Just reading the title blows my mind.
I. FOUND. MY. BIOLOGICAL. DAD.
My entire life, I never knew who he was. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t know where he lived. What he looked like. What he sounded like. If he was athletic. If he was kind. I didn’t know my biological dad. And I was okay with that. I had accepted that it would take a miracle for our paths to cross, and that it most likely wouldn’t happen. And for nearly 32 years…it didn’t.
About 4 years ago, I took the Ancestry DNA test to simply learn about my ethnicity. My mom was adopted, and I didn’t know who my dad was, so my biological tree was very short and without much detail. Well the results were awesome, I found out that I’m 48% British and then a mixture of European with heaps of 4th & 5th biological cousins. That was that, and I was happy with it.
Fast forward to 3 months ago. I felt like I should go on my Ancestry DNA and see if there was anything new, and to my surprise, there was. There was a name. Emily Woodhouse, Relation: Close family- 1st Cousin. I was shaken and my stomach dropped. I looked up the meaning of the relation, it meant that we were either 1st cousins or HALF SIBLINGS. So I messaged her and explained my situation:
My name is Ivy and it looks like we’re 1st cousins. I’ve been searching for my biological father and you must be from his side as you don’t have any matches to people on here from my mom’s side. Do you happen to have any uncles? Possibly one that would’ve been in California in 1986 or 87?
Thanks so much!
I wasn’t sure if she would even reply and I checked my inbox often for the next day with a prayer in my heart. Finally, she responded with some information and a helpful hand. She only had one uncle from her dad’s side and none from her mom’s. Her dad and uncle had grown up in Connecticut and her uncle still lived there. Her dad on the other hand, moved to San Bernardino, California right after high school for school and military. My mom grew up in a town less than an hour away from San Bernardino. So after some logical thinking, I figured that it was more likely that her dad was also my dad and that she was actually my half-sister.
Well, of course I stalked the heck out of this guy. Growing up, I’d always been so terrified of finding out the worst…that he was an axe murderer, or in prison, or that he was just an awful person. And then I thought, well what if he doesn’t want this. What if he doesn’t want me. Maybe I’m about to ruin his life. But after a lot of “research” I realized that he seemed pretty decent and dare I say….normal. And throughout my stalking, I kept telling my husband, “I have his nose, THAT’S MY NOSE.” So, after about a hundred drafts & with heaps and heaps of courage…I decided to message this guy via Facebook Messenger:
My name is Ivy, I hope this doesn’t freak you out but I was matched with your daughter Emily on ancestry DNA as an immediate relative and she doesn’t match anyone else from my mom’s side. I don’t know my biological father but we must match from his side. Did you ever know a Toni Sessions that lived up the mountains in Running Springs near Lake Arrowhead? I’m not really sure how else to ask, but could you possibly be my biological father? If you’re uncomfortable with this, that’s okay and don’t worry about responding. Anyways,
And then I waited..not so patiently…because I then messaged him on Instagram as well to make sure he’d see it.
To my surprise, it only took a few hours to get a response. He said that he didn’t even know I existed, and he didn’t remember ever knowing or meeting my mom, but that he was curious about how and why I matched with his daughter Emily. From there, it blossomed effortlessly. (With his sweet wife’s support which was important to me.) We chatted and learned more about each other. This was something so new for me. He was interested in me and my life. He wanted to know me, what things I liked, wanted to know about my husband, my kids. He wanted to know it all. And he wanted to meet! After a few days, he agreed that all the facts lined up far too perfectly and that he would have the Ancestry DNA test done as well to confirm what we believed!
While we waited the few weeks for the results, we continued to communicate. I remember the first time I called him I was terrified. But he was so easy to talk to…kind of like he was my dad or something…haha. Our humor was similar, we both were athletes and loved being active. We agreed that I had his nose, his eye shape, and his ears! My entire life I believed that I was the spitting image of my mom…but after seeing photos of him…nope! I was half my dad! This was a miracle and I was ready for the results to confirm it all.
About a week or so before the results were supposed to be ready, I remember thinking, “ah, I’ll just check to see if maybe they got the results in sooner than expected..let’s just see.” I opened the website, and there staring right back at me was his picture and name. Craig Woodhouse, Relation: Parent/Child. There was MY miracle. There was my biological dad. I immediately cried and called out for my husband Ara. Ever since Ara met me, he wanted to find my dad for me. And here I was crying in his arms, because I’d finally found him.
If you’re thinking that’s the end..well you’re wrong. Not long after getting the Ancestry DNA results back, Ara surprised me. He came home from work and told me we were going on a much deserved date night without our babies and that my cousin Morgan was going to babysit, she was our go-to. I happily accepted this and got ready for our date because it had been a while since we’d gone out baby-free. Eventually there was a knock on the door, so I let Kana open it to greet Morgan and hid behind the door. Kana kind of just stood there and I thought “why isn’t he running to her?” so I peaked around the door.. there stood my dad holding a pink teddy bear, his wife, and their youngest daughter Bella. I glanced back at Ara thinking HOLY CRAP how did you keep this a secret and then gave my dad a huge hug as I cried. Ever since I was a kid I always tried to imagine what it would be like meeting my dad, and in that moment, I had my answer. It felt like a piece of me was finally found, and he was AWESOME.
It brings me to tears and to my knees as I remember all of this and write it. For almost 32 years, I didn’t know my biological dad. And here I am today, we’ve visited each other three times in three short months, been on our first hike together, had our first dinner together, shared our first laugh together, shared our first cry together and had our first hug. I’m just so overwhelmed with gratitude. For Craig, my dad and his willingness to be open to such a crazy situation of having a daughter he never knew about along with a son-in-law and two grand-babies. For Ara being my encourager & rock through it all. And for my Heavenly Father and his plan for me. It was all in His timing.