LOCAL Houston | The City Guide October 2017 - Page 47

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE THE PERFECT STORM FRANK BILLINGSLEY NAVIGATES HIS ADOPTION JOURNEY By Tim Moloney | Photography by Emily Jaschke KPRC WEATHER ANCHOR OF 28 YEARS FRANK BILLINGSLEY WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET THE STORY AND SHARE IT WITH HIS AUDIENCE. During Hurricane Harvey, that might have included driving the wrong way on streets, exiting on freeway entrance ramps and taking multiple detours to avoid high water in order to get back to the studio after a brief five hours of sleep at home between shifts. “It’s worth it to sleep at home, but I wouldn’t advise others to follow my example. I was just determined to get back and explain what was going on to our viewers.” That same grit and determination is evident in his new book, Swabbed and Found: An Adopted Man's DNA Journey to Discover His Family Tree, which documents the circuitous route Billingsley followed to discover his birth parents (spoiler alert: he succeeds). Alternating between revelations and roadblocks, with side trips along the way, the natural storyteller takes readers on an honest, emotional, informative and very personal journey combining cutting-edge DNA testing with old-fashioned sleuthing. “Nowadays, I think everyone is interested in where they’re from,” says Billingsley. “Look at all the commercials for 23andMe and Ancestry.com. There are people searching for family medical histories. And then there are people who’ve been wearing lederhosen who find out they’re not German after all,” he laughs. “But in my case, I really didn’t know anything. I was adopted in Arkansas, which is a ‘closed-adoption’ state, so they can’t provide records.” The meteorologist’s birth year of 1960 was a different time. “It was before the sexual revolution, it was before the Pill, it was before Roe vs. Wade. Pregnant girls and women gave up their babies for adoption because society expected it. Closed records protected them,” he explains. Billingsley makes it clear that he loves his adoptive family and was raised in a happy, healthy and loving environment. His parents had been honest with him since his youth that he was adopted but also that he was “chosen” by them. They remain close to this day. His book is available at Amazon and also through his website, www.frankbillingsley.com. Swabbed and Found officially launches with a signing at the River Oaks Barnes & Noble on October 7 at 5pm – rain or shine. 10 . 2017 | L O C A L 47