Mahon first shared her story with The Pioneer in February; she’s since learned more from her search
By BRYCE MARTIN
Pioneer Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Mahon is no longer a mystery.
Roughly six weeks after sharing her story of the long search for her birth parents with The Pioneer, Mahon received results from a DNA test that confirmed details of her past that she desperately sought.
Using Ancestry.com, Mahon paid a small fee to acquire a DNA testing kit. She provided a sample of her saliva, mailed in the kit and then impatiently watched her email for notifications.
It took six weeks to get the results and when she did it was well worth the wait. But she had been waiting much longer in her heart.
Mahon, 53, was put up for adoption at six months old.
She was originally told she was the product of an affair between her biological mother and another man. But her mother didn’t stay with the man and it was suggested that was why she was put up for adoption, out of shame.
She believed she also had multiple half brothers and sisters.
Those details turned out to be false.
After getting 100 percent matches on the genealogical website, she was about to find out the truth about her long-lost family.
The first DNA match was with a biological first cousin, to whom she quickly sent a message in hopes of finding out more details. When the cousin wrote back, she said she would have to speak to other family members to be certain on the background.
An aunt shortly after revealed the secrets that Mahon had searched for, solving a mystery more than half a century old.
“I feel whole now,” Mahon, who lives in Minnesota, told The Pioneer via phone on Wednesday. She heaved a heavy sigh of relief. “I have a last name.”
Her biological parents were Lloyd and Dorothy Kellar. She was not conceived during an affair. She also found out that they and their family had lived for a time in Marmarth, at the time she was born. She was delivered at the former St. Luke’s Hospital in Bowman — now Southwest Healthcare Services — and her siblings attended the old Marmarth School before it burnt down.
What she once thought were half siblings were actually her true brothers and sisters. A few presently live in Bismarck, and she’s already video chatted with some of them.
“Everyone has been so welcoming,” she said of her new family. But there has been at least one family member so far that is reluctant to meet Mahon just yet. That, Mahon said, is understandable.
Details kept pouring in, nearly overwhelming Mahon. While some weren’t as clear as she had hoped for, she was thrilled to at least have more knowledge of where she came from.
Her mother, Dorothy, ended up divorcing Mahon’s father after her birth and remarried, to her ex-husband’s brother. She relocated to Texas with three of her youngest children. Several years later, Dorothy moved again to California, where she died at the age of 58.
Her biological father, Lloyd, died in 2011.
The question of why she was put up for adoption, she’ll probably never know. What she was told by a family member was that Lloyd had pressured her mother to putting six-month-old Mahon — given the name Jody Rae Kellar — up for adoption. Her mother, she learned, was very upset, but followed her husband’s wishes.
“I’m still learning; some things are still unclear,” Mahon said.
Most of her other questions have been answered but now she’s focusing on new beginnings and trying to shrug off the minutia of her past haunts.
She said her brothers and sisters are putting together a family reunion sometime around Labor Day where she’ll meet much more of her biological family.
All the roadblocks she had previously encountered through her quest for information had seemingly disappeared.
Her emotions ran rampant.
She was most astonished at how similar she looked compared with her siblings.
“You can tell that I am a Kellar,” she said with a joyous laugh. “My search is finally over. I couldn’t be happier.”