An Instagram photo reunited biological brothers separated by adoption — after 20 years of searching

four family members holding up one family member outdoors in Utah
After recognizing Iverson Poff's childhood photo from his Instagram profile picture, Poff's biological family invited him for a visit to Utah.Courtesy of Iverson Poff
  • Adopted at birth, 20-year-old Iverson Poff had long hoped to find his biological family.

  • His biological brother found him on Instagram, thanks to a childhood photo.

  • After the discovery, Poff's biological family flew him out to meet them in just 24 hours.

Iverson Poff was driving down the familiar tree-lined streets of Eugene, Oregon in July when an Instagram DM popped up on his phone: "Bro, I think I am your brother!!!!"

Poff, a 20-year-old who was adopted at birth, nearly drove off the road. He had spent his entire life wondering about this moment.

Though he'd grown up in Oregon, he'd always known he had at least one biological sibling somewhere else in the world. The agency that managed Poff's adoption had shut down when he was 5, but before that, he'd received a trickle of information: most notably, a photo of his biological brother wearing soccer cleats with Poff's birth name, "Brian," written across them.

Unbenkownst to him, Poff's biological brother, Jaylon Vickers, had been searching, too. Vickers grew up with two younger sisters, but knew he also had a brother somewhere out in the world. His mother, who'd been a college student and mother to two-year-old Vickers when Poff was born, had sought adoption as an opportunity to give her son a better life.

Poff had always wondered about his biological family, even buying an Ancestry DNA test in 2021. But he'd dragged his feet on taking it. "I just didn't think I was ready enough yet," he says. "I don't think I was mature enough."

"I had no idea if I was talked about, if I was known, if I was a secret. I had no idea."

@iversonpoff #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen THANK YOU INSTAGRAM FOR CONNECTING ME WITH MY BIO FAMILY. im at a loss of words to describe how im feeling, i never thought this was possible.#CVSPaperlessChallenge #10millionadoptions #adoption #adoptionjourney #adoptionstory #reunion #biologicalfamily #instagram #fypシ #foryou #viral ♬ Glimpse of Us - Joji

 

After learning about her husband's long-lost brother, Vickers' wife, Bree, became "adamant" about finding Poff, she said in a TikTok video posted by Poff in August. She texted her mother-in-law, who shared the name his adoptive parents had given him — Iverson, far less common than "Brian" — and the couple turned to social media.

Poff, who'd always hoped to be found, had long ago placed a breadcrumb on his Instagram page: a profile photo of himself as a baby. If his biological family ever came looking, he wanted to give them the best chance of recognizing him.

After searching for Poff's name and location, Vickers said, Poff was one of the first people to pop up. The profile photo confirmed his suspicions, and he reached out.

The brothers quickly learned they already had a mutual acquaintance in common — a church friend of Poff's from childhood, who had become friendly with the Vickers when they lived in New York.

side-by-side screenshots of a tiktok video. on the left, an instagram converstion. on the right, screenshots of a facetime
After being urged by his wife to investigate, Poff's biological brother, Jaylon Vickers, found him on Instagram.TikTok; @iversonpoff

Once the brothers connected, Poff said, his biological mother and sisters followed him immediately. "They asked if they could FaceTime me, and they were like, 'We want to meet you as soon as possible. As soon as you can be here, we want you here."

Twenty-four hours later, Poff was stepping off a plane in Utah.

a group of people at an airport holding a sign that says "we love you, iverson!"
Poff, who has three adoptive siblings and three biological, doubled his known family overnight.Courtesy of Iverson Poff

When the airport terminal doors opened, Poff said, he instantly recognized his biological mother. She looked like him. In tears, marveling at how surreal it was, he hugged his family members.

Poff, who grew up with three adoptive siblings and was now meeting three biological ones, had doubled his known family overnight.

 

For the next two weeks, Poff said, he visited the life he might have had if he'd never been adopted. He was surprised to find the connection felt instant.

Poff played basketball with Vickers (though Vickers complained, in a tone familiar to older siblings, that "he can't hoop"); held his nephew, Vickers' son Kyrie; and observed aspects of his own personality alive in each of his biological siblings. He describes them as down-to-earth, funny, kind, and unable to lie — just like him.

They talk like one another, too. "There were an uncanny amount of similarities," he said.

Given Poff's hesitation to take a DNA test, both he and Vickers feel that their reunion happened in an ideal way, with a biological sibling reaching out.

Two people, eyes closed, with their heads together, back-to-back, and faces turned up to the camera
Beyond the physical similarities, Poff said, he sees pieces of his personality in each of his newfound biological siblings.Courtesy of Iverson Poff

After a week-and-a-half, when he was sure the connection was real, Poff got matching tattoos with his biological mother: the date and constellation of the night's sky on the day they found one another again, two decades after they parted in an Oregon hospital.

 

Poff said his biological parents have expressed relief and gratitude for his adoptive family — that he was raised well and deeply loved and supported. His adoptive family have been just as supportive, he said.

"They're very happy for me," Poff told Insider. "They know it's always been something that I've wanted — to be able to find them."

"My mom has always taught me just be true to yourself, always do you, never care what anyone has to say. And so I've always done that."

 

Post-reunion, Poff's future looks different. He's connected with his biological father as well, and plans to show him around his hometown later this year — driving him by the landmarks of his childhood and inviting him over for dinner with his adoptive family.

He's always found the racial homogenity of Eugene stifling, so he's prioritizing moving in with one of his biological parents in Utah or Georgia, "to experience life in a different view."

And he plans to enroll in school, with an eye on studying psychology — a new interest, thanks to his firsthand experience in observing nature versus nurture.

But for at least the next year, he said, his plan is to simply make up for lost time. "I'll just be focusing on building the relationships with my family."

Read the original article on Insider