Vietnam veteran spends 1st Christmas with daughter he never knew he had

TAMPA, Florida -- There are some Christmas gifts so good, they don't need wrapping paper. A Florida woman spent the holiday with her biological father, after decades not knowing him.

"It's almost like twins reuniting," Olivia Robles said.

It is possible to pick up right where you left off, with a person you've never met. Robles and her father, Gary Barnes are living proof of it. Christmas 2017 was their first together, and they're now getting to know each other as father and daughter. This Christmas, they came face-to-face for just the second time in 50 years.

Robles said at 10 years old, she found out the man she grew up believing was her father was actually her stepfather. Since then, she's been on a mission to find her biological father. After using Ancestry.com to get some direction as to where her dad might be, she came across a newfound cousin.

"The next thing you know, she's sending me a picture of my dad and the resemblance between my youngest son Ryan and my dad -- it was so compelling," Robles said.

Robles discovered Gary Barnes, a Vietnam vet, who had a relationship with her mother, but never knew of a pregnancy.

"I went out with her mother and then when they shipped me out the final time back to Vietnam, we lost touch," Barnes said.

After a DNA test confirmed their hopes, they finally met for the first time in California. After that, there was little doubt about where Barnes would spend Christmas. He hopped on a plane from the West Coast so he could be with his daughter, three grandsons and his great-grandson -- a family he never knew he had.

"This is the true gift. It really is," Robles said.