|Me and Dad before the news|
They told me that mom had gotten pregnant when she was 16 and bio dad, Daryl, was 15 and just a friend of a friend. I was conceived and born in Southern California and as far as I know, bio dad only met me once or twice as a baby. His mom wanted to adopt me, but mine said no. When I was almost a year old, my mom decided that the neighborhood we lived in wasn't safe anymore so she moved up to Portland, OR to live with her dad. After the move, she lost contact with Daryl and his family and shortly after, met my dad and they got married and he legally adopted me when I was a few years old.
Being adopted is such a weird thing. I had a dad. And growing up, my dad was great. I didn't need anything. But I still felt like something was missing. I started to feel like something was wrong with me. What had I done to make him not want to stay? I dealt with so many years of abandonment issues. I remember the day they told me, going up to the bathroom mirror and just staring at myself. I felt like a stranger in my own skin. I felt like all at once I knew exactly who I was, but also had no idea. That night I lay in bed just feeling my face and arms and legs and feeling like an alien.
After that day, I thought about Daryl every now and then but never gave finding him much thought. My mom let it be known from the beginning that finding him was totally up to me and she would support me either way. These were the days before the internet-- finding a person involved a lot of work or Maury Povich. When I was 24, I was diagnosed with a heart condition and every piece of paperwork I filled out had an entire blank half that was "family history." I started to think more about finding Daryl, but was still scared and held back.
When I was 26, I moved to LA. One day I was getting my oil changed out near where I was born and drove by the hospital for the first time that I was born in. It finally hit me-- I needed to know. That night I called my mom and told her I was finally ready to find Daryl and she was behind me 100%.
The next day, I started what I thought was going to be a long and arduous process. All I knew about this guy was his first and last name, his approximate age, and where he want to high school. That was it. My first search was Facebook and that turned out to be a bust. Next I tried classmates.com since I knew his school info. I hit the enter button and up popped a face that matched with the name. I sent the pic to my mom to see if it was him and her words were "Oh my god. He is older, but I'll never forget that face."
I sat staring at my computer screen for a long time. I studied his face. He looked kind. He also looked like he had broken his nose a few times. He was young and handsome. I hoped he was a good man. I held my breath and wrote the weirdest and scariest email I have ever written in my life. I basically told him that I wasn't sure if he had a new family or if they knew about me and I wasn't trying to stir up any trouble. I told him that I wasn't asking him for anything-- money or a relationship-- I just had some questions I wanted to ask. I even said that if he could put me in contact with his mom instead, that would be totally fine. I didn't want to scare him away. I hit the send button and cried a little and then let it go.
Two days later, my mom called me crying, barely able to speak, and told me to open my classmates profile. There waiting for me was a message from Daryl. He told me that he had missed me my entire life. He told me that he had been through some trouble, but when he finally got it together, he couldn't find me or my mom and it was too late. He sent me his phone number and within hours, we were talking on the phone. He told me that his entire family knew about me and that he kept a picture of me in his wallet. He told me that I had 3 brothers. He told me that there were no major health problems on his side. He told me that his birthday had been a few days prior and that finding me was the best birthday present he could have asked for. He wanted to meet me immediately.
At the end of this day, my head was spinning. I was thrilled! I had been wanted after all! There was nothing wrong with me! I wanted to meet him and his whole family RIGHT NOW! I went home and Trevor sort of talked me off of the ledge. He told me that maybe I should slow down and take it all in and figure out what I really wanted to do and not get swept up in my Oprah moment. He was right. A few months later, Daryl was in town so I agreed to take Trevor to meet him and his girlfriend for dinner.
|Me and Daryl at my wedding|
We sat across the table from each other just staring at each others faces. I can't even tell you what a Twilight Zone moment that whole dinner was. It was the best and most weird all at once. After dinner we parted ways but kept in contact. The following year, Trevor and I got married and I invited Daryl. Let me tell you, he was the talk of the town. For 27 years, to my entire family, Daryl had just been a name. And all of my friends thought he was a babe, which was super gross and weird. It is the curse of having young parents. But I am glad that he came and was able to share in one milestone moment
in my life.
I don't consider Daryl my "dad." I also don't consider him my sperm donor. He is a nice man that gave me life. He has a good heart and he has tried his best. We have since fallen out of touch, but that's ok. I went into finding him with an open mind and no expectations and I feel that what I got out of it was the best of all possible scenarios. I know that a lot of people go on the same hunts only to have their hearts broken. I wake up every morning now feeling that my last puzzle piece is in place and knowing exactly who I am and why.
Thank you for my life, Daryl. It is the best gift anyone has ever given me.