Some romances are truly meant to be, and no amount of time or distance can get in the way.
When Michele Newman of Loyal, Wisconsin was 16, she realized she was pregnant. Only in her junior year of high school, Michele’s condition was even more of a predicament because she and the baby’s father, Dave Lindgren, had broken up months earlier. With no family support or options, Michele and Dave decided to give up their baby for adoption before going their separate ways.
“There was never any real bitterness between us,” Michele recalled. “Dave was a good man with a good heart, and we were both doing things we shouldn’t have.”
The baby born to Michele during a severe snowstorm that winter was a boy, and he was swiftly adopted by William and Cynthia Schmidt. Martin W. Schmidt grew up in a warm, loving family. Although he knew he’d been adopted, he never felt the urge to seek out his biological parents because he was so content with his family. “They absolutely loved me like I was biologically born. I have a great family,” Martin said.
Martin grew up, moved to Colorado, and married his wife, Carin. It wasn’t until Carin became pregnant with their first child that she urged her husband to find his birth family. Since the adoption paperwork was open, he contacted the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and had the state contact Michele and Dave.
Michele had married twice but had no other children. She’d also bounced around the country working different jobs before settling in Hilo, Hawaii where she worked for a nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence. Days later, Martin spoke to his birth mother for the very first time in a phone call that neither of them will never forget.
“It was just incredible, and overwhelming to hear his voice,” said Michele. “I had always wondered about Martin. I felt so blessed that this happened in my life at 50-something years old.”
“We were two strangers, meeting for the first time, who already had an emotional bond,” Martin agreed. Michele began to wonder what had happened to Dave. She hadn’t seen him in over 35 years, but she managed to find his number and send him a text message.
Dave was still living in Wisconsin, and he was gobsmacked when he received Michele’s text. He called her back, and the two talked until the sun came up. Dave had been married three times, and he was the proud father of four biological children (including Martin) and four stepchildren.
Soon, Michele and Dave were talking every day, catching up on all the lost time between them. “We had long deep discussions,” Michele said. “We were going through all these serious life topics. We became very close that way.”
Not long after they began talking, Dave decided to take a trip with his nephew to visit Michele in Hawaii. Neither of them thought the trip would be romantic, but as soon as they set eyes on one another, that old flame began to rekindle.
“I guess my heart was already halfway there,” she said. “Because the minute I saw him, I just thought to myself, ‘Oh my god.’”
“I could just tell,” Dave agreed. “This is it.”
Months later, Michele decided to close the distance between them, literally and figuratively. She moved from Hawaii back to Wisconsin, in part because she needed to be closer to her aging mother, but mostly so she could be with Dave. It wasn’t long after that that Dave put a ring on her finger and they made their love official.
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I went up to Marshfield, Wis. for @nytimes recently to photograph a pretty amazing wedding story. After giving up their son for adoption at age 16, Michelle Newman and Dave Lindgren didn’t speak again. Decades later their son, Martin Schmidt, who was starting a family of his own, reached out to his biological parents and put them back in touch. Michelle and Dave fell back in love and this month their son Martin officiated their wedding. Click the link in my profile to read the full story by Natalie Shutler and @allisongeyer
The following August, Michele and Dave got married in a casual backyard ceremony. Their large blended family was all there to shower them with love and blessings, and Dave’s grandson played “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts in honor of their meandering journey to true love. But the best part of all— the wedding was officiated by Martin, the long-lost son who brought them together.
Share this story to celebrate the broken roads we all travel on this journey of life!