Yeah.. so I would like to start off by saying that my ‘circumstances’ have become pretty unfamiliar territory. I am not complaining, nor am I bragging, I am simply telling a story. No one that I know of has had a similar experience and for the most part, outside of family and very close friends and I have kept very mum about it as it is not something you wear on a t-shirt informing everyone you know (although I have seen some Maury Povich episodes..). My story might be a bit deep for the VMB but I have found in sharing it with friends that it has become quite a shocking story and the reason I am writing about it here, on an internet forum with a bunch of strangers with whom most I’ve never met, is because as I have seen here most people on these boards are actually very thoughtful, nice individuals that come from varying backgrounds and enjoy a unique story and perspective in life. What I hope to gain from sharing mine is to vent a bit but also an honest opinion on what other individual’s might do/think/feel in a similar situation since I am in the midst of it and really I have no clue as to how I ‘should’ feel. While it has become an interesting story to tell, I still have not quite figured out the best way to start off. I think it may be best to go back far enough to give a brief prologue and just take it from there. A few months ago, just at the start of the year, I had set my goals for the New Year and within the first couple of weeks a few great events occurred that really gave me confidence it was going to be a year to remember. A little background - I am originally from Ohio and an Ohio State alum and during this time I watched my beloved Buckeyes go on to get the SEC monkey off our back by beating the mighty Alabama and later Oregon to win the first ever College Football Playoffs. Now while this is not a personal accomplishment or goal, if you understand college sports, let alone if you are a sports fan, you might appreciate the pride that comes along with seeing your team win the prize – even though all you can do is cheer them on from the sidelines! Also during that time I had just passed my Project Management Professional exam to become PMP certified to check off a professional achievement was I well on my way for a great start to the year. I had decided to continue planning for the next set of goals to obtain this year and as fate would have it, one of those goals would involve sorting something out from my past. Time to back it up a bit.. I grew up most of my life with my younger sister (I am older by more than 2 years), my mother, my mother’s very supportive and amazing side of the family (aunts, uncles, and grandparents - she was one of 7 children, 4 boys, 3 girls) and later on a new brother after my mother was remarried (my brother and I are 15 years apart!). My mother and stepfather got divorced when I was 20 but I was gone by then as I left for school after graduating high school so did not feel the stepdad was a part of my life. One thing that I grew up with was the fact that I did not know my biological father. As far as I was concerned I did not need to know. My Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles were so incredibly supportive that it did not matter to me. I had family at my sports events growing up, close friends of the family, I always enjoyed holidays even after my grandparents grew ill and eventually passed on. To me, they performed all the activities that a father would so it did not matter. Now, let’s fast forward to my college years. On frequent occasion you have those nights where you sit out on the roof late at night and get into deep thought – that is what you are supposed to do, think, right? I had the discussion on occasion with my long time college girlfriend but even moreso with one of my best friends, where I asked.. what about this other person? Is he out there? What is he doing? Without this person, I wouldn’t technically exist, and yet here I am, without him. Was it meant to be this way? Does it even matter? How many other individuals are in a similar position where they do not know? On a couple of occasions I grill my mother with 21 questions, but it was always more like an interrogation. Tell me how you met again. What did he look like? Why wasn’t he around? Why do you not have any photos? And so on.. I already knew the story. My mother was 23 and had traveled down to work in Florida for a seasonal job. She met him down there. There was chemistry. They saw each other for awhile. She had just left when she found out she was pregnant and she cried calling home to tell my grandparents. They told her to come home and they would support. She tracked his information down through mutual friends but it took some time. Imagine this, a world without Facebook and social media?? None of the kids in newer generations would never understand how this could happen… When she reached him it was a phone call to his house back in MA where he had returned a few months later. She’s pregnant and she’s keeping the baby. She doesn’t want him to worry as she does not expect anything from him, BUT, she wants him to know in case one day, perhaps 18 or so years from now, this child reaches out to him. He was in shock during the call, but that was it and he was not heard from again. At least, until some years after ‘the call’, my mother finds out that there was a call back for her but apparently a message was not relayed do her. She was furious and one of the brothers who answered did not know any better. Maybe he forgot. Maybe it didn’t matter. Shortly after I was born my mother was seeing someone. It was my sister(to be)’s father. They were together for about 5 years but they did not get married. This was all and well as my sister’s father was a jealous and angry man. As it was explained to me by my mother, during an angry rage, he destroyed the photos and contact information she had at that time for my biological father. After that, there was nothing else left to contact him other than his name which was a rather very common NE name. Imagine searching for a John Smith and it’s in the ball park. Of course I questioned my mother’s story. Perhaps she was ashamed to tell me the truth and maybe she was just embarrassed to tell me what really happened. No. It didn’t make sense, but there certainly were a lot of questions to be answered. I decided to take action. By the early to mid 2000s Google was a big thing. I had probably spent quite a few drunken very late night hours looking through web searches trying to find matches for name/location/family members.. something. At some point during this time I felt I had a somewhat credible lead. I found a name that matched the same first and last and had the same middle initial (although the middle name was uncertain). The timeline showed this individual was from MA, studied there, and also lived in FL and got married but the timeline seemed a bit off. There was enough information to be a coincidence, but not enough to be convincing. In the years following I had asked my mother perhaps one more time for details, they were the same and nothing new was mentioned, but I felt it got me nowhere so I left it. I figured that