didn't fit in where I was and I always wondered where that family was out there. I knew they were out there for me," Landis said. "I don't have any regrets and I know he doesn't either and the time was just right for us to meet. It was God's timing."

For their first wedding anniversary in June, Landis' wife, Susan, got him a DNA kit through ancestry.com.

Once he sent in his DNA, he got several hits and, through a cousin, found his birth father, Greg Baker.

"I was thinking that we were going to find deceased relatives and now to have his dad still alive, his grandma alive, it's really a miracle," Susan Landis said.

Days after Landis and Baker chatted on the phone, Landis and his wife were on a plane to Orlando to meet Baker, his stepmother and his paternal grandmother.

Landis learned his birth mother died in 1997.

"When I saw him and he looked just like me, there's no doubt. A DNA test wasn't even needed," Landis said. "I can't even explain the joy that I felt and then when I got to hold him and hug him. I felt that we belonged together."

Landis documented his experience on cellphone video and shared it on social media.

"It was the most spiritual experience that I've ever experienced in my life," Landis said.

Baker told WLWT he always wanted to search for his son, but he also wanted to respect the closed adoption agreement.

"I'd always thought about him, always prayed for him," Baker said.

Baker told WLWT seeing his son for the first time as an adult was extremely emotional.

"It was like looking into a mirror. I was extremely nervous and I was also elated at the same time and really there are no words to describe the emotions that I felt," Baker said. "It was a magical moment, you know? I am just honored. I am honored that he would want to have a relationship with me."

Landis and Baker spent the next day doing what many fathers and son do: They went fishing.

"That was No. 1 on my bucket list: Go fishing with my father," Landis said. "I booked the charter. We got up at 5 the next morning, got on the boat and, believe it or not, we caught our very first fish at the same time."

"We really did bond out there on that boat that day and it was amazing," Baker said. "This is a dream come true and it can happen and it does happen."

Baker and Landis said the experience proves families should never give up hope. He said people should keep searching for their loved ones.

"It could be the single greatest moment of your life. It's worth it. It was for me," Landis said.

Days after his Florida trip, Landis met his half sister from Indianapolis for the first time.

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