With the approach of Thanksgiving, many residents are beginning to count their blessings.
For Jeff Roland of Alta, finding his family is not just something to be thankful for, it’s an answer to his prayers.
“When you grow up knowing you’re adopted — even though you have great parents — you always have this sense of who am I and what am I doing here,” recalled Roland.
The 33-year-old man recently connected with his birth father, Carlos Sacchetto, and his wife of 29 years, Maria, last month. The couple, residents of Temple City, spent last weekend in Alta with Roland and his wife, Angela.
“Sometimes people would say “Oh you are a lot like your mom, or just like your dad, but on the inside I always felt like I really wasn’t,” explained the owner of Alta Plumbing. “Finding my birth parents completes the bigger picture.”
Sacchetto was 20 years old when he found out that his 17-year-old girlfriend was pregnant.
It was a very emotional time, but ultimately the two families decided the best option for the unplanned pregnancy was adoption.
“When she got pregnant a lot of thoughts went through my mind like, what would happen to him? And how would his life turn out?” said Sacchetto.
After the baby was born, he was told he needed to sign the adoption forms.
“Jeff’s mother said that she wrote the baby a letter with instructions that when he was 18 he could open it and know all of our names in case he ever wanted to find us,” he continued. “I knew from the day he turned 18 I could be getting a phone call.”
However, that letter never got to Roland, who assumes it got lost in the Mormon Church archives since the adoption was handled through the church.
“I actually began looking for him about a year and a half ago. I wanted to know where he was and how he was doing,” Sacchetto said while breakfasting with his son and daughter-in-law at the Crystal Springs Bed and Breakfast last Sunday.
“I knew he had been adopted by a Mormon family so I asked one of our friends to help me look in the genealogy records,” he continued. “I didn’t even know the baby’s name.”
Finally, Sacchetto found a copy of his son’s birth certificate.
It was Sacchetto’s wife who suggested waiting for his son to contact him.
“I think a child needs to be ready and want to find their parents,” she chimed in. “I told Carlos that he may be happy and not want to have his life interrupted. Timing is so important.”
Meanwhile Jeff had located his father’s family history.
“I knew they were Italian, so I assumed I would have to go to Italy to find them, then I found out they were in California,” Roland said. “Angela and I were going to L.A for a wedding so I decided to give the guy a call.”
Sacchetto was home alone when the phone rang.
“When Jeff called it was a blessing. I had been waiting for that phone call for years,” he said.
Maria Sacchetto knew about Carlos’ son, but their two children Michael, 25 and Melissa, 23, had no idea they had a half brother.
“I had to break the news to everyone. I was a nervous wreck,” Sacchetto said. “I called up Michael and asked if he was home because I needed to tell him something. He thought something was wrong. I told him what happened 33 years ago and that Jeff had just called me.”
Michael’s response was “Is that it? That is great,” Sacchetto recalled.
His daughter, Melissa, who is teaching in Korea had an equally joyous response.
“I have another sibling! Cool! That means Michael is really a middle child and isn’t the oldest,” she told her father.
Maria Sacchetto stated that even her mom was excited to meet Jeff saying, “I have a new grandson!”
The Sacchettos hosted a family reunion when Jeff and Angela were in L.A. last month where they met more than 20 members of their “new” family for the first time.
And both families are amazed by the physical and personality similarities between the father and son.
“I didn’t know when it would happen,” smiled Carlos Sacchetto. “I had just hoped that someday it would.”
11/4/09 – by Marci Seither, Colfax Record correspondent