PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A woman’s search for her birth father lead her to discover a brother she never knew she had.
Loismay Collier, Panama City resident, grew up without knowing who her birth father was. She was raised by her stepfather who tragically passed in a boating accident when she was 11.
Before losing her stepfather, she said that she never had a reason to look for her birth father, but became curious of him in her 20’s
“My husband bought me ancestry DNA for my birthday one year,” Collier said. “I was matched to several close cousins.”
Collier said that these cousins were not from her mother’s side, so she knew they had to be related to her biological father.
“I reached out to them and told them my story,” Collier said. “This one woman had done an entire tree and she started to help me look for my possible family member.”
After a year of investigating, they found a match. Unfortunately, he was no longer living.
“He died in 2008, but he had a son,” Collier said. “Now the thing was to find the son.”
Collier said that she took to social media and got lucky.
“I added him on social media, and he emailed me and was like, ‘do I know you?’ Collier said. “I was like, well, you don’t know me but we might be related.”
Collier said that the two of them spoke on the phone which lead her potential sibling, Jason Ferriera, to want to get tested.
“We got the results in December of 2019 and I was like, oh my goodness, all the pieces are finally together,” Collier said. “I know this other side of me that I’ve been searching for.”
Collier said that she planned to visit him in New Jersey in March, and then the pandemic changed her plans.
“We kept in touch to make sure each other we’re safe,” Collier said. “As soon as Florida reopened, he decided to travel down. “
Collier said that he drove from his state to hers without stopping for lodging.
“I had so many butterflies inside and I was so nervous to meet him but overjoyed,” Collier said.
After growing up as an only child, Collier said that Ferriera was super excited to have a bigger family.
“He’s so excited because not only does he have my twin brother and I, he also has all of the rest of my family,” Collier said.
Collier said he is even considering a move.
“He said that it’s just so beautiful here and he loves having family around,” Collier said. “He’d never had that before.”
Collier urges other people looking for loved ones, to go for it.
“If you are the one receiving the email about someone who is looking, please don’t be afraid to reach out to them and talk with them about finding their family,” Collier said. “Nothing has felt better than having that wholeness in my life.”