Three for the Price of One

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Three for the Price of One

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Posted: 8/5/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

My name is Jon and I was recently reunited with my father, Alan Michael Hale. I also discovered that I have 2 half-brothers and we are all in the process of getting to know one another.

When I was growing up and used to ask about my father, my mom and aunts used to make jokes and tell me my dad was the "Skipper" on the TV show Gilligan's Island. When I was really young, I believed them. In fact, I used to tell myself that my dad was too busy on the Island to come visit me. Then as I got older I became bitter and felt unwanted. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized my mom had never been to Hollywood, and asked the question, "Who is my father, really?"

That's when I learned that although my father's name is Alan Hale, like the actor, they are not one and the same man. My mother met Alan or "Mike" in March of 1969 in a naval hospital in Chicago. He was a patient and had been pinned beneath a truck on duty in South America. He was recuperating and my mother helped relieve his boredom by visiting with him for a while.

Later, a mutual friend introduced them and they hit it off right away. They were both working at Railway Express, and their romance quickly developed. They moved in together in May of 1969 in a little house off of Clark Street, south of Train, North of the hospital, in the Rogers' Park area. They were happy together through January of 1970. My dad had odd jobs working as a cook and also an entertainer at a restaurant.

Then, in June or July of 1969, he and a friend were arrested in her car for speeding or driving under the influence, and the police wouldn't let them leave until my mom went to the station in downtown Chicago and identified them. He bounced around to different jobs, and when she left him a few months later he was working in a diner in the Schiller Park area. She also remembers that he had family members in Florida, and used to vacation there occasionally.

My primary concern in searching for my father is to obtain medical information. I am adult now with my own family. I won't deny that I badly needed my father's influence when I was a teenager and in my early twenties, but now I have my own family to think about and I realize how important medical history can be. If he is open to having a relationship with me or his grandchildren, we will explore that road when we come to it. At least once, I want to shake his hand and I want him to be proud of the man I have become.

Thanks to SQA and Julie Jones, I have now been reunited with my father and a few half brothers as well. First, Julie tracked down my father's siblings. His sister, Karen, died in 1998. Next, he found out that my father had a son, Dorian, and may have married his mother in 1969. When Julie contacted Dorian, he said he had not seen his father since 1971 in Chicago. He didn't even remember him, but we had a good conversation on the phone and plan to meet soon. Dorian did mention an important clue, however. He remembered that our father's mother was living in Pensacola, Florida.

Next, Julie found another half-brother, Michael Jr. Like Dorian, he said our dad took off when he was 3 and hadn't been back since. He talked to his mom and then called Julie back with more information. He verified that Mike had been in Chicago at the time, and had been working as a short order cook.

Then, Julie located a man by the name of Michael Lee Hale, who verified that he was in Chicago at the right times, and had worked as a short order cook. He claimed he didn't remember my mother's name, however. He didn't have "Alan" in his name, but all the facts indicated that this was my father. Julie emailed him 3 pictures of my mother. One was of her with me as a baby. One was of my dad, Mike Hale, as she knew him, and the third was one of me today. She explained that my last name is different because I was adopted by my step-father, and that I live in Washington. From there, it was a waiting game. We were confident that we had the right man, it was just a matter of him acknowledging me as his son.

Eventually, Mike Hale, Sr. called Julie back and left a message. He said he got the pictures, but didn't remember my mom, and said the picture that was supposedly of him was too fuzzy for him to say for sure. Next, Julie contacted both of my half brothers and asked them to scan and email pictures of their father. At this point it was just a technicality, because Mike Hale's social security number matched the one my mom had on file from all those years ago.

My mom asked to listen to the voicemail Mike left, and when she heard his voice she confirmed that it is him. In the message, he wanted to know "exactly what she wanted from him." My mom volunteered to call him directly to reassure him that she isn't looking for back child support or anything like that, and that I am only interested in meeting him and getting medical info. When the photos came in from Dorian and Michael, my mom recognized my dad immediately, so we are one hundred percent positive that this is the right man, whether he admits it or not.

I didn't want to come on too strong, so rather than call my dad or show up on his doorstep, I opted to email him instead. I gave him my contact information and explained again that I don't want anything from him except medical information and hopefully the chance to meet him. If he doesn't want a long-term relationship I understand, but I also told him I'm not angry with him for his absence. It's all water under the bridge.

About a week later, he called me for the first time and we had a good long conversation. We have a few things in common and it seems he has lived a pretty exciting life, moving around a lot and working different jobs as a free spirit. The best part of this search is discovering that I have 2 brothers, who have been very open to getting to know each other and me, so that's good. All in all, I'm grateful that my wife encouraged me to search for my dad, and I feel like I can move forward and be the father to my kids that I never had growing up. I take this responsibility seriously and I'll do my best to make sure I am always in my kids' lives, no matter what.

Written by Mica Burton on Jon's behalf.

(Client ID# 247224)
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