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Losing a mom, finding a mother and father Ernesto Lopez | Sat, Oct 09 2010 12:00 PM

When Steve Duff, 42, received a call from the Adoptees' Liberty Movement Association saying they had found his adoption records in a trash bin and that in them were his biological parents' contact information, he said he just wanted to call the people who put him up for adoption and thank them.

At that time in 2006, it had been a few months since Steve's adoptive mother, Marylou Duff, had passed away.

"With the passing of my mom I just wanted to thank my biological parents (for having given me up for adoption). I was grateful for having such a great mom and still living such a wonderful dad," Steve said.

Duff, who is currently the pastor of programming arts at New Hope Community Church in Eastlake, said he never had the desire to find his biological family, but now finds great joy that he and his wife Anita and 6-year-old daughter Arabella have new people to call family.

He said he had heard a lot of horror stories about people finding their biological families, and before calling them, wondered if they would want to hear from him.

"I didn't mind if they chose not to meet me, I just wanted to say thank you," Steve said. "Now that I have them in my life, I have great joy because I have more family and they are all great people."

Bob Duff said he and his wife adopted Steve through the San Diego County Adoption Agency just weeks after he was born.

Bob said they welcomed Steve as their own and were grateful his biological mother had not had an abortion; especially because Marylou had experienced several miscarriages in the '60s.

"Steve turned out to be a great man," Bob said. "He is not flesh of our flesh, nor bones of our bones, but God gave him to us and made him our son."

Growing up, Steve played soccer and football at Helix High School in La Mesa where he graduated as valedictorian. He completed three years at UC San Diego as an engineering major but dropped out to pursue a music career. Music became his passion after learning to play the piano when he was five years old.

Irma Makepeace, Steve's biological mother, said she had always longed to meet her first- born son. She had agreed to give her son up for adoption because she was in high school and unwed, so giving him up for adoption was the best option at that time.

"I wanted him to have two parents, me and his father had no plans of getting married. It was the toughest decision of my life," Makepeace said. "My heart broke when I let go of him, I had this incredibly deep pain that shook my very being."

John Pickrel, Steve's biological father, said he always wondered what became of his son.

"I always cried when I thought of him, especially on my birthday because we were born on the same day," Pickrel said. "I went back to the adoption agency several times hoping to reach Steve, but nothing ever came of that."

Makepeace said she thought of Steve every day.

"Having him back in my life has been a godsend," said Makepeace. "I have been blessed because there was always a hole in my heart."

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