if I would not find out then, I would likely never find out. Fast forward now to August 2014. I have been married since February of this year so just over 6 months. We are thinking about having children within the upcoming year and now my wife, who is aware of my story, and I have other considerations as we do not know half of my medical history. I now realize that it’s no longer just me involved and I decide to poke around a bit. I’m looking for the previous hit to find out if it was an actual hit or if I was stretching it a bit. I stir up my mother for questions, and she is intent on maintaining same details and same middle name/initials which end up proving to be crucial in my search. It led me to a genealogy tree for a family. In this tree it mentions an individual with the same name but different middle name (starts with same letter). From MA, graduated from college in timeline that makes sense, and if this individual is the one, he’s married and has a child now that is 16/17.. well, that would be interesting, I think to myself. This guy’s parents are Irish and Italian. I start drawing all kinds of.. ‘this could be the one’.. scenarios. Thankfully now that it was 2014, there were more avenues for tracking people down. I decide to do some searches using the information from the genealogy (name, university, address) site just to find a picture of this guy and wouldn’t you know it, I get a match with a photo. Thanks, Linkedin! The picture is a headshot, not great quality, kind of blurred and far away, but as soon as my wife sees it her mouth drops. “That’s him.” she declared with full confidence. I kind of laughed as we had a few glasses of wine by that point and wasn’t sure what to think. I brushed it off for awhile as I still was not yet confident. Even if I was, how would I approach that conversation? Now, we can fast forward back to January of this year. Everything’s going well.. I’ve had a great start and am feeling very confident.. so you know what? I’m going to say to hell with it.. let’s go ahead and reach out to this guy and see if he’s my biological father. My wife was away for work for the weekend and I had a couple of courage beers and I decided to make the move. I turn the linkedin account that I had recently created into a free 30 day trial account so I can send messages to people I am not connected to. I think to myself, I only need one.. In my message I am going to send an email asking if he worked at this particular place my mother mentioned at the particular time. If so, we have a mutual friend in common. I also left him my personal email so he could write me. I contemplated sending the message but eventually I hit send, sat back, had a sip of my drink and waited. It was not more than a couple of hours later when I received an email in my inbox – C, I did work at _____ a long time ago. Who was the person we mutually know? Best regards, J Wow. I sat in a bit of disbelief. It was him. I had tracked down the right person. Although, I already was fairly confident prior to sending my initial message, but here it was in front of me. I dropped the bomb. According to the information I have, he was my father, I explained. I gave my mother’s account. Held nothing back and let it sit for a moment. I eventually hit send once again. Now it was all out there. Moment of truth.. would he reply that he had no idea what I was talking about? If so.. talk about awkward. I got another reply and quite quickly.. C, Wow, that’s a lot to absorb. Your Mother speaks the truth about the situation and I remember our time together and the phone call well; even to this day. I must leave for work, but will continue with an email tonight. J Boom. Just like that, I have confirmed my biological father is alive and well. In addition to that he went on to let me know about his marriage and children (two teenagers) and that I have uncles and cousins and that his parents/my grandparents were still alive. By the time I was picking up my wife from the airport the following morning, I was in a bit of shock. She had no idea what I had done so I just kind of sat there with a grin and waited for her to let me know how her day went (not well) and eventually she figured out something was up and asked. I told her I reached out. She asked what happened. I informed her about the message, then the email, then the follow up.. and by that time she was nearly in tears. Overnight, just with a few clicks of the keyboard and the mouse, I now had confirmation to the questions that had been lingering for all these years. I have to admit, it was pretty incredible and shocking at the same time. It was reassuring having validated my mother’s story as well as not having to wonder what happened. He and I exchanged photos and pictures and there was not a shred of doubt as both sides can see a striking resemblance. From dimples to smiles to mannerisms, I think it would be a great case study for nature vs. nurture! We continued to chat in email daily and eventually setup a first skype date which ended up being on an early morning for us as I live overseas in the Middle East region so I am 8 hours ahead. We chatted for 2.5 hours but I had a tough time hearing because of poor microphone quality. Otherwise, it was surreal. I was slowly introduced to the family – I had the uncles reach out to me via email to say hello. All are very awesome folks and were so nice in sharing their details. He later went on to tell his parents in person and the day after the news broke we arranged a skype meeting to say hello. I was in Munich at the time for the weekend so it was quite memorable saying hello to them. Eventually I was exchanging emails with uncles and grandparents and even the new siblings. Totally cool event. I now have a meeting planned for May following a visit to the States. I will be in Vegas for a weekend (surprise surprise) to meet up with buddies and for the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight (we talked about doing it years ago if they ever managed to arrange a fight) and immediately following that I will meet up with the new pops and later fly to NE to meet uncles and grandparents and cousins. I think I might end up documenting it in a TR style fashion simply because I would like to share the experience with my children later on down the line. There are quite a few items that have not been covered as it's been a blur, but basically we talk daily now and it is as though we have known each other for quite some time. Now that we are getting closer to the meet up date it is starting to come around a bit. In either event, I am not really sure what to make of this whole thing. My wife has gone through multiple stages of happiness, shock, anger, grief, etc. I explained to her that I am OK with it all because I had experienced that all long ago and now I am really just interested in the meet up and what happens next. I don't really know if it is a normal reaction but at the same time, it's not a normal situation I suppose. For those of you who read through this, I definitely appreciate it and would look forward to any questions or comments you may have. I am now about 3 weeks out so I am looking forward to the meet up!