For almost half a decade, Steve Flaig has been searching for his birth mother, hoping to reconnect with the woman who gave him up for adoption many years ago. Finally, an internet search reveals her identity. But as he digs a little deeper, he uncovers an incredible revelation that will change his life for good.
In December 2007 22-year-old Flaig was living in Grand Rapids, a city in West Michigan. When he was just a baby, however, he had been welcomed into the home of a local couple, Pat and Lois Flaig. But as the boy grew, the Flaigs made no secret of the fact that they were not his birth parents.
As a young man, meanwhile, Flaig began working as a delivery driver for the Plainfield Avenue branch of Lowe’s on the outskirts of the city. He would spend his shifts collecting goods and distributing them around the area, spending little time in the store itself.
Because he was always on the move, Flaig had little time to develop significant relationships with many of his co-workers. Nevertheless, he was polite and courteous, exchanging greetings and brief conversations with them whenever he had the chance.
As Flaig grew up, however, there was still a mystery surrounding his parentage that he wanted to solve. So, after his 18th birthday, Flaig decided to do just that by tracking down his birth mother. With the support of his adoptive parents, he began his quest by contacting D.A. Blodgett for Children, the very agency that had been responsible for arranging his adoption. And, at first, it seemed as if his luck was in.
Apparently, Flaig’s birth mother had left instructions with the Grand Rapids agency to keep her records open in case her son ever wanted to track her down. Naturally, staff at D.A. Blodgett were happy to oblige. And, as a result, Flaig soon received a document containing all the vital information about his birth mom.
However, it was there that Flaig’s search hit a snag. Although he scoured the internet for his birth mother’s address, he found nothing. For the next three years, in fact, he tried repeatedly to locate the woman – but with no success. Then in October 2007 he realized that he had been making a mistake.
As he looked again at the documents from the agency, Flaig noticed that he had in fact been wrongly spelling his birth mother’s name all this time. He had been searching for a “Christine Talladay” rather than a “Christine Tallady.” And when he finally typed in the right name, he struck gold.
Amazingly, Flaig managed to trace the woman to an address in Belmont, a town just outside Grand Rapids. More incredibly, she was living not even a mile from where Flaig worked. Dumbstruck, then, he began to wonder if he might even have encountered her as a customer in the Lowe’s store.
Struck by the coincidence, Flaig mentioned the situation to his boss – but there was an even bigger surprise to come. When she heard the name of the woman that her employee was trying to track down, Flaig’s boss revealed that there was a woman of the same name working in that very store.
In a bizarre twist of fate, Flaig had been working alongside his birth mother for six months, ever since the store had hired her as head cashier. But even though he now knew the truth, he didn’t have any idea how to broach the subject with Tallady.
“I would walk by her, look at her from a distance, not knowing how to approach her,” Flaig said in a 2007 interview with The Seattle Times. “You don’t come stocked with information on how to deal with this.” Nevertheless, he knew that he had to find a way to make a connection.
So, after two months of uncertainty, Flaig decided to ask the experts at D.A. Blodgett for advice. Luckily, one of the agency’s employees offered to be the one to make the awkward call. But when they contacted Tallady at work, the cashier was confused.
Of course, Tallady had no idea how the agency could have known where she was working more than two decades after the adoption. And once she had gotten over the shock, she became concerned. “The first thing that crossed my mind is something was wrong with him,” Tallady said in a 2007 interview with The Muskegon Chronicle. “Was he sick? Did he need a blood transfusion?”
However, Tallady was blown away when the caller told her that her long-lost son was actually a co-worker named Steve. And although there were a number of Steves working in the store, she was soon able to guess which one it might be. Then, when staff confirmed Flaig’s birthday, she knew that she had found her boy at last.
Tallady had been young and single when Flaig was born in October 1985. Unable to care for the child, she gave him up for adoption. But although she went on to marry and have a daughter, Alexandra, and another son, Brandon, she never forgot her first born.
Finally, on December 12, 2007, Flaig telephoned Tallady to talk to her – and to arrange a meeting with the mother he had not seen in 22 years. Two days later, then, the pair were at last reunited in a restaurant near their shared workplace. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was an emotional affair.
“I walked in – I saw him sitting there,” Tallady said in a 2007 interview with Today. “He got out of his seat, and we just hugged and hugged and hugged and cried and cried. It was very emotional, very emotional.” For the next two and a half hours, the pair tried to catch up on lost time.
Since that time, moreover. Flaig and Tallady have built an incredible relationship, all with the blessing of Flaig’s adoptive parents. And even though the young man left Lowe’s to work for Delta Airlines in 2008, the pair still make time to catch up over the telephone.
What’s more, the press attention surrounding their story has brought the pair some surreal experiences over the years – including being flown to the Caribbean for a vacation courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres. And even though Tallady knows that she will never replace Flaig’s adoptive mother, everyone involved seems to have embraced the chance to become two families instead of one.