US: Unconditional love: After 50 years, DNA reunites Kentucky woman with long-lost Australian dad

The Iconic '70s Family Reunites for The CW Special, 'The Waltons Thanksgiving'

  The Iconic '70s Family Reunites for The CW Special, 'The Waltons Thanksgiving' The Waltons return.

Nancy Galloway bought a DNA test kit in 2019 and hoped it might provide some interesting family insights.

Boy, was she in for a surprise.

The results of the test would unlock a long-held family secret and dramatically alter the life of this Louisville mother of six (three biological and three step-kids) and small business owner. The information not only affected Galloway, but it also surprised the heck out of a 79-year-old former surfer in Australia.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

"It was like a bomb had gone off when I first learned I have had a daughter who was out in the world for 50 years without me knowing," Alan Freedman told The Courier Journal.

Gonzaga basketball beats Kentucky: 3 takeaways as Drew Timme gets better of Oscar Tshiebwe

  Gonzaga basketball beats Kentucky: 3 takeaways as Drew Timme gets better of Oscar Tshiebwe Tshiebwe and Timme played to a draw in the much-hyped meeting, but the Zags handed Kentucky a second loss in a week.Back-to-back plays featuring two of the best, and most well known, players in college basketball.

Strain on 'grandfamilies': Grandparents raising grandkids face high levels of food insecurity

While not all DNA family discovery stories result in happy endings, this one is an uplifting doozy, from start to finish. It's the story of an unconditional love that spans 50 years, stretches across two continents and the week before Thanksgiving, played out before our eyes in the waiting area of Louisville's Muhammad Ali International Airport.

"I never realized how much it would mean for me to know my father before I found him," Galloway told The Courier Journal as she waited for her dad in the airport lounge. "Growing up I never felt like I was missing having a dad, but in hindsight, for 50 years, there was a hole in my life."

A leap of faith and an airport meeting

Nancy Galloway, 53, right, embraced her dad Alan Freedman, 82, as he arrived at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 15, 2022. Galloway used DNA testing to identify Freedman as her father and located him in Australia. © Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal Nancy Galloway, 53, right, embraced her dad Alan Freedman, 82, as he arrived at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 15, 2022. Galloway used DNA testing to identify Freedman as her father and located him in Australia.

Thanks to a leap of faith on the part of both Galloway and Freedman, that hole has been filled to capacity. The love and affection this father and daughter feel for one another were visible as they ran into each other's arms at the airport.

Kentucky Fried Chicken pioneer dies aged 88

  Kentucky Fried Chicken pioneer dies aged 88 Ex-Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., who bought Kentucky Fried Chicken chain and turned it into a fast-food juggernaut, married a Miss America and bought the Boston Celtics has died aged 88. Brown's family released a statement on Tuesday which said that 'everyday was an exciting adventure' for the former Democratic governor, who served Kentucky from 1979 to 1983.'He was a true Kentucky original who beamed with pride for his home state and its people,' the family said.'He had many prominent accomplishments, but most of all he loved his family with all of his heart, and we in turn loved him with all of our hearts.

"When I first discovered my dad's identity, my husband described it as 'finding a treasure.' He cautioned me that 'going after treasure could be dangerous and disappointing,' or it could 'exceed all expectations," said Galloway. "He said it would be up to my dad and me to decide if our relationship would be like 'special occasion china that we only unpacked on holidays,' or if would we maximize our time and make it a relationship we incorporate into our everyday lives."

Galloway and Freedman chose that later, and for the past three years, the pair have fervently made up for their five decades of lost time.

It's a safe bet the father and daughter talk to one another more than most families who have known each other their entire lives. Their routine includes a daily face-to-face video chat filled with smiles and laughter. They play Wordle, exchange family news, and plan visits to each other's homes.

Former Kentucky governor and businessman John Y. Brown dies

  Former Kentucky governor and businessman John Y. Brown dies LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — John Y. Brown Jr., who became Kentucky’s governor after building empires in business and sports, has died. He was 88. Brown's family said in a release Tuesday that “every day was an exciting adventure” for the former Democratic governor, who served from 1979 to 1983. “He was a true Kentucky original who beamed with pride for his home state and its people,” the family said. “He had many prominent accomplishments, but most of all he loved his family with all of his heart, and we in turn loved him with all of our hearts.”Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Brown was a “remarkable leader who was committed to serving the people of Kentucky.

