Who’s Your Daddy?

I’m going to walk the line between personal and professional which is frankly a very thin line anyway. Over the course of some weeks I’ll share my story of finding out that my dad wasn’t my biological dad at the age of 46 and about how I came to search for my biological parent. It’s not a long road so that bodes well for you my reader but it is interesting. There are many different lessons and moments and pieces and reflections. Some of it is hard and some of it is funny. But all of it is my story. It is my hope that through sharing my story you will find nuggets with which you can relate and for others, perhaps it will provide a bit of hope in your own path to find that biological parent, sibling or other. At the end of the day, this is my story and I share it with you as a gift and as a way to process all the bits of deliciousness. But remember I’m not trying to be the next coming of anything. It’s just a story.

So, I was born in 1968. It was probably hot as it was the middle of August. My mom’s name was Ruby and she was from a poor family. She didn’t go to college. That was not an option. My dad’s name was Mike and although my parents divorced when I was six years old, Mike remained my dad until his death in 2013. (sidebar: I also had a stepdad for which I’ll always be grateful)  My parents were probably on again off again as teenagers as so many of us were in our youthful relationships. When my mom was 19 and my dad was 20, they moved to a small town in eastern Oregon called Redmond. They moved for maybe a better life or just for work. Or maybe they were bored. I’ll never know. So he was a roofer and she was a waitress. And then she got pregnant and they got married. The end. Not quite.

Thirteen years ago my dad called me after about 6 too many and said “I’m not your real dad.” I remember looking up into the corners of the ceiling for cameras as I felt like I was on a weird version of candid camera. He proceeded to tell me a story that would stick with me through 3 births, two deaths and 13 years. 13 years later, with two buried parents, I decided to find out if it was true. So I did the only thing I could; I pressured my younger sister into taking a DNA test from 23andme.com. A few months later as I mused at how ridiculous I was being the results came in. It was true. My sister and I were half sisters. That meant there was another dad out there. Before getting the results I didn’t think it would really matter. But it did. And after joking with my sister that I wanted half of my Christmas check back, I set out on a mission to find that person. Dead or alive. With no information. No name. No age. No nothing. I bought a book to record all of my calls and dead ends and DNA test numbers and there I went. And here I am now.

As a sidebar, I’ll tell you that few things have shocked me the way this did. I mean we don’t always look like our parents or think like them or talk like them but that doesn’t mean much. It really took my breath away and made me wish that it wasn’t so and yet, if I’m honest it was validating because I’d always felt a bit different. Like I didn’t quite belong. When you ask a question be ready for the answer. Stay tuned for the specifics of how I found him. Where I looked. Who I met and who I thought might be him. How much luck was involved and how I used Twitter to find him.

Moral: Whether you check your bank balance or you don’t, the balance is still the balance.