A desire to help others reunites father, daughter

NEED TO KNOW
  • Amy Robertson says she felt drawn to be at Phoenix rescue mission
  • She later learns she had been volunteering alongside her long-lost father
A desire to help others reunites father, daughter

Amy Robertson spent many years wondering who her biological parents might be. Little did she know that she had been working with one of them for months.

Robertson, 24, was given up for adoption in Arizona when she was a newborn. She spent her entire life not knowing much about her biological mom and dad. However, she couldn't help thinking about them.

"When I hit my teen years, I really started to wonder about the parents who gave me life," she told HLN affiliate KXTV. "When social networking popped up, with Myspace and Facebook and all that, you type in names and hope that something comes up. Maybe that person looks like you, or the age fits," she said.

Last year, she started volunteering at the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Almost from her first day in March last year, she says she felt an overwhelming need to go back there as often as possible. "I just felt like this is where I needed to be, I needed to be here for some reason," she told the TV station.

The Rev. Will Russell said he felt exactly the same way. He started volunteering there about a month after Amy. "I felt myself drawn here, so I started serving here," he said.

Robertson and Russell spent months working at the mission. She helped prepare and serve food for the homeless. He also started working at the kitchen, but he later moved on to teach discipleship classes. He eventually landed a full-time job there.

The two worked close to each other. They met the same people, but they never exchanged a word.

But last year, Robertson tracked down some of her relatives and managed to get Russell's phone number. He still remembers her first call.

"I remember a voice that said 'Hello, may I speak to Andrew?'" he said. "That took me back almost 20 years, because I hadn't used that name in 20 years."

Robertson remembers that call as well. She replied "I don't know how to say this, but I am your daughter."

"It's one of those moments when everything fades to black and comes back again," Russell said. "I found myself smiling and I said 'it's going to be OK. It's going to be alright.'"

The two agreed to meet for breakfast the next morning. But they still didn't know about their work at the Rescue Mission.

They had so much to talk about. Russell explained to Robertson why he gave up her for adoption. He said alcohol addiction made his life a "train wreck" in his 20s. Russell said he later turned his life around and became a pastor to help others people who face the same problems as he had.

At the end of the meeting, Russell said he needed to go to his work at the Rescue Mission, which was another shocker for Robertson. She realized they had been close to each other for many months.

"It's incredible to see both of us at the same place, so comfortable and so familiar," she said.

This year, Robertson and Russell spent Father's Day together for the first time. Their desire to help others helped them find each other.

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