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More Questions Than Ever

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Posted: 3/10/2010
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

The last 30 days have changed my life. My name is Todd, I live in Washington state, and until recently I had no idea who my birth father was. I'm not the type of person that frequently bemoans my circumstances, but I have to admit that growing up without meeting my biological father was challenging at times.

I am the founder and owner of a successful construction company in Washington and have more than 25 years experience in my field. Most importantly I have two beautiful children who are my pride and joy. I have always wondered who my father is and I started my search because I wanted to know his story. I know he has other children who are my half-siblings. I have always wondered what kind of man he is, whether or not I resemble him, and if he would be interested in meeting me and being a grandfather.

All I knew about him at the time was his name (James), that he was born in Pinebluff, Arkansas, he was a carpenter, and was married when I was born. He had two daughters and was last seen in the South Bay Area in California in the late '60s. My mother and step father have both passed away, so I was not able to get any more information, but before they died they made it clear that I had their blessing if I ever decided to search for my father.

In my construction company I manage a crew of professional craftsman and we take pride in creating spaces that turn a clients vision into reality. When I contacted Search Quest America and spoke with Andy, a search consultant, he listened to my story, asked intelligent questions, and gave me the courtesy of being honest about all that the search entails. We discussed the fact that when they find my father, he may be deceased, may be living and unwilling to reunite, may deny my legitimacy as his child, or I could discover something about him that would make me question my desire to know him. I assured him that I was prepared for any of these outcomes and my case was assigned to Julie Jones.

Within a months time, Julie found my birth father, but he passed away in October of 2003. His obituary revealed that my half-sisters' names are Valerie and Cynthia. With this information, Julie located current contact information and left messages with both of them.

Valerie was the first to call back. She told Julie that the family was not aware of my existence, but based on my birth date she assumed that I was conceived while her parents were separated. She was very open with Julie. Apparently, Valerie's mother lived in fear of her father. He was violent and abusive. When her mom was pregnant with Cynthia, James tried to poison her with cyanide. He was a wanted sex offender and had trouble with the law throughout his life. None of Valerie's memories of him are positive, but she told Julie she would be happy to talk with me on the phone and give me whatever information I wanted.

In the last 30 days I have learned that the difference between my profession and the private investigation field is that I work with materials that are easily manipulated and formed into something beautiful. When we combine lumber, hardware, tools, and years of training, the result is always smooth and polished and predictable. When Search Quest America found my birth father's family, I learned that people are inherently flawed and no matter how much you try to sand down and polish up the reality, it won't ever match the vision, or the ideal situation I had painted in my head. I am grateful that the case has been solved, but now I have more questions than ever before. I am still sorting through my own emotions and deciding whether I want to have a relationship with my birth father's family or not. In the mean time I just want to thank Andy, Julie, and everyone at SQA for solving my case, even though it hasn't turned out exactly as I planned. I will keep you all posted as I sort things out.

(Written by Mica Burton on Todd's behalf.)

Client ID# 265360
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