Gardnerville woman finds long lost brother via Angel Network |

Gardnerville woman finds long lost brother via Angel Network

by Sheila Gardner, Record-Courier editor

Donna Parker celebrated her birthday last Thursday with a gift she never thought she would receive: warm wishes from a brother she recently found after 51 years.

Thanks to the Internet and Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network, Parker’s search for her brother took just a few days.

The Ranchos resident was visiting with Gina Stanchfield at Critter Cleaners when she began reminiscing about her younger brother who was adopted 51 years ago. Employee Pam Fox helped Parker connect with Winfrey’s Angel Network just before the Labor Day weekend. Within days, she had a name and address: Michael Prickett, 51, of Grants Pass, Ore.

“My mother was quite shocked, but we knew it was him because there were details of his birth he knew that only had been shared by my mother and myself,” she said. “Nobody but Michael would know that.”

She also discovered similarities between herself and her long-lost brother. Both are cooks and they each have four children: Parker has three sons and a daughter and Prickett has three daughters and a son.

She found a brother she described as “open, caring and loving, just like my mom. He’s very caring to other people.”

“There are so many unbelievable phenomena going on. Have you ever walked through a dream?”

Parker also discovered that Prickett has been trying to reconnect with his family, too. Both his adoptive parents have died and he has an adoptive sister.

“He had a beautiful adoptive family and a wonderful life,” she said.

Once she found him, Parker talked to him on the telephone for eight hours. Then, she broke the news to her mother in person. Her father died two years ago.

“I went to Sacramento and talked to Mom. She said it was so absolutely wonderful to find her son, that the good outweighed the bad and she just wanted to get her son back.”

The reunion took place a few weeks ago.

“He pulled up in the driveway with two dozen pink roses, half for our mother and half for our 94-year-old grandmother,” Parker said.

She also learned the devastating news that her newly found brother has liver cancer. When he was 10 months old, he contracted hepatitis C from a blood transfusion. Four years ago, he became ill with the cancer, but the disease went into remission. He has become ill again and is refusing treatment, Parker said. But she is optimistic.

“God wouldn’t have brought him to us, then take him away,” she said.

Her 71-year-old mother has been overwhelmed by the reunion with her son. Even though circumstances dictated she give Michael up 51 years ago, Parker said she made up for her loss by providing a home to 650 foster children over the years.

“Michael’s adoption definitely had something to do with it,” Parker said. “It was really hard. She felt like she gave part of herself up.”

The family is planning a big reunion at Thanksgiving.

“All the relatives will be at my mother’s”Parker said.

While not all reunion stories have happy endings, Parker encouraged people to try.

“Life is so short. You can’t walk through it wondering. Finding Michael has been such a joy for us. It filled such a whole in our hearts.”