Day 6 SOLSC #sol17 (This is a continuation of my story from yesterday – Love Wins)
“I am, without a doubt, your biological father.” – The first line of the message that changed my husband’s life for the better. I don’t even remember what Brad said as he showed me his phone. All I remember is the look on his face, the joy and shock, the tears rolling down his cheeks. His hand was so shaky as he turned the phone for me to see the message. I don’t even remember what the rest of the message said. That first line stuck with me. It was the answer to all of our prayers – erasing the anguish he felt for those long 11 days. The response was just the beginning…
Remember I said Facebook was a good thing? Well it can only truly be a good thing when you have good internet connection. You see, once Brad’s dad responded, we learned of the reason it took so long. While we were waiting for a response, he hadn’t even received a message yet. He was in a place where internet connectivity was sketchy. Good connectivity on some days, and others – no connectivity at all. It was 2011 – How can he have no internet connection? But, I guess internet connectivity can be unpredictable when you’re living in a tent, in a war zone, halfway across the world. While Brad’s dad is from South Carolina, at the time we found him, he was working/living at Camp Bastion/Camp Leatherneck, in Afghanistan, as a civilian contractor. He was spending his days repairing mine resistant vehicles, for the company Force Protection Inc.
As if 28 years wasn’t long enough, we had to now wait 3 months to see him. We passed the time with chats Facebook and Yahoo Messenger. We even were able to voice chat a few times. The first time they heard each other’s voices brought tears to my eyes. “Hey son.” “Hi Dad.” (silence and then sniffles) “I can’t believe I’m hearing your voice.” (more crying) “I can’t believe it either.” They kept in contact daily in some way. They were getting to know each other, building a relationship, but ironically it seemed like they already had one.
Brad doesn’t really have memories of his dad, but Andy has a mind filled with memories of Brad until the age of 4. When we found out that he’d be home in SC in August, that’s when we made our trip. I could easily write a whole post on the 8 amazing days we spent reconnecting, and maybe one day I will. But for now, I just picked a few pictures to share so you get the gist.
I was in charge of recording their moment – their reunion. I missed the first hug because I was crying like a baby, but the next picture I got was this…
Our daughter, Emma, went right to her PawPaw as if she had known him forever. She had heard his voice and seen pictures of him, but this was the first time meeting him. They had a very special bond already.
The week we spent in South Carolina is one that we will never forget. It was the beginning to our happily ever after. It was living proof that things happen that we can’t change, but prayers do get answered, dreams to come true, love never dies, and the future is ours to enjoy. Our lives have changed for the best. Brad always felt like some part of him was missing – he doesn’t feel that way anymore. Emma now has a loving grandfather – something I thought would only happen in our dreams. And for me, well Andy has helped heal a piece of my broken heart from the loss of my dad. No one can replace my dad, but having a loving father-in-law who’s personality is kind of similar to my own dad’s, is a close second. We’ve all been blessed and continue to be. This is the simplified story of our Reunion – our new beginning. We just keep on adding new chapters as we go. Thankfully, Andy is back home in South Carolina – no more war zones.