Earlier this year, Galloway suggested her dad come to Louisville for Thanksgiving but told him to think it over for a couple of days. After all, it's a 20-hour flight from Sydney, Australia to Kentucky, but Freedman, who is now 82 years old, didn't need to think it over for long.

"We've already lost too much time and who knows where I will be next year when I am 83," he said. "Of course, I made the trip."

'The line for 'father' was empty' on Louisville woman's birth certificate

It was during a work trip to Louisville and the Kentucky Derby in 1968 that Galloway and Freedman's story truly began. Freedman met Rosalind Mudd when he traveled to Kentucky to collect information about potentially starting a business in Louisville. The two spent a couple of weeks together before Freedman carried on with his travels and flew to London and then back to Australia.

Nancy Galloway is held by her mother, Rosalind Mudd. Mudd had a brief relationship with Alan Freedman when he visited Louisville in the '60s. The brief courtship produced Galloway who only learned about her father just before her mother passed away in the '90s © Photo courtesy Nancy Galloway Nancy Galloway is held by her mother, Rosalind Mudd. Mudd had a brief relationship with Alan Freedman when he visited Louisville in the '60s. The brief courtship produced Galloway who only learned about her father just before her mother passed away in the '90s

For 26 years, Mudd never told a soul about the Australian man who fathered her child.

The Best New Bourbons Released In 2022

  The Best New Bourbons Released In 2022 Occurred on October 31, 2022 / Abra De Ilog, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines: "Due to a strong undercurrent at the area, shipping lines find it hard to unload her passengers and rolling cargoes."

McCaughey septuplets: World's first surviving septuplets are about to turn 25: Here's what they've been up to

"Through the years, people have asked me about my ethnic background and my kids would come home from school with a family tree to fill out," remembers Galloway. "I found my birth certificate when I was 12 years old and the line for 'father' was empty. I never had any information about where I came from on my father's side. It was just a blank, and I had nothing to pass on to my children."

Not that she hadn't tried to find her dad — she had. When Galloway was 26 years old, her mother was dying and only then revealed the name of her father.

Thinking back on the day, Galloway remembers how nervous and embarrassed her mother was as she quietly disclosed the name of her daughter's father and a small amount of information about the time they spent together in Louisville.

"I was so shocked by what she was telling me that I didn't think to ask for specifics like how to spell my dad's name," Galloway said. "By the time I realized I needed that information it was too late — Mom died the day after she told me."

Without the correct spelling, Galloway wasn't sure if she was looking for Alan or Allen, and Freeman or Freidman. Occasionally through the years, she tried to find her father.

Holocaust survivors offered DNA tests to help find family

  Holocaust survivors offered DNA tests to help find family NEW YORK (AP) — For decades, Jackie Young had been searching. Orphaned as an infant, he spent the first few years of his life in a Nazi internment camp in what is now the Czech Republic. After World War II he was taken to England, adopted and given a new name. As an adult, he struggled to learn of his origins and his family. He had some scant information about his birth mother, who died in a concentration camp. But about his father? Nothing. Just a blank space on a birth certificate.That changed earlier this year when genealogists were able to use a DNA sample to help find a name — and some relatives he never knew he had.

She searched through an Australian phone book, hired a private detective, and scoured the internet. But without her dad's true first and last name and a more precise location than "the continent of Australia," her hunt never yielded any real results.

Then, nearly 25 years after her mother's death, that Ancestry.com DNA test came back with a match ― a cousin living in Australia named Mark Freedman.

Nancy Galloway, 53, right, chatted with her dad Alan Freedman, 82, as he arrived at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 15, 2022. Galloway used DNA testing to identify Freedman as her father and located him in Australia. © Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal Nancy Galloway, 53, right, chatted with her dad Alan Freedman, 82, as he arrived at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 15, 2022. Galloway used DNA testing to identify Freedman as her father and located him in Australia.

Immediately, she crafted a note to her Australian cousin, careful to let him know she was only interested in finding out more about her ancestry and nothing more.

"I am a grown, financially sound woman and I just want to know my heritage," she wrote.

