Making up for lost time
Patrick’s Facebook page. He was dressed casually and he got up and hugged me for a long time. Then we both stared at each other, not quite knowing what to say.
“Wow, wow, wow,’’ he repeated about 25 times. “Give me a minute, I’m lost for words and that’s not normal for me,’’ he said. I just grinned, happy to meet him.
“That’s OK,’’ I said shyly. I didn’t know what else to say.
Over breakfast he explained why he couldn’t take care of me when I was born. “I’m so sorry, my 20s were a train wreck because of drink,’’ he said.
He had been an alcoholic when he’d had an affair with my birth mother and never tried to contact me or speak to her after I was born.
“I am a different man now,’’ he said. He told me things changed in 2004 when he got sober and found a new meaning in life through his faith. He’d been working as a pastor for the past six years.
When we met it was like everything made sense – seeing the faces of my biological mother and father helped me understand who I was and where I came from.
He had been 23 when he started seeing my biological mother, and already had five children.
Dad and I talked for a long time, going over our life histories. He now had four more children, who were all living in the Phoenix area.
“I am sorry I have to go now – I have a shift at the Mission to go to,’’ he said after we’d finished our breakfast. “Which mission?’’ I asked. “The Phoenix Rescue mission,’’ he replied.
“On Buckeye?’’ I asked, somehow not believing it could be the same place I worked. “Yes.’’ “That’s where I volunteer!’’ As we talked we realised we would have been there at the same The next evening there was a graduation at the centre for some of the guys who had been through rehab. Dad and I went together with his wife, Janet.
It was so much fun walking around, seeing our friends who knew us both and explaining we were actually father and daughter.
Later that week I went over to my dad’s for dinner and met seven of my new brothers and sisters – the remaining two were travelling. The youngest was Alexis, 16, who everyone called Lexi.
“Oh my gosh, you look just like Lexi,’’ everyone said when they met me. “You even talk like her!’’
I now had four new sisters, and coincidentally our names all begin with an A – Amy, Ashley, Autumn, Alexis and Amber.
It was amazing meeting them, and I just wanted to get to know them all better.
I didn’t feel sad that they hadn’t been in my life as I grew up. Now that I knew them, it was as if I had always known them.
Finding my dad could not have come at a better time. Being a single mum and trying to work was not easy.
We got on so well that I moved in with my dad and Janet for a short while with the kids, just so we could catch up on all the lost time. I wanted an opportunity to bond with my dad and his family.
My parents have been so supportive, but it is amazing to know my extended family, and see my brothers and sisters, who all look like me.
Now we have found each other I feel like my life is complete. I don’t feel like an only child any more – I have more siblings than I could have ever imagined.
On October 30 this year, I married again, to Travis Flower, 27, who I met at the centre.
I have a lot to thank the centre for. It drew me to my Dad, and was where I met my husband. It pays in more ways than one to give something back.
● Amy Roberson, 23, lives in Arizona