WOOD TV8 viewers ID adoptive mom in VHS

A VHS bought at a thrift store turned out to be a home video of Diane VanAlstyne and her son meeting for the first time.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A couple who got a VHS from a thrift store thought they were buying a Disney movie — but it actually turned out to be a home video of the first time a baby met his adoptive mother.

What Edward Welch and Michelle Standish thought was a copy of ‘Inspector Gadget’ came from the Saint Vincent DePaul secondhand shop on S. Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. They bought it just this week. It cost Welch 10 cents.

When Welch popped the video in his VHS player, he found it was not ‘Inspector Gadget.’

“I said, ‘You got to see this,'” Welch recalled.

It was a home video of a baby boy meeting his new mother for the first time.

“I had tears welling up in my eyes,” Standish said. “I was like, wow, this is a baby just coming into the United States.”

The video is dated Aug. 1, 1988, and the beginning was recorded at an airport.

Welch initially thought he’d just get rid of the tape, but Standish changed his mind.

“I try to put myself in their shoes and say, ‘If this was me, would I want that?’ I would want that memory,” Standish said.

The video goes on to show the baby coming home, but there’s no address and you can’t make out a license plate. At one point, the mother is identified only as ‘Diane’ — no last name. Also on the video is the baby’s first bath, and then a few years later, the little boy riding a bicycle.

“It’s a very heartwarming story and if we can give them a piece of that back, it would just mean the world to me. It really would,” Standish said.

Within minutes of the story airing on 24 Hour News 8 at 10 p.m. on WXSP on Thursday, tips started coming in to ReportIt. One identified the mother of the baby. 24 Hour News 8 soon found her phone number and gave her a call.

Joshua and Diane VanAlstyne.
(A courtesy photo of Joshua and Diane VanAlstyne.)

Diane VanAlstyne confirmed the video was hers.

“I want to thank those people that turned that in and you folks for finding me,” VanAlstyne told 24 Hour News 8.

She said the video has been missing for 20 years and it’s the only copy.

“I was blaming my sister-in-law because she was going to take it and make a DVD out of it, and I thought she’d lost it, so I owe her a big apology,” VanAlstyne said.

She said she was recently getting rid of some belongings before she moved. She said she first planned to just throw away the tapes, but then decided to donate them to the Saint Vincent DePaul.

VanAlstyne said her son Joshua is now 26 and has his own 9-month-old son.

24 Hour News 8 is making plans to return the video to her.

“I’m just in tears,” VanAlstyne said. “Thank you so much.”

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