Man discovers he is a missing child

(CNN) - A man who was adopted as a child learned his biological father reported him missing over three decades ago.

Steve Carter says he's lived a happy life. He adopted when he was 4, and he had little reason to search for his biological parents.

"I didn't care where else I came from," Carter said.

When he was 6 months old, he was put in an orphanage in Hawaii, but he never knew why. Then he saw a CNN story about a woman who discovered she was a missing child and started his own Internet search.

"Pulled up Hawaii, male, missing for 34 years and lo and behold the composite picture of Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes pops up," Carter said.

Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes had been reporting missing by his father in Hawaii after his mom left with her baby and never came back. The report included a sketch of what he might look like grown up.

"I think 'Oh my God that really looks like me.' And it really does. I mean it's pretty much a spitting image," Carter said.

He contacted authorities, took a DNA test, and got a phone call.

"He said, 'You know, you are Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes,'" Carter said.

Now knowing he is that missing child, he learned his biological father lives in California. They haven't yet met, but spoke by phone.

"He was convinced that my mother had taken me. And you know, taken me and raised me somewhere else," Carter said. "And I think one of his first questions to me was, 'Where's your mother?' And I said, 'That's a fantastic question. I have the same one for you.' And I think he was a bit dumbfounded by that response."

He hopes to meet him in person this year.

"I think a face-to-face meeting is definitely going to be very emotional," he said.

Carter still has not found his biological mom and still doesn't know how he wound up in an orphanage. That's one of many confusing aspects of his life.

"Ten names, three birth certificates, and two birthdays," Carter said. "I do celebrate both birthdays. That's been a real nice plus."

"Just because it has been a week or a month or a year or 10 years or even 34 years, there's hope there are more missing children out there who can be identified and can be brought home," said Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"People need to have hope especially about missing people," Carter said.

Carter says he's always known who he is. And thanks to this sketch, now knows more about who he was.

Carter now lives in Philadelphia. He says he still wants to know what happened in the three-week period between his reported disappearance and his arrival at the Hawaiian orphanage.

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