Finding My Father

My Story:

I grew up living with my mother, aunt and grandfather in Cleveland, Ohio. And I never knew my father. All I knew was that my mom did not want to marry him, so he found someone else and moved to Texas. He paid child support, but that was it. My mother was not much for talking about such personal things. So I never asked much. She told me that I looked a lot like him and that I had at least one half-sibling (his new wife was pregnant when she saw them in court).

Over the years I thought about contacting him. Once in 8th grade I almost tried to look him up. Then again when I was about 20 (I am currently 26) I thought about it and tried looking up his name on the internet through Yahoo.com. There were many people with his name in Texas, and I could have easily tried calling some of them, but just never had the guts.

On New Years Eve, 2003 I decided to make it my New Years resolution to finally find my father. I was going to start by looking up his mother, who still lived in the area. I couldn’t find her name in the phone book, and even my mom and aunt got involved – they were going to show me the house that she last lived in. But we never got around to it.

The months of 2003 kept going by. Finally, I decided I would try Yahoo again. I would write a letter – I didn’t need to call! Much easier that way, not awkward, not difficult, didn’t have to figure out what to say. Just write it! So I asked my mom what his middle name was to narrow down my search. With that, there were two possibilities in the state of Texas. So I wrote a letter to both. Here it is:

June 2, 2003

Dear Alan,

I am writing because I am looking for my father. He is from Ohio and had a daughter with [my mom]. If you are not him, please write back in the enclosed self addressed stamped envelope and let me know, so that I can cross you off my list.

If you are him, then please write back or call me, because I would love to meet you. Please write back and let me know, so that I will not continue to search for you.

Sincerely,

Nicole Hanusek
nicole@danikkdesign.com

Then I mailed it. I took a deep breath, heart pounding with nervousness and anxiousness, and placed them both in the mailbox. Never to be retrieved, no changing of the mind. Done.

I suppose there are many reasons why I hadn’t done it any sooner. What if he didn’t want to talk to me? What if he was just a big bum? What if I couldn’t really find him? Many, many negative possibilities, very few positive. Most people I know were not so lucky in their own search. But alas, it was done. So…

One man replied via email about 5 days after I sent the letters. He said he was 33 and gay, never been to Ohio. Obviously not my father. So about another week passed. I stayed home from work that Monday because I had a pretty bad cold. When I logged on the computer around 10am I found an interesting email:

Nicole,

What a coincidence, I used to deliver the newspaper “The Plain Dealer” on
Waterbury when I was in 5th and 6th grade at 5 AM every day. I lived on
Beechwood Ave. from when I was 5 to 18 years old!

Well, Nicole, this is your father. I received your letter, and was really
surprised. I had tried to locate you a few times in the past ten years or
so, to no avail. I was in Ohio around 1995 or 96 (?), stopped in at the old
house on Welmon, but you had just moved 3 weeks prior to that. I talked to
Don Maji, your next door neighbor (and an old classmate of mine), and he
told me you had moved, but he didn’t know to where.

I am really glad that you found me; so many times I was tempted to call your
mother, but not sure what type of reaction I would get from her. More so, my
former wife would have had a problem with that (one of the reasons she is my
former wife).

Please write back, and we can continue communicating; also, do you have an
AOL IM name? If you do, log on and I will be on line. My screen name is
______. We can talk live. I will always be logged on all day at my
work.

Anyway, got to go. Anticipate talking to you soon. Oh, by the way, I like
your web site.

Your father,

Alan

Shocked I was! Contact at last, from this moment forward my life was going to be totally different in many ways. Giddy and happy. Saying to myself over and over �that�s my dad!� I gave my dogs a big hug (they were the only beings around to express my joy with). Mostly in disbelief and amazement, but very, very happy.

I did not want to send him an AIM that day – I was on cold medicine and felt pretty funky. Didn’t want to come off as a big goofball. So I decided to wait until the next day.

Thinking and feeling all sorts of things, I headed off to the pharmacy to get some medicine. While waiting, I ventured into the card isle. Father’s Day was that Sunday; I can get a Father’s Day card – for the first time in my life! I felt giggly, warm and fuzzy all over. I looked at all the cards but none of them fit, they all looked to the past, while mine needed to look forward. So I made my own when I got home.

Finally, Tuesday, the day I chat with my dad live, for the first time ever. I send him a message “Hi, this is Nicole”. It takes a few minutes, but he responds, “Had to catch my breath.” So off we went, comparing this and that. As it turns out we have many things in common – we both sit in front of a computer all day, both do/did triathlons, both are/were vegetarian, both love dogs, share same view on life and politics… the list goes on.

And I have siblings! Ricky 22, Keith 18, and Danielle 16. All very shy like me. And I do look JUST LIKE my dad (see pic for comparison). I met my grandmother, Aunt Diane, and Aunt Tammy. All tall, I obviously get the height from my dad’s side of the family. They are all so sweet! And I have an Uncle Michael currently stationed in Hawaii. And about 7 or so more cousins (I think?), where previously I only had two! Oh, and a step-mom, Mary, and her four daughters � Tabbatha, Tiffany, Brittany, and Alexis. I have a whole new family to get to know and love! (Not to mention my Christmas card list just got a whole lot longer!)


My husband, Dan has been very supportive, listens to everything I have to say about it all. My mother has also been supportive, surprisingly. In September I will be flying to Texas to meet everyone. Be sure to check back around November, I’ll post some more pictures and fill you on my trip.

The strangest thing is that I think a void has been filled, one that I didn�t even know was there.


My Dad’s Story:

I had a daughter out of wedlock, when I was very young, and always wondered about her. I had chosen to move to Texas and start a family of my own, but still thought about my daughter in Ohio. In 1995, on a visit to Ohio, I went to the house that my daughter’s mother grew up in and knocked on the door, to no avail. The neighbor told me they had just moved 3 weeks earlier, but they did not know to where. I had to go back to Texas, and did not pursue any further.

I still thought and hoped that one day she may show up at my door, but was not even sure that she had any interest in knowing me. Then one Saturday I opened a piece of mail that made my heart skip a beat. It was from my daughter! My heart went boom boom boom, and I couldn’t wait to talk to her. This was the happiest day of my life since the day I had met my wife, Mary. It definitely fills a void that I knew was there.

Now we are talking, will meet soon, and I really look forward to having Nicole and Dan in our lives.

Next: Soon We Meet

About Nicole

I’m a quiet artist making a living as a web designer.

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