Steve Carver knew he was adopted, but says he didn't really think much about his birth parents until he was married and he and his wife started thinking about having kids of their own.
Carter, who was raised in New Jersey and Philadelphia, always knew there were some details that were off about his own story, he told CBS News -- his birth certificate wasn't issued until about a year after he was born, and despite Carter's blue eyes and blond hair, it listed him as half Hawaiian.
After reading a story about Carlina White, an Atlanta woman who found her own photograph on a missing children's website, Carter clicked over to the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to CNN.
That's when he saw a photograph of a 5-month-old missing baby named Marx Panama Barnes, and a composite photo depicting what he might look like as an adult.
"My first thought was, 'Oh my God, that's me,'" Carter told CBS.
The profile said the baby in the photo was born a day apart from Carter's birthday, and listed the same birthplace.
Carter told CBS he emailed a copy of the photo to his adoptive mother, who recognized him right away.
"She's like, 'Oh my God, that's you,'" Carter recalled. "And I was like, 'That's what I thought.'"
There were still some details that didn't add up. Carter's parents didn't adopt him until he was four years old, and weren't told anything about him being a missing child.
Eventually, Carter learned that was because his biological mother, who had mental issues, gave him up for adoption. When she did she listed a different name, said a Hawaiian man was his biological father, and changed his race on the registration documents.
It was found that Carter's biological mother, Charlotte Moriarty, told Carter's father that she was taking him for a walk and never returned. Carter, whose real name was Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes, was reported missing but police weren't able to solve the case, says CNN.
Moriarty told the orphanage his name was Tenzin Amea when she gave him up for adoption, and at the time -- in the late 1970s -- there were no networked databases or DNA tests that could have proved who Carter really was. The only person who knew his real identity was his mother.
A year after discovering himself on the missing children's site in 2012, Carter received the results of a DNA test that confirmed he was the son of Mark Barnes. Mark, who lives in North Carolina, said it was the first time he'd heard his son's voice in more than three decades when Steve called him.
"He introduced himself over the phone," Mark told CBS. "And I was absolutely, positively, thunderstruck and amazed. And we just sort of, in an hour of conversation, tried to catch up on 32 years."
The last anyone had heard of Moriarty, she had been checked into a psychiatric hospital. She "vanished without a trace," according to CBS, and Steve Carver was unable to find her.
His father said he regrets waiting to report that his son and wife had gone missing, and said he wondered about his son for 30 years. He said that it wasn't unusual for Moriarty to disappear for days at a time, and that once he realized she was gone, he began a search in earnest.
"Not one day went by when I wasn't -- he wasn't in my thoughts," Mark Barnes told CBS.
In addition to the emotional process of reuniting with relatives, Carter also had to reconcile 10 different names, two birthdays, and three birth certificates, CBS reported.