CHAPIN, S.C. — A family is back together after more than 40 years of separation.
On Saturday, Jeremy Martin celebrated turning 47 at the Timberlake Country Club in Chapin. Little did he know that his biological parents were there to surprise him by coming together for his birthday for the first time.
"In 1976, we were in high school - Wendy was 16 and ended up conceiving. At that point in time, quite different than they are now, you weren't really allowed much input relative to what was going to happen. Parents basically said, 'Sit down, shut up, this is what's going to go down,'" Martin's biological father, Monty Swicegood, said.
"I went to the Charlotte teen mother home," Wendy Dunn, Martin's biological mother, added.
Jeremy was put up for adoption after being with his mother for only three days. He would eventually finish high school, graduate from Arkansas State University, become a real estate lawyer, and meet the love of his life, Stacey, at 17 years old.
"We were just talking, and he told me he was adopted, and I was like, 'Really?'. I just said, 'You don't know who you're mom is,' so I said, 'Let's find your mom,' and he was like, 'OK, you do it,' and I thought, we'll find her one day," said his wife, Stacey.
After years of searching and a DNA test, Jeremy was reunited with his father, Monty Swicegood, and then with his mother, Wendy Dunn.
The entire time, the family was only separated by a short distance, with Dunn in Greer and Swicegood in Lexington.
Jeremy encouraged others looking for their biological family to keep going.
"The message is don't stop, know where you come from. It's been a great journey, it's been a lot at one time finding family members, but I wouldn't trade it for anything," Martin said.