A Philadelphia man has unlocked the secrets to his past after finding his own photograph on a website for missing children, CBS News reports.
Adopted at the age of four from an orphanage in Honolulu, Hawaii, 35-year-old Steve Carter said he recently became interested in learning more about his biological background.
Though very happy with the life he had made with his adoptive family, Carter said that there were mysteries shrouding his past that had sparked his curiosity.
For one thing, the birth certificate he had was created almost a year after his birth and in it, Carter -- who has blond hair and blue eyes -- was labeled half-native Hawaiian.
On a hunch, Carter decided to check the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website for himself.
It was then that the Pennsylvania man made his astonishing discovery. There, on the site, was an age-progression image made from a photograph of him as an infant.
"My first thought was, 'Oh my God, that's me,'" Carter told CBS News.
Carter then called the Honolulu police and the department set up a DNA test. Now, almost a year later, the true story of his past has begun to come to light.
Born Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes, Carter was reported missing by his biological father more than three decades ago after his mother, Charlotte Moriarty, took him for a walk in 1977 and never returned.
Carter told CBS News that he believes Moriarty put him in the Hawaiian orphanage -- changing his name, his birthday and the race of his father.
This January, Carter decided to contact his newfound relatives over the phone.
"I was absolutely, positively thunderstruck and amazed," said Carter's biological father, Mark Barnes, of the first time he heard his son's voice.
According to Carter, who has also connected with his half-sister, his biological mother disappeared without a trace after a stint at a psychiatric hospital.
He told Mix 105.1FM that he still hopes to connect with her someday.
Carter, who has yet to meet his father in person, said the whole experience has been "a lot to digest", but has described the experience as "a happy ending to a story that usually isn't a happy ending."
"Good things do happen," he told CNN.
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