A Grand Reunion
Local Couple Meets the Son They Gave up for Adoption 43 Years Earlier
Photography / Provided
In 1977, when Anne Huebel became pregnant at 17, she and her boyfriend, Ken, had to make the toughest decision of their lives.
“I knew that I was not in a place financially, emotionally or spiritually to be a parent,” Anne says. “I felt my baby deserved so much more than that so we decided to bless another couple who wasn’t able to have children on their own.”
Anne and Ken participated in a private adoption, selecting Jean and Tom Corbett, who were unable to conceive after five years. Jean was a nurse; Tom was a teacher.
Back in the 1970s, there was no such thing as open adoptions. This meant that Anne had to swear in court that she would never go looking for son. Therefore, the only way he would ever get to meet his birth mom was if he came looking for her.
Anne and Ken continued to date, on and off. Ultimately, they got married and had three children: Philip, Tiffany and Daniel.
“I think the fact that Ken and I had been friends before we ever started dating is the key to having a good relationship,” Anne says. “God had given me my soul mate when I wasn’t even ready to have one. Then he allowed everything to happen so that we could stay together and make the wonderful marriage we have.” The Huebels been married for 37 years.
Although teenage pregnancy sounds like the hard part, Anne says life got more difficult after putting her baby up for adoption. After having her son, her parents divorced. Her mom remarried and Anne had to move away and live with her cousin.
“I kind of spiraled a bit after that and probably should have gone to counseling, but that wasn’t something you did back then,” she says. Although she came to terms with her decision, it wasn’t until she accepted Christ into her life that he was able to heal her heart and show her ways she could use her experience to be a blessing to others. She began mentoring women who found themselves in the same situation, speaking candidly about her emotional journey.
Over the years, she and Ken wondered where their baby boy was and how he was doing.
“We never knew if he was told that he was adopted,” says Anne. “The people I chose for his parents were about the same height and had the same hair color as Ken and I so he wouldn’t have known unless he was told.”
Anne’s best friend, who was adopted herself, always told her that one day she was sure Anne would be reunited with her firstborn.
“My friend never lost hope, but I had to really guard my heart because although I desperately wanted to meet him, I wouldn’t let myself get excited because I didn’t want to be disappointed,” says Anne.
On the morning of December 4, 2020, she awoke to a message from her cousin, who had been contacted by a man named Kevin Corbett. He was looking for his birth mother and found Anne’s cousin through a genealogy site. Anne went to work and spent the day processing this news before telling her husband about it. She was stunned and a bit flustered but mostly excited. That evening, she reached out to her cousin and said, “Yes, yes, yes! Please give him my info!”
In the meantime, Anne and Ken did some sleuthing of their own, looking up Corbett on LinkedIn.
“As soon as Ken clicked on the page and saw this man’s face, he goes, ‘Yup, that’s our family!’” Anne says.
It turns out, Corbett, a resident of Buffalo, New York, had been searching for his mom for 10 years but didn’t have a name until Governor Cuomo signed legislation to allow children who were placed in a closed adoption the ability to receive their birth certificate. Fewer than 24 hours after getting that piece of paper, mother and son were speaking on the phone.
“The first thing he said to me was, ‘Thank you for picking my parents,’” Anne says. She dropped a bombshell on her son when she told him, “Your dad is sitting right next to me.”
There was dead silence on the phone as Kevin had assumed it would take another 10 years to locate his father. He never imagined that his birth parents were still together. Because Anne and Ken went on to have two sons and a daughter, Kevin learned that his family had grown even more as he had brothers and sisters, as well as nieces and nephews.
Corbett had always known he was adopted. His parents, the Corbetts, told him years ago. His mother died when he was 27; a few years later, his dad passed away. Without them in his life, he felt like an orphan.
As Corbett visited with his birth parents, he learned a bunch of interesting coincidences. For example, Kevin and Ken both went to the same technical school. Kevin and Tiffany both have culinary degrees. Kevin’s favorite dog when he was a kid was named Malachi, which is the same name of the Huebel’s grandson. Plus, the Huebels found they have two grandsons named Ethan because both Kevin and Philip chose the same name.
“You could call these goosebumps, but I call them God bumps because only God could have orchestrated all of that,” says Anne, who was in a dark place in December 2020 after what she describes as a “year of yuck.” After suffering many heartbreaks, she wasn’t looking forward to the holidays. Her reconnection with Kevin, however, was the bright spot she needed to start smiling again. The day after Christmas, Anne and Ken drove to Buffalo to meet Kevin and his family. The moment they stepped inside Kevin’s house, mother and son embraced.
“There was no awkwardness,” says Anne. “It was instant comfort.”
Corbett felt the same. There had always been a hole in his heart, and it was filled in finding his folks.
“He’s a very much a family guy,” says Anne, noting that for Christmas Kevin had sent his parents a photo album that contained pictures of him from birth on up. He also gave them a Stride Rite box; inside was his first pair of baby shoes, and inside of the shoes was a flash drive with pictures of him and his three children.
“Sentimental guys are usually few and far between, but Kevin is all heart,” says Anne.
The family celebrated Kevin’s December 5 birthday a few weeks earlier via Zoom. The Huebel’s daughter made cupcakes, their grandson lit the candle, and the family sang happy birthday to Kevin for the first time.
“I think he was blown away at how accepting we all were,” says Anne. “He had played every scenario out in his head and the one where we were as excited to meet him as he was to meet us was way low down on that list because he didn’t want to get his hopes up.”
Now he’s starting to develop relationships with his siblings, and the Huebels are getting to know Kevin’s wife Karen and their kids Brianna, Ethan, Lily, and Jordan. They’re even considering moving to Hendricks County to be closer to the Huebels.
Anne is in awe of how quickly she fell in love with her firstborn son.
“My friends are like, ‘You’ve loved him ever since he was born. You’ve just not been able to show it,’” says Anne. “Now to be able to do that has been amazing.”