Home DNA test brings family love story 36 years in making to its final chapter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A family love story that has been 36 years in the making began with a box on the porch of a dry cleaners in south Charlotte.

“I saw the box sitting here, and I saw a big splotch of blood on top of it. I eased the sheet back, and I saw the baby’s head,” said workman Alred Godwin in 1984 when Channel 9 began telling this story.

Police then said the baby was only 4 or 5 hours old when he was left on the business’s porch.

That same day, decades ago, Joyce Flowe woke up like normal, got ready and went to work. When she got to her job, a co-worker approached her and told her about this baby that had been left in a box on a porch.

“She told me that she had seen the news that morning and told me what she saw. So after I got home that night, I talked to Steven, and we decided that we were interested,” said Joyce.

Joyce said she and her husband, Steven Flowe, had been trying for years to have a child. Little did they know, 10 days later, they would be bringing home a baby boy.

The couple decided to name the baby Steven Flowe Jr., and he grew up in north Charlotte with the only family he knew.

“From the first moment I looked at him and I believe I saw his eyes and he made eye contact with me, I said, ‘This is my son,’ and it’s been that way ever since,” said Steven Flowe Sr.

Years later, when Steven Jr. was about 11 years old, he began to wonder if he was missing something. That curiosity launched a search that would go on for more than 20 years.

“I think it’s my personality, that I have to know, I have to know the answer. And if you ask my wife, she’ll tell you, ‘He has to know!'” said Steven Jr.

Later, once he was married, his wife ended up convincing him to send a DNA sample to ancestry.com on the chance that they would find a match.

Karen Perry, a career Navy officer from Charlotte, was also searching for long-lost relatives when she went on ancestry.com several years ago.

Neither Steven Jr. nor Perry thought they would both find someone much closer than just a distant relative.

“I got my results back, and it showed that I had a half-sibling. And I was like, ‘Whoa, wait a minute.’ I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting a fifth or sixth cousin but not a sibling," said Steven Jr.

Perry and Steven Jr. found out that they both have the same father and were only living about a mile from each other in Jacksonville, Florida.

“He sent me a picture. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, he looks like me and my family,’" said Perry.

They decided to arrange a meeting to see each other for the first time.

“When I saw him in person, I felt that I knew that this was my brother. I knew it was my brother," said Perry.

“Then when I hugged her, it was just like everything went away, and it was like, ‘This is my sister,’” Steven Jr. said.

Now, they talk often, making up for time lost. Steven Jr. also found his mother, the young woman who left him outside that dry cleaners because she couldn’t afford to feed one more child.

“It was a lot of emotion, but we embraced each other,” said Steven Jr. “She knew that she needed ... that I needed to be with another family.”

This is a love story that will still always bring Steven Jr. back to the only home and family he knew for 35 years.

“I said, ‘Regardless of where we go from here ... you’re still my son,’” said Steven Flowe Sr. “I told him I was glad for him, so he could find out who he was.”