EXCLUSIVE: Family torn apart by war, heartbreak decades ago becomes one

<p>After helping a Yorktown veteran set up a meeting with his first love after decades of being apart,</p>

News 12 Staff

Sep 17, 2018, 9:25 PM

Updated 2,131 days ago

Share:

After helping a Yorktown veteran set up a meeting with his first love after decades of being apart, News 12’s Tara Rosenblum and Scott McGee have gone a step further by reuniting another member of their family.
John Bartalotta went on Facebook on Dec. 8 to look for the woman he dated for more than a year when they lived on Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx in the mid-1960s. Bartalotta was drafted and sent to Vietnam in February 1966, and when he got back in 1968, his first love, Christine Delise, had moved away.
Delise moved to Florida and got married. Bartalotta later got married, moved to Westchester and started a family.
After Bartalotta connected with Delise on Facebook, they began having long phone calls, which turned into Facetime video chats and eventually a meeting at the Westchester County Airport.
The couple also set out to find the child that they gave up for adoption. The child was born in January 1966, three weeks before her 19-year-old father left for the Marines.
"My father wouldn't let me take her home. In the '60's you didn't do that,” said Delise, who was 18 at the time.
News 12’s Tara Rosenblum contacted a private investigator, who agreed to take on their case to try and find their daughter Donna Marie. The couple also put themselves on DNA searches and put out a newspaper ad.
However, Donna Marie and her husband turned to News 12 on Facebook after seeing the story – on the same day her biological parents got engaged.  
News 12 hatched a plan for Donna Marie, her husband and children to fly to Westchester from Florida for a surprise reunion four days later.
As the unsuspecting Delise and Bartalotta were busy decorating their new love nest in Wappingers Falls, Donna Marie, her husband and children headed to La Boca Restaurant in White Plains to surprise them.
The meeting was joyous for all parties involved – Delise said it was like hitting the lottery. What Delise had also hoped for was forgiveness from Donna Marie.
“When you give up a baby for adoption, that's the selfless thing you can do as a mother,” said Donna Marie.
Delise and Bartalotta plan to marry on Dec. 8 – the same day he went to find her online.
Donna Marie plans to be in the wedding party – and News 12 was invited to the festivities as well.


More from News 12
1:10
Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world

Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world

1:57
Mainly sunny Friday with seasonable temps in the Hudson Valley

Mainly sunny Friday with seasonable temps in the Hudson Valley

1:11
House fire brought under control in Hartsdale

House fire brought under control in Hartsdale

13:51
'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

0:54
Lightning strikes tree by New City man taking dog outside

Lightning strikes tree by New City man taking dog outside

0:25
Sullivan County man found guilty of selling fentanyl

Sullivan County man found guilty of selling fentanyl

0:18
Police: Suspects wanted in shooting that injured 3 in Newburgh

Police: Suspects wanted in shooting that injured 3 in Newburgh

0:55
Hudson Valley politicians take in the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee

Hudson Valley politicians take in the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee

0:23
Rye Playland to celebrate Dragon Coaster's 95th birthday this weekend

Rye Playland to celebrate Dragon Coaster's 95th birthday this weekend

1:44
South African consulate teaches meaning of Nelson Mandela International Day

South African consulate teaches meaning of Nelson Mandela International Day

1:32
Aunt: Child found dead inside hot car was in the care of a Sullivan County foster family

Aunt: Child found dead inside hot car was in the care of a Sullivan County foster family

0:33
Orange County man sentenced for hiring hitman to kill neighbor

Orange County man sentenced for hiring hitman to kill neighbor

1:31
Bedford kennel, animal rescue owner charged with animal cruelty

Bedford kennel, animal rescue owner charged with animal cruelty

1:59
Peekamoose Blue Hole: The Ulster County swimming hole that's too pretty for its own good

Peekamoose Blue Hole: The Ulster County swimming hole that's too pretty for its own good

1:10
What you need to know about lightning, following scary incident in the Hudson Valley

What you need to know about lightning, following scary incident in the Hudson Valley

0:38
Youths injured during ‘riots’ at Goshen juvenile detention center, sources say

Youths injured during ‘riots’ at Goshen juvenile detention center, sources say

1:13
Headlines: Teen killed in crash only had learner's permit, nursing home assault, threat to blow up social services

Headlines: Teen killed in crash only had learner's permit, nursing home assault, threat to blow up social services

0:20
SPCA seeks help finding those who dumped 3 Collie mixes

SPCA seeks help finding those who dumped 3 Collie mixes

1:50
Live the lake life for a day on Lake Mahopac

Live the lake life for a day on Lake Mahopac

0:47
Pedal Your Way to Fun: New Hudson River boat offers unique social experience

Pedal Your Way to Fun: New Hudson River boat offers unique social experience