When the youngest of those children, Judd, was 8 years old, he told his father he wanted to find his half-brother from Steve’s first marriage. Judd tracked him down in Las Vegas, and three days later Steve met his oldest son — 13 years old by then — for the first time. That crazy family tree sprouted more branches and was about to sprout more.
Now Steve was searching for his lost brother, and once again it was Judd who led the way. In July 2011, while attending a funeral, Steve struck up a conversation with his other siblings about their missing brother. “We have to find him,” they concluded. This began a remarkable five-day quest.
The next day, a Friday, Steve told Judd about the existence of his missing full brother. Judd, a 27-year-old medical student who lives in Orem, quizzed his father about dates and places. That night Judd returned to his home and discussed it with his wife. She had placed a baby for adoption and knew the pain that such a decision can bring.
“I knew if we were going to find my father’s brother, it had better be soon,” says Judd. “We were worried that with my grandma reaching the later years of her life, combined with how complicated finding someone with such little information can be, that it'd be very likely there wouldn't be enough time to bring any closure or peace to the situation.”
But in just two or three minutes on the Internet, Judd found the post created by Skip Dopp years earlier. Dopp seemed to fit the markers: Born in LDS Hospital in 1948 and put up for adoption through LDS Family Services.
“It was a pretty big revelation for the family,” says Judd. “This had been kept under wraps my whole life. There was so much curiosity. It was exciting.”
Unable to find any further information about Dopp, Judd began to search for Dopp’s relatives, which led him to a Facebook page belonging to Dopp’s daughter Lori. An hour after arriving home, he called his father. “Dad, I think I’ve found him." He told him about Lori’s Facebook page.
“Does she look like an Orgill?” Steve asked him.
“She could,” said Judd.
Steve went online to look for himself. “She looks like an Orgill,” he said.
Steve was working in his garage the next morning when Judd called again. He had resumed his search as soon as he woke up. “Dad, I have his number.”
Steve called the number provided by Judd. “Is this Nathan Dopp?” he began.
“Uh, yeah.” Skip Dopp was wary. Nobody called him Nathan except telemarketers.
“Is this the Nathan Dopp who was adopted and is looking for his birth parents?”
“I’m looking for a brother my mom adopted out between June and September 1948 from LDS Hospital.”
“I was born July 26, 1948, at LDS,” Skip replied.
Skip continued. “Where is your mother from?”
“Grantsville," Steve replied.
“My adopted parents told me my birth mother was from Tooele County.”
Then Steve made the leap. “I think I’m your brother.”
As Skip recalls, “I almost dropped the phone. My wife heard the one-sided conversation and started to cry. I did my best not to get too excited. When I hung up the phone, we just sat there and looked at each other. She hugged me and said this is a dream come true.”
Steve asked Skip to post photos of himself on his daughter’s Facebook page and then invite him to be a friend so they could compare photos for family resemblances.
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