Now 39 years old, New Jersey man Steve Carter grew up knowing very little about his origins. He was adopted as an infant in Hawaii and was raised in a well-heeled part of The Garden State. Nevertheless, Steve remained curious about his roots, and one day the medical software operative decided to do some digging online. However, when his investigations unearthed an artist’s impression of a missing person, he recognized the image at once. It ultimately led Steve from his comfortable Medford Lakes home in to a mysterious and uncomfortable past.
Back in 1980, Steve Carter Sr. was an U.S. Army officer stationed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It was during this tour of duty that he and his teacher wife, Pat, decided to adopt a child. And when they encountered a three-and-a-half year old boy living in foster care, they knew that they just had to bring him home. “It was love at first sight,” Pat explained to People magazine in 2012.
On September 23 of that year, Steve and Pat brought the boy to live with them full time. According to Hawaii records, the little guy’s name was Tenzin Amea, and he had been in the state’s care for the past three years. His file stated that the fair-haired infant’s anonymous father was a native Hawaiian. The boy’s white mother was down as Jane Amea, and she had been arrested when Tenzin was just five months old. Consequently, in June 1977, the unfortunate little lad had ended up in the Hawaii care system.