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Even though I was a young girl, I always had a feeling that I knew more about my situation than what I was being told. I had a tough life growing up and as a result, I was unhappy growing up. I was an empath, and it gave me the ability to be able to feel things, such as telling the intentions of other people, and depending on the type of person or situation I was in, I would absorb either negative or positive energy. For example, if I was around a positive person, my face would light up if I was talking to them. However, if I was around someone negative, I would have no interest in talking to them and I would not show any emotion. I was always nice to the people around me, no matter how they would react.

I was very shy in my childhood. I have autism, which can be a common symptom because of the communication issues that come with the diagnosis. When I was in school, I went to regular classrooms like the other kids did, but due to my disabilities, I occasionally went to a resource room, which helped me with anything I needed help with. I was diagnosed in 2005, and my second-grade teacher noticed symptoms. I would cry and would get upset when the kids in my class would try to touch me because I did not like being touched, and I would get frustrated easily. I went to a doctor at Riley Hospital when they first suspected I had autism. The doctor who was giving me a diagnosis had been told that both of my biological parents had been deceased, but when I was only a baby, my father had only seen me one time, and all my life I had been told that my stepfather was my biological father.

I knew that when I was being told this, that something was not right. It just did not line up, I felt. Why was I told this, did the family I lived with know something that I didn’t? Were they trying to hide something to “protect” me? I did not know, but I had that feeling in my gut that something was just not what it seemed. Maybe they did not trust me, who knows?

Growing up, I lived with my younger brother and sister’s grandmother and step-grandfather. My siblings lived with them because their father had died when they were only babies. They did not get to know him, unfortunately. I would always ask their grandmother about my biological dad, but she said that she could not tell me any information, but I knew better. She explained to me how my father was at Goodwill in Anderson when he saw me. I was born in Anderson, and it is where I live to this day.

I did not understand why I did not have my dad in my life when I was growing up. I had people try to brainwash me against him and they would tell me that he made no other effort to see me since then, but it came from people who knew nothing at all about the situation, so I never not to listen to any of it. What good is it going to do trying to explain something to me that was only my business and no one else’s? It was very frustrating to deal with. I was starting to get a bad feeling that people only wanted to talk to me because they wanted to find out about my personal life, but I was not about to let that happen, being the introverted type and not being able to trust many people. I understand if someone knew if there was something wrong because I did not say much, but at that moment, it just hurt too much for me to make mention of.

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I had always been looking online to see if I could find any information on my father. Besides his name, I did not know much. I found his Facebook profile one day, so I sent a friend request to him. One time, I was on there and I was looking through his posts. One caught my eye. He was talking about how he missed his son Chris and for him to call him if he saw the post.

As I was looking at my dad’s friends list, I saw that he had three of them whose names were Chris. I sent a message to one of them, and I told him who my dad was soon after, they sent me a message telling me who their mother and father were, and I was ecstatic when he told me his father’s name, which was my father too and from that day, I found out that I had an older brother. I messaged him back and I said yes, that the guy was my father too, I said he was glad that I had contacted him and told me that my dad had been trying to look for me for years.

As we chatted for a bit, he asked me how old I was and I told him that I was eighteen at the time. I saw on his profile that he was fourteen years older than me. I asked him where our dad lived and he gave me his address and phone number so that I could contact him. Later on, I called my dad on the phone and said hi to him and we talked. He asked me if I was still in school and I told him I had graduated early on that year and I told me how my brother called him after I got hold of my brother on Facebook. My older brother went to our dad’s house after we set up a time and date so I could meet them, it was such a wonderful experience.

A month later, I got to meet my older brother’s mother. She told me that when I was only a baby, my mother had said that she wanted me all to herself, and that is how I was kept from my dad. My mother passed away in 2006. I was glad that I was finally being told the truth about what happened. In 2018, my dad passed away in his sleep. I was devastated.

My Grandpa Dennis had passed away two months earlier in his sleep, two months before my dad and on the same date, so they died two months apart. I also got to meet my Grandpa Dennis the same week I met my dad. It was not fair to me for only having been able to not have my dad around all my life, I am so thankful to have met him. Unfortunately, I know that other people in the world are going through or have been through similar struggles, but I hope that they can find closure, we may never understand why people hurt us or do the things they do. On December 30, 2019, I finally forgave my mother for what she had done. It changed my life and I got to share my experience with others, it was heartbreaking but others found it helpful. 

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