BUFFALO, N.Y. — “Happiness happens in the blink of an eye,” Kevin Corbett said while standing outside his Buffalo, New York, home.
Corbett should know. He said his life changed for the better in an instant on Dec. 3, exactly two days before his 43rd birthday.
But, before we explain why, let’s rewind.
Corbett grew up an only child.
“Dad and I did everything together. Lots of baseball games, lots of hockey games. We played outside a lot. I was n Boy Scouts. So, I had a very good childhood,” he explained.
Why does all of that matter? Corbett was adopted at birth by Tom and Jean Corbett.
“My birth parents were very young, and they chose to adopt rather than any other option. I couldn’t have asked for two better parents,” he explained of Tom and Jean.
Jean died in 2005, and Tom died in 2008.
“There was an emptiness that could not be filled from the loss of your parents.”
So, Corbett said he set out to find his birth parents.
“Because it was a private adoption, and court papers were sealed, I kept hitting brick wall after brick wall.”
But, earlier this year, a law was enacted, allowing adoptees like Corbett to get a copy of their original birth certificate. He received it shortly before his 43rd birthday, and there was the name of his birth mother, Anne Huebel, in black and white.
“Within 24 hours, I had actually gotten my mom on the phone.”
“The first thing he said to me was thank you so much for picking the parents that you did for me. I’m just very proud of the decision that you guys made,” Huebel said.
“It has been a range of emotions. Lots of ups and downs,” said Kevin as he choked back tears.
Corbett’s birth parents have been married for 35 years. They have two sons and a daughter all of who live in Indiana. Corbett said he is looking forward to meeting everyone in person once it’s safe to travel.
“Whatever the best case scenario was, that’s what I ended up getting,” said Corbett.
“I was able to sing happy birthday to my son on his 43rd birthday for the first time. How does it get any better than that? It doesn’t. And what a great way to end 2020,” added Huebel.
The end brings us back to the beginning, and the thing about happiness, according to Corbett.
“Happiness happens in the blink of an eye. I think we all need to remember what we’re here for and what we’re grateful for. It’s not about the things we have. It’s about the people around us.”
At the risk of editorializing, this reporter couldn't agree more.
This story was first reported by Ali Touhey at WKBW in Buffalo, New York.