Last year I found out I had a daughter that I never knew existed. Kim was placed for adoption at birth, and was using DNA testing to find her biological family. When I first found out that one of the brothers in my family (there are six brothers) possibly had a child, I didn’t think it could be me because I didn’t match the information about the father listed in her adoption records. It wasn’t until I saw a picture of her and her mother that I realized I was the person she was looking for. My oldest son took a DNA test which confirmed he and Kim are siblings. I was shocked and just said, “Whoa!” I mean, what else do you say? I couldn’t wrap my mind around having a 32 year-old daughter out there that I never knew about. I saw some of her baby pictures and thought she looked like my oldest son did when he was a baby. In her older pictures, I thought she looked like me.
My brother, Dave, and his wife, Charlene, had been working with Kim to figure out which brother was her father. After results came in proving I was her father, Dave texted me and asked if I would be willing to talk to Kim on the phone. I was nervous to talk to her because I didn’t know what to say, but I also didn’t have anything to hide. I couldn’t deny anything even if I had wanted too anyway! Kim and I spoke for the first time, and it was an awkward phone call because I was still in shock that I had a daughter out there but I was happy she found me.
My two adult sons were shocked to find out they had an older sister, and just kept asking me how I was going to tell their mom, my wife, that I had a daughter out there. Luckily, my wife took the news well since I dated Kim’s mother a few months before I met my wife. I then told my 13 year-old daughter about Kim, and she was excited about having a sister until she found out Kim was so much older because she wanted someone her own age to play with.
Kim was coming to New Jersey for Thanksgiving to meet the other side of her biological family about two weeks after we got the DNA results, and Dave and Charlene arranged a party for her to meet our entire family while she was there. The day of the party, I was a little nervous to meet Kim. Okay, I was more than a little nervous because I didn’t know what to say or how to react. I was worried that Kim wouldn’t like me or I would say something wrong. Maybe she would think I was a little different or maybe I wouldn’t like her. It was just a weird situation meeting this adult who is your daughter that you never even knew existed until a short time before meeting. I think it was probably easier for me meeting Kim because almost my entire family was there but Kim had come alone. I thought she was a little crazy for flying out from Texas alone to meet these new people she knew very little about, but I was still glad to meet her.
Our first meeting is a bit of a blur, but I remember my nerves settling down once I had a chance to sit down and take it all in. My wife and kids sat at a table with Kim and talked for a while. I was still worried about saying something wrong, and I didn’t know how she would respond if I started asking her a bunch of questions so I didn’t say too much at first. I didn’t want to put any pressure on her to answer questions, and just figured she would open up and ask any questions she had when she was ready. After a while, Kim left our table to talk with other family members.
I was happy that Kim was excited to be meeting her family. She certainly wasn’t bashful as she went around the room talking to everyone. She seemed like she was jumping into the conversation and fitting in well with my family. Everyone was welcoming, and I was so glad no one got upset or got into a fight! Seeing her smiling and happy made me feel happy and relieved. I couldn’t force her to sit with us all day, but it would have been nice to talk with her for a longer time. I was wondering if she might be holding a grudge against me for not knowing about her or for not keeping her.
Since that meeting, Kim and I have kept in touch with phone calls, messaging, and video chats. We have slowly gotten to know each other over the last year although we have only met in person once. Sometimes I must remind myself that I have two daughters. It has taken me a while to get past the shock of having a daughter, but my family and friends have been supportive.
I dated Kim’s mother, Michele, for about a month before she stopped coming around and returning my calls. She never once mentioned she was or could be pregnant. When Kim found me, she told me she had learned that Michele had passed away. I was sad for Kim, but also angry because I couldn’t call up Michele and ask her why she never told me I had a child. I was pissed that Michele never gave me a chance to keep the baby or have a say in what happened to her. Things would have been different if I had known that she was pregnant. I missed out on being a part of Kim’s life for 32 years, but I’m so happy she found me and I have a chance to be a part of her life from now on.
Danny and Kim