BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- Jen Torrez of Broomfield was given up for adoption as a newborn
A family from Broomfield gave her a new home when she was 5 weeks old.
She began search for her biological mother and father when she was 18 years old.
Torrez began using websites such as Ancestry.com as part of her search for her birth parents. She is now 42 years old.
"There was only one thing that I wanted when I did my searches and that was to be able to thank them. You know, they gave me the most beautiful gift anyone could. They gave me my life," she said.
Torrez tracked down her half-brother and her mother. But she still hadn't found her father.
The Broomfield mother of four said she had to find him.
"I was raising my children knowing the way I was brought up. Mommy came from an Irish-Italian family, a little bit of German here and there. That's all I could give. But I knew it wasn't their DNA," Torrez said.
Her adoptive mother was fully supportive of the search
"Initially I was apprehensive because I've heard stories of birth parents not wanting their identity known," Jolene Quigley said.
"And I thought if she got into this process and her birth parents didn't want to meet her, I didn't want her to be hurt by that."
Torrez spent hours and years, and became a DNA detective of sorts. Her work paid off.
A DNA sample from her half-brother helped find the man she'd spent a lifetime looking for. Torrez recalled the moment she picked up the phone.
"I called him and then I told him you're my father," she said.
Hard words to say by a child given up for adoption. A few weeks later, Torrez got to meet her biological father at Denver International Airport after he flew in from California.
Torrez and James Cluck, 70, embraced for the first time.
"I made it. Hello dear. Good to see you. Too bad it took so many years, huh?" he said.
"That's OK. We do look alike, though. I see you in me," Torrez said.
Cluck, a Vietnam veteran, became an instant grandfather at gate C42 at DIA when he met his four grandsons.
"I'm very happy to be here. Super happy to get to meet her. I'm 70 years old and glad I've lived long enough to meet her," he said.
Torrez is now encouraging other adoptees to find their birth parents.
She said meeting her biological father was "life changing."
Torrez and her family plan to travel to California for a reunion with Cluck's extended family members.AlertMe