Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

September 29, 2013

Happy ending to unhappy journey

ASHLAND — The young woman stood nervously on the front porch of the strange house.

Her mind flashed back several weeks to the time her mother had casually commented as they drove through the neighborhood that her grandparents lived in that house on the corner.

How could that be? She already had two sets of grandparents.

More questions followed and she learned that the man she called dad was not her birth father, that she had been adopted by him when her mother remarried.

Why would her own father give her up? What kind of man would do that to a newborn?

She had to find answers. She had graduated from high school but was adrift, uncertain about college or a job.

Her mother had divorced her adopted father and married again. Mother and daughter had trouble communicating.

She hesitantly pushed the doorbell button.

A few moments later the door opened and a tall, middle-aged man smiled and asked her business.

“Are you my grandfather?, she said, trembling with a mixture of fear and anticipation. And she quickly spoke her first name.

The name hit him like a thunderbolt. He had not seen his oldest grandchild in 10 years.

He and his family had been asked to have no contact with her. Her birth father, his oldest son, had surrendered parental rights.

The decision to give her up before she was born had been prompted by harsh questions about paternity, fueled by the hurt and anger of a 19-year-old husband and wife divorcing during her second pregnancy. Their first child had died shortly after birth.

Instinctively, this large, loving grandfather reached out to embrace the 18-year-old child he had missed so desperately.

She hugged him back and the tears flowed freely as their hearts reconnected.

The grandmother arrived later and the scene was repeated. And then the next day her birth father arrived.

The reunion of daughter and birth father was tentative at first.

The father, now 18 years older and wiser, had regretted his decision but still had nagging doubts about paternity. The girl struggled with the bad things she had been told about this man.

They stood face to face, looking at each other closely. They began to notice similarities. Her face was shaped like his. She had his eyes. Their ears were alike.

Suddenly, two pairs of eyes filled with tears. Their hearts had answered the questions. They were father and daughter.

The hurt, loneliness and despair were gone from two lives. They were family again.

KEITH KAPPES is publisher of The Morehead News and Grayson Journal-Times.

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