She hit "send" and anxiously hoped for a reply from halfway around the world.

Parental rights: Divorced couple fights over frozen embryo: She wants another baby. He doesn't.

With love, from Australia to Kentucky

Meanwhile, 9,000 miles away in Australia, Mark Freedman was waking up to a jaw-dropping email. He quickly got to work and contacted his Uncle Al with the stunning news — Alan Freedman had a daughter in the United States who wanted to know him better.

It took a bit of time, but when Mark Freedman replied to Galloway's email, it was more than she could have hoped to receive.

"Hi Nancy," wrote Mark Freedman. "It looks like you have found your dad. I have contacted my Uncle Al, and he has encouraged me to make contact with you and let you know that he will certainly be in touch with you very soon. I am happy to let you know that your dad is a lovely, lovely man and part of a large and loving family. Welcome to the family."

Holocaust survivors offered DNA tests to help find family

  Holocaust survivors offered DNA tests to help find family NEW YORK (AP) — For decades, Jackie Young had been searching. Orphaned as an infant, he spent the first few years of his life in a Nazi internment camp in what is now the Czech Republic. After World War II he was taken to England, adopted and given a new name. As an adult, he struggled to learn of his origins and his family. He had some scant information about his birth mother, who died in a concentration camp. But about his father? Nothing. Just a blank space on a birth certificate.That changed earlier this year when genealogists were able to use a DNA sample to help find a name — and some relatives he never knew he had.

From that point on, although separated by thousands of miles, Alan Freedman and his daughter have become inseparable.

"As soon as we found each other in 2019, Dad and one of his sons, my brother, came to meet me in Louisville," Galloway said. "I've taken my husband and kids to Australia. I have gone to Sydney on my own and both sides of the family met up in Hawaii. We are committed to getting together every year."

Nancy Galloway's baby photograph. She was born to Rosalind Mudd. Mudd had a brief relationship with Alan Freedman when he visited Louisville in the '60s. The brief courtship produced Galloway who only learned about her father just before her mother passed away in the '90s © Photo courtesy Nancy Galloway Nancy Galloway's baby photograph. She was born to Rosalind Mudd. Mudd had a brief relationship with Alan Freedman when he visited Louisville in the '60s. The brief courtship produced Galloway who only learned about her father just before her mother passed away in the '90s

Galloway calls her dad "the sweetest man alive," and relishes in the fact that she has two younger brothers with families of their own in Australia. She also has uncles, aunts and grandparents and great-grandparents she never knew existed.

"I was blessed to grow up in Louisville with an amazing older and a large and loving family," she said. "Now I have two younger brothers in Sydney and younger nephews and nieces there, too. Best of all, my own children can now fill in their family tree and it includes so much more family than we could have ever imagined."

Background: Thankful for family: DNA test leads Louisville woman to dad across the world in Australia

Like their father, Freedman's two grown sons and their families have seamlessly welcomed Galloway and her family into their lives.

"Nancy is such a gift, " Freedman said as the two clasped hands and began walking out of the airport. "I tell anyone who will listen, 'I have a daughter and I don't want to waste a moment of getting to know everything about her.'"

And for Galloway, this Thanksgiving is another reminder of the irreplaceable gift she received three years ago ― a father she never knew she needed and for whom she is beyond grateful to have in her life today.

"I have unconditional love," she said. "I have this wonderfully large and loving family on both sides, and a sense of completeness which is indescribable."

Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at [email protected]

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Unconditional love: After 50 years, DNA reunites Kentucky woman with long-lost Australian dad

Three takeaways from Kentucky basketball’s win over Bellarmine .
Three takeaways from Kentucky basketball’s 60-41 win over the Bellarmine Knights on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena: 1. Kentucky made a hard game harder Yes, this was a hard game. Everybody said that with its deliberate offensive style, Bellarmine was a hard team to play. Scotty Davenport’s Knights don’t just use most if not all of the 30-second shot clock, they move the ball for the entirety of the shot clock. Bellarmine makes you guard the basketball. “That was a hard game,” UK Coach John Calipari said afterward. “We’ve got guys cramping in (the locker room).” But Kentucky’s lack of offense in the first half made the game harder than it should have been.

See also