Finding Out Your Dad Isn't Your Dad
Four years ago, when I was 34 years old, I came home from work at 6:00 in the morning and my live-in boyfriend said to me, "Honey, you are not going to believe what happened last night!" A man had shown up at my doorstep, slightly tipsy, and announced to my boyfriend that he (the man) believed he was my biological father. He spent about an hour telling my boyfriend information about myself and my family, particularly my mother. He left his name, address, phone number, and email address and told my boyfriend that I could contact him whenever I wanted to, if I chose to do so.
I spent some time pondering the matter and pouring over old family data. I had my mom's diary from the year 1968 to 1974 (four years before my birth and two years after), and plenty of family photos. My younger brother and sister have dark brown, curly hair with reddish tints that show up well in the sun and dark brown eyes, like my dad. I have mousy brown hair, straight as a board, and green eyes, like my mom. Nothing too telling in that...except that I favor my mother. The entire year prior to my birth had been removed from my mom's diary, which was suspicious. I saw a notation in the back that said my mom and dad had been separated for a year and a half prior to my conception, and that they had gotten back together right around the time I would've been conceived (my parents had been married for six years before I was born). Suspicion arose at that, too, because my siblings and I had never known that our parents had anything but a happy marriage prior to the arrival of children.
My alleged biological father contacted me again several weeks later and wanted to meet me in person. He arrived with photos of me as a child and claimed that my mom had sent them to him via his mother. He said he used to have a 60's muscle car with my mom's name stenciled along the rear spoiler. He said that he and my mom had lived together for a little while in North Carolina and that she found out she was pregnant, told him he wasn't responsible enough to be a father, and that she was going to reconcile with my dad.
To find out for sure, this man said he would pay for DNA testing to be performed. We sent off to a firm in California that does cheek swab testing for their kit and performed the tests, then waited for the results to be delivered via email and normal mail. *wait wait wait*
In the mean time, I had an argument with my mom via email and made a comment about my alleged biological father, which stirred up a hornet's nest with my parents. Thus they were clued in about the mystery man and the pending DNA tests.
The DNA results said that it was 99.99999999% probable that he was my biological father. My dad and I then took our own cheek swab DNA tests and the results said it was 00.00000014% probable that HE was my biological father. So the midnight ramblings of a drunken stranger proved to be true, much to my dismay and the dismay of my family.
I haven't had much contact with my biological father and don't really think I want any. I don't understand why he would wait thirty four years to drop this bomb into my lap and the lap of my family. It isn't as though he had any hopes of reconciliation with my mom, because my parents have been married since 1966 and are still married today. How many people do YOU know that have been married for forty-four years?
I have two children, a 21 year old daughter and a 16 year old daughter. My dad was very upset to learn that they are not, now, his biological grandchildren. My parents have gone through quite a bit in the past four years since this revelation and my mom denies that she knew she was pregnant when she reconciled with my dad before I was born. My sister and I don't believe this denial, but cannot prove otherwise.
It has really put me in something of a tailspin because I've spent the past two decades doing genealogical research on my dad's and mom's family trees...and then I find out that I don't even belong to one of the branches. The large and loving collection of relatives on my father's side aren't actually my blood-kin. I used to KNOW that I was Scotch-Irish on my dad's side and French-English on my mom's...and now it feels sometimes like half of me is missing.
I don't necessarily believe that blood makes a person your family. I have ONE dad and ONE father, and that is the man that raised me from birth to the age at which I moved out of the family nest (and back in again, then out again, then back, then out...). I wouldn't be the person I am today with the values and morals and independence and ability to think for myself if it wasn't for him. So he IS my dad in every sense of the word.
My dad struggles with it occasionally, and I know it bothers him more than he shows. He is a very proud and quiet man, and he comes from a large but very close and loving family. Family means a great deal to him. Sometimes I wonder if it's actually my mom's deception that has hurt him the most, and I guess it probably is.
At age 38, I still want my mommy sometimes when my heart hurts...and I still want my daddy when life seems to deal with me unfairly in some way and I want him to protect me or defend me. My dad, the one who raised me, is the best father a girl could ever ask for, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. Even if it was deceitful and dishonest of my mom to reconcile with him because she believed he would be the better provider, and to keep from him the knowledge that I wasn't his biological child, I'm glad she did in a way. Otherwise I might have missed out on the best dad ever.
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