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What I Learned From Finding My Absent Father

Growing up I never knew my father nor felt I needed him. I loved being a part of the large, tight-knit family on my mother’s side and never stood out as being ‘fatherless.’ But despite my happy childhood, I couldn’t help but wonder about my father. I would tentatively approach my mother to ask her questions and she always welcomed them, but some details were simply forgotten. For example, she knew my father was mixed race but couldn’t recall where his parents were from. As a child, this never bothered me but as I grew, I became more conscious of how my identity was rooted in my ancestry. I longed to know my heritage in its entirety so, at the age of 29, I took the plunge and sent off a sample of my DNA to learn more about my lineage. Two years later, my life changed forever.

I opted to connect with anyone else who shared my DNA in the company’s database and met a cousin living in America and another in London. We were able to piece together that we were related through our fathers, yet none of us had any contact with them. To fill the gaping hole in our family tree and unravel the mystery of where our fathers were, we began to search for them - starting with mine. It took three months of social media searches, ancestry research and scouring electoral rolls before we got the result we had been hoping for. I don’t think you can ever fully prepare for what may come when meeting long lost family, but there have been some of the valuable lessons I have learned...