A young girl who grew up being incredibly close to her father was dumbfounded when he planted suspicion in her heart. But when she hit her late 20s, her mother made a shocking revelation that changed her life forever.
We're often told to choose our friends and love our family, but sometimes, following this advice might be easier said than done. Differences of opinion exist but imagine battling stark disagreements and clashes of ideologies with your family members.
Shockingly, a woman from Carmichael, California, experienced similar circumstances when she discovered her family history and secret past were far more different than she could have ever expected.
[Left] Roger Rosteck and LaBerta Goldstein; [Right] A childhood picture of Wendy Spencer. | Source: youtube.com/TODAY
Wendy Spencer was raised in California by her parents, LaBerta Goldstein, a legal secretary, and Roger Rosteck, a hydraulic engineer in the Air Force. Growing up, she identified herself as a "daddy's girl."
Wendy enjoyed accompanying her dad on fishing and camping trips. However, as a young girl, she saw her parents having constant disagreements, and later on, she found out that Goldstein and Rosteck didn't have a strong marriage and were unfaithful to each other.
The California resident stated that her parents divorced when she was in the third grade. As a youngster, it was challenging for Wendy to cope with her parents' split, but something else was even more unsettling.
[From left to right] LaBerta Goldstein, Roger Rosteck, and Wendy Spencer. | Source: youtube.com/TODAY
A SHOCKING SECRET
When Wendy was a teenager, her dad planted doubt in her heart — he told her he might not be her biological father. The revelation left a permanent question in her mind, and she never stopped thinking about it.
Ben Goeller from Ohio said his entire world came crashing down when a letter from a stranger left him questioning everything he knew about himself, his wife, and their child.
But the biggest surprise arrived when she hit her late 20s. Wendy shared she was 29 when her mom, Goldstein, told her she had an affair in 1964 and soon discovered she was pregnant. However, she didn't know who Wendy's birth father was.
A childhood picture of Wendy Spencer with Roger Rosteck. | Source: youtube.com/TODAY
THE SEARCH FOR HER BIRTH FATHER
Wendy's suspicions were confirmed, but it took her nearly ten years to convince Rosteck to take a DNA test with her. She learned from that test that the man she grew up calling "dad" wasn't her biological father. Wendy recollected:
"It was this person, Bill Miller, who was my biological dad, but I kept thinking, how would I ever find this person?"
Wendy shared that she got busy with her life and raising four kids along the way. But when she was 50, she took a second DNA test, and this time, she saw a picture of Bill pop up alongside the word "father," indicating that he was her best DNA match.
Bill Miller. | Source: YouTube.com/TODAY
A CLASH OF IDEOLOGIES
Bill was in the system because he had taken the DNA test many years ago. When asked how he felt about finding his long-lost daughter, he expressed:
"Finding Wendy has been the best thing that's happened to me in this part of my life, but it's been the most difficult too."
Why was it difficult for Bill to grapple with the newfound information that he had a daughter? The truth was incredibly unsettling and nothing that Wendy or Bill could have expected. Wendy, who was partly Jewish and had a black husband, learned something startling.
Wendy Spencer. | Source: youtube.com/TODAY
A PAINFUL REVELATION
She discovered that Bill had somewhat controversial views that she considered racist. The mom-of-four said she tried telling him how he talked was hurtful, but he didn't care.
Wendy continued to learn more mind-blowing details about Bill and her paternal grandfather, Emmett Elliot Miller, and they left her completely shocked and devastated.
Wendy, a hairstylist, confided in her husband, Victor Spencer, a sales manager for a fitness center, who listened to her attentively and helped her feel better. Still, she was determined to build a relationship with her birth father.
Wendy Spencer and Bill Miller. | Source: youtube.com/TODAY
BUILDING THEIR RELATIONSHIP
Bill also revealed he was shocked to discover that his grandkids and son-in-law were black, but he wanted to make his new relationship work. The older man added that he didn't hate anybody and wanted to be more adaptive toward Wendy and his grandkids. He also said:
“It’s hard for me that (Wendy) chose a black man as a husband. But I’m going to try to do whatever I can. I’m going to try to be as good a dad as I can to my daughter, and a good grandfather to my grandkids.”
When asked how Cosette, Wendy's daughter, felt about her grandfather, she said, "I don't believe our ancestors make us who we are." She also added that she could bond well with Bill despite their differences, and it was all that mattered.
Wendy also revealed that despite being appalled by Bill's supposedly racist ideology, she didn't wait all those years to disown him, and she hoped that his views about other people might change over time.
Indeed, we can't choose our family, but we can love them, and if anything, Wendy's love for her father despite his racial views shows that sometimes, we might have to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly altogether.
ANOTHER LIFE-CHANGING STORY
Astonishingly, this isn't the first time a DNA test proved life-altering. Like Wendy, Ben Goeller from Ohio said his entire world came crashing down when a letter from a stranger left him questioning everything he knew about himself, his wife, and their child.
Ben Goeller pictured holding his son, Bryan. | Source: youtube.com/OWN
In 1993, Ben and his wife, Rondi Goeller, welcomed their son, Bryan. Four months later, Rondi passed away from a brain aneurysm, leaving Ben to care for their boy. The grieving widower was still reeling from the loss when he received a letter in 1994. Ben recollected:
"It states that, 'We believe that your son is my biological son, and I demand a DNA testing and I demand custody. And basically, we'd like to take your son away from you.'"
Utterly shocked and confused, Ben took the DNA test, and the results confirmed that he wasn't Bryan's biological dad. The letter he received came from Richard Lorence, Rondi's co-worker. Ben's world was turned topsy-turvy.
He had to accept that his late wife had an affair, but he also had to fight for his son's custody. After a prolonged court battle, things turned in his favor when in July 2000, Ben was given Bryan's sole custody, and Lorence received full visitation rights.
As is evident, DNA test results can be eye-opening and life-changing, but we hope Wendy and Ben can find joy in knowing that things eventually turned out for the best. Please share these stories with your loved ones if they touched your heart.
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