Mother-son reunion was 29 years in the making

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Georgia Lynn Davis enjoyed visiting with her 37-year-old son this past weekend - a son she's only known for eight years and three days.

Davis, a longtime Fallon resident, was reunited with her second son, Michael Melchiorre, in July 2001 after an extensive search by Melchiorre's fiance. What is remarkable is that Davis and her family thought Melchiorre died as a newborn. But all of that changed in one day.

Davis bore her first son at the age of 15 and was 17 when she became pregnant with her second son. She said that in 1972 the Churchill County district attorney and state welfare officer conspired to take her children from her because she was "a problem." While still pregnant, she faced the ultimatum of losing both children or giving the newborn up for adoption, Davis said.

"They bullied me out of Michael," Davis said, adding she only had three days with the baby before he was taken from her.

Meanwhile, Melchiorre's adoptive parents received a phone call on April 13, 1972, - the day he was born - letting them know a baby boy was available to them in Fallon. The couple drove up from Las Vegas on April 16 and returned home as a family of three.

Two weeks later, Davis said she was told by those same officials the baby died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. She was not presented a death certificate or any evidence, "just their word," she said.

Through the years, Davis and her family remembered the baby and marked his birthday. Davis said her grandmother, Georgia Elliott, bought a birthday card for Melchiorre every year, signed it and kept it filed away. Although she died in 1995 and never met her second grandson, Elliott always told Davis she would meet her son someday.

Fast-forward almost three decades. As Melchiorre prepared for his wedding in 2001, his fiance, Erica, became curious about his birth parents and began searching for Davis. Melchiorre said he didn't need to know about his birth parents, but he was curious to know what they looked like, what his name might have been and what pertinent medical history he should know. The only clue Melchiorre had was a nonidentifying information sheet that mentioned an older brother and an aunt with diabetes.

Knowing he was born in Fallon, Melchiorre's fiance and her mother produced fliers and traveled from Las Vegas to post the fliers in Schurz, Hawthorne and Fallon. On their last day traveling, at their last stop, the two women visited the Frontier Village.

Davis said she remembers two women walking slowly past her mother's business, Georgia's Bar, making brief eye contact and watching them continue down the sidewalk to post fliers at other businesses on that Friday afternoon in 2001.

The next Monday, while working at the bar, Davis heard a patron talking about the flier and the man searching for his birth mother. Davis didn't think much of it until the patron said he was born in Fallon on April 13, 1972.

"I about lost it," Davis said, adding her son was one of two babies born that day - and the only boy.

Within minutes, Davis called the phone number listed on the flier and left a message saying she had "vital information" and to please call back. A half hour later, Erica called Davis back and heard the words she'd been waiting for.

"I'm his mother," Davis told her.

Melchiorre asked Erica to leave the room while he compiled his emotions. He said he listened in on their conversation briefly before joining in. Then he and Davis talked for 45 minutes. Anxious for the two to meet, Erica and her mother convinced Melchiorre to leave for Fallon that very day.

At 8:30 p.m. at Georgia's Bar, Melchiorre met his mother, who woke up that day believing he was dead. It had been 29 years since she last saw him.

When the two first met, Melchiorre held Davis at arms length just to look at her.

"Who's got the green eyes?" he asked before wrapping his arms around Davis.

Although the bar was closed, it was packed with friends and family eager to meet Melchiorre.

"I had no idea I was showing up to a party," Melchiorre said.

"Everybody else just disappeared," Davis said of that first night she met her son.

The two shared sketched drawings and pictures and learned they have many similarities despite their long absence from each other.

Melchiorre, who always knew he was adopted, said he holds no hard feelings toward Davis and makes sure his adoptive mother knows she is still his primary parent. Out of respect for her, he doesn't talk about Fallon while around his mother.

"She's Lynn," Melchiorre said pointing to Davis, "and she's Mom."

Davis and Melchiorre met each year since 2001 for four years, but he has since moved to North Carolina where he is a junior high teacher. He and Erica now have two children of their own. His visit this summer was the first time in four years he was able to visit his birth family. With her family gathered around on the patio, Davis looked content.

"All four of my sons just fell in together like they had never been apart," Davis said. "They're so much alike. Our conversations go on and on."


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