I found you.

My father was gone from my life before I was old enough to be aware of his existence. I have always considered Nick, who came into my life when I was 13 months old, to be my dad in every practical sense of the word.

At the age of 21 I was informed by “her” that my biological auntie, Jane* was on Facebook. But, I was under strict instruction not to search for her. However, I always felt incomplete not knowing about my biological father and his family I didn’t even know what they looked like. Unfortunately, me and “her” look a lot alike. Everyone says so. But when I searched for her I was shocked. Here was a woman with the same eyes, eyebrows, cheeks, as mine. This was my auntie, a link to the man I had never known. The shock of it hit me suddenly, and I felt tears running down my cheeks.

Two months later, I had turned into an online stalker. That first glimpse has turned into a low-level obsession. I would find myself constantly checking her profile, going through her photos, looking and compiling a list of all the similarities.

One evening I had been looking at Jane’s profile. I hadn’t covered my tracks this time. It was time for “her” to spot check my phone, she scrolled through my Facebook search history. There it was in black and white. I won’t go into detail as I don’t want to talk about “her”, but I am sure you can imagine the consequences.

12 months later, and my obsession was resurrected. I had been scrolling through the photos and then one photo changed everything. It was a picture of my father on my aunties wedding day. This man was my father, we looked the same. I didn’t even read the comments or who was tagged. I just knew that the man in the photo was K.  He looked friendly, he didn’t look like the person I had been imagining all my life, he looked normal. Once again I felt tears running down my cheeks. I searched for him and his profile appeared.

“You must be friends with this person to see his full profile.” This is because we are not friends – either online or in real life. We have never even met. I looked at his profile picture every day for months.

So let’s fast forward to Saturday 11th August 2018.

I have previously posted a letter that I have wanted to send to my biological father. Well, on 11th August I decided to make contact with both my aunt and my father.

I made the decision to contact them after having a conversation with George. He understood why I needed to contact them and he was prepared to support me no matter what the outcome was.

My main reason for wanting to make contact was the fact that I had been lied to by “her” for 23 years. She had lied about the smallest things, therefore there was always the possibility that she would have lied about my existence. There were so many gaps in her story and I had heard other people’s opinions of my father and they just didn’t match what she was saying. Every story has two sides and I had only ever heard hers. Secondly, whenever there was an argument between me and “her” she would scream in my face “you are just like HIM!” ~ What did this mean? What was she trying to say?

I decided to send my first message to Jane. I wanted to ask her opinion on contacting K. I didn’t have anything to lose. The worst thing that could happen would be no response. I had a plan in place to help me overcome the rejection if that was to happen. Rejection was unfortunately something I was used to. George drove me to a little country pub, I had a glass of wine in hand and I sat down and wrote the message. It was detailed, I didn’t want to just send a “Hi, here I am” message. I wanted to explain why I was messaging, that I didn’t have any expectations and that we would manage any future communication they way she wanted. I ended the message by asking her if she thought it would be ok for me to contact K.  I didn’t overthink it and I didn’t re-read it, so be it if there were spelling errors.

I pressed send and waited. One message down.

I got the notification saying that my message request had been accepted. One hurdle down. I could see that Jane was actively typing, this was such a relief. I felt strangely calm, and my nerves had disappeared. She could have been writing to say she didn’t want contact but deep down I hoped it wasn’t and now I look back, deep down I knew it wouldn’t be.

Then the notification came through “New Message – Jane”.

I saw the words “I have always loved you…” and I crumbled. I hadn’t prepared myself for acceptance. I was overcome with emotion, the tears were uncontrollable. I felt such an explosion of emotions; joy, guilt, sadness, relief, love. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I finally felt accepted. Jane was able to release 23 years of emotion through one message. She told me to go ahead and message K.

I once again wrote the message and pressed send.

He accepted. He responded. I had been loved and wanted by my father and his family for 23 years. I couldn’t believe the response I received, it was so positive. Within an hour I was on the phone talking to him. This was the first time either of us had heard the others voice. It felt so natural. He had been waiting for this day, he was overcome with the same emotions I had.

There wasn’t a single expectation, no demands. As my auntie put it; their love was unconditional. This was the first time in 23 years I truly felt unconditional love.

It has been a week since the initial contact. I have spoken to them every day. It has been wonderful. I have been accepted by a family I have never met. But we have made plans to change that and I can’t wait. I feel like I know them so well already, and it has proven to me that nature is stronger than nurture. I feel closer to them than I have ever felt. The similarities are scary! My natural talents evidently come from them.

We have missed out on 23 years of each other’s life, but now we can move forward together.

It is a wonderful feeling. I want to tell the world, but I am unable to. I do not want “her” to find out and ruin it. I cannot tell my nan and run the risk of “her” being informed. I have confided in my uncle and my aunt, George’s father and a few close friends. Now I am confiding in you.

“Never believe it’s too late to begin.”

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