ROCHESTER, Minn. - It’s a story about being in the right place at the right time.
In February, Abe Sackett was covering the front desk at Century High School, a shift he usually doesn’t work, when fate walked in.
“There was a lady that came in to Century High School to drop off a cell phone for her host daughter,” Abe explains. “She’s in charge of placing foreign exchange students across the area.”
Sackett noticed her strong foreign accent.
“I had to ask where she was from - something just told me to ask and she said, 'I’m from Bogotá, Colombia,'" the woman said.
Bogotá, Colombia, is where Sackett was born in 1979. Shortly after his birth, he was adopted by a Stewartville family. For 20 years, he has been attempting to locate his birth mother. He knew her name and identification number but kept running into one dead end after another. Five years ago, he came to terms with the fact that he may never find her. He even wrote her a letter that’s been sitting on his desk for five years in the hopes that one day he’d be able to send it to her.
“It was more just for me. I just wanted to let her know in my mind that I’m OK, alive and well with a beautiful family and that everything turned out fine,” he said.
Sackett started telling his story to the Bogotá woman at Century.
She explained to him that her brother worked for the government in Colombia and might be able to help track down his birth mom.
Within a few weeks, Sackett had photos and information about his family in Colombia.
“My contact down there calls [my birth mother] and says, 'Hey, are you so-and-so and I have information on this young man that's been looking for you for 20 years,' and she was pretty quiet on the phone and it took her a minute. She was crying and said, “Yes, it was June of '79 I'd given up a son for adoption.
"So again, she was pretty emotional about the whole thing, not to say that I haven't been," Sackett said.
Right after KIMT's interview with Sackett, he received a message from his new-found aunt Rosa, who then connected him with his youngest brother, Miguel, and older sister.
“It was funny the similarities I have found out about the family in just a short time frame," he said. "My sister works in security for a corporation like I have in past jobs, a cousin works in law enforcement like I do and a cousin I also met, Erika, is a psychologist, like my mom here!”
Sackett is planning a reunion with his family in Colombia this summer. He will be documenting his reunion journey through social media. There’s also a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of his trip.