Staring into His Eyes for the First Time- Meeting my Father

Getting a bit more personal than I have in a while, some of you have asked that I share this experience and to be honest, I feel that as it pertains to my own level of personal confidence and value and worth, I need to share.

Where do I begin?

Meeting my father and his/my family

I LOOK Just. Like. Him.

This September, I turn 32. Thirty-Two years old and meeting my father for the first time. Growing up without my father and FINALLY meeting him raised feelings I never knew existed, showed me actions in my life that were both protective, questionable, and understandable…

Seven years ago, I decided to Google my father. Then I was 24, about to graduate from undergrad, dating a man I was in love with and was curious about where I came from. Unbeknownst to me, it was father’s day when I found him. This week was both the highest, lowest, and most self-revealing time that both excited and scared me.

You see, I grew up with a single mother and a grandmother who pushed independence, education, and self-preservation.  My mother wanted me to see the world, be able to stand on my own two feet with or without a man, teaching me to cook, clean, be a lady, eat at a $5 or $5000 table, and to have my education to lean on.

All I knew was how to be strong- or how to push aside my emotions and forge ahead. To keep moving forward regardless of circumstance. I longed for Love.

But growing up as a child, I longed for my father. Longed for the hugs from the man who I came from. Longed for those father daughter dances. Longed for the love and affection from the man I never known to be my father.

In that longing, I acted out. I buried my feelings. I over achieved. I sought out acceptance from others. I longed for love.

It was hard for me NOT to question myself with what’s wrong with me. What did I do wrong? Was I not good enough? Why am I being punished? Why doesn’t my father love me? I constantly questioned my existence. I never felt like I was good enough, so I had periods of my childhood where I rebelled and then others where I worked and hustled even harder to prove myself to whomever…

All of these thoughts that until a date was set, I never knew that were buried under the surface- all the while time formed a protective barrier always second guessing, questioning, and doubting a man’s affection…

Seven years I waited, emotionally conflicted.

Seven years since finding him, I also found my father’s family (or they found me rather). A few cities away this whole time. Seven years since finding him, he lived in Mississippi, now a PASTOR, with three children and a stepdaughter.

Where do I fit in? I asked myself.

These past seven years, I waited… exchanged phone calls and listened to promises of meeting in real life. I was conflicted, frustrated, excited, and spent. Was our meeting really going to happen? Would I have the chance to hug my father and stare into the eyes of the man who I was half of? Would I be accepted 100%? Was I ready for this emotionally? How would I feel? How would his family feel? How do I make room for this family and their love? Was I capable of making room?

As you can see, I had questions.

But my emotions are what surprised me the most.

Emotions that ran deep. Deeper than I ever knew. Emotions suppressed.

Then a date was set.

He was headed to California for my cousin’s wedding and wanted to make time for us to finally meet. Again, I was conflicted. Emotions surfaced. My nerves were shaken. Every call I had with him leading up to our meeting left me in tears and an emotional wreck.

Thank GOD for friends, Uncles, Stepfathers, and Brothers in Law.

As I drove to my aunt’s (his sister’s home) accompanied with my close friend, my nerves took over. I was afraid. I had no expectations- trying to protect myself and keep myself ready for the worst. This day, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. As I pulled up, my cousin (who if not for her, this would not have happened) was there with my father.

He was Tall.

He was a bit of a light bright.

He was handsome.

He had tears.

And…

I Looked. Just. Like. Him.

Meeting my father and his/my family

We stared. We hugged. There was silence. And the only thing I could find myself saying was that “I look just like you.”

I cannot even begin to put to words how therapeutic it was to look into the eyes of the man you come from, knowing WHERE you come from. See, I vaguely resembled my mother, but my father? Even as I write this, I have tears. Overwhelming, disbelief, and relief all fill my heart and mind…

There was NO denying this.

Meeting my father and his/my family

We talked. We spoke. I was both frank and open. I shared my feelings, opened up emotionally; my family surrounded me with love and acceptance.

I prayed for this. Even as I write this, I have tears in my eyes as this makes me so grateful and happy about this chapter, this little girl’s wish, and the new family who opened their arms to me.

Meeting my father and his/my family

Over the next few days, I met my great aunt (my grandmother’s sister), celebrated in my cousin’s wedding festivities, and spent quality time with my newly found sisters.

Meeting my father and his/my family

I AM BLESSED.

Meeting my father and his/my family

Interestingly enough, this could not have been better timed. You see, I am currently at a place where I am ready for a relationship. Ready for my own love and family… but I did not want the baggage of my emotions with and of my father to come to and with my relationships. Maybe this was why I busied myself in work… SMH.

I am BLESSED.

To have met my father, my sisters, my cousins, my aunt, and others and to celebrate in this momentous time in my family’s life- my cousin’s wedding, THIS was a blessing. My Aunt Shon was even rocking a Monif C Dress!

Meeting my father and his/my family

 

I think to myself how fortunate I am… to have the chance to find my father, come to terms with my emotions and inner turmoils, and to finally look him in the eyes- I am blessed. BEYOND.

This could have gone a gazillion different ways and I am grateful that I kept my heart open and teachable and reachable to allow my father and his family into my heart. I now feel, in the weirdest way complete…

One Chapter closed and a new one to be written… where will this new relationship and family fit in? I do not know. All I know is that I am so grateful for this chance to let love into a place where fear, doubt, and emotional scars once lived. Baby steps. Baby Steps. Baby Steps.

I am Open…

This transition will be work. Engaging my new half of my family, getting used to having two sides to interact with, remembering to call my aunt and cousins to say hi. This will take some time. This will be a welcomed change that I have to work on and with. THIS will be the new step into my future mending old wounds, creating new memories, and learning who I am and where I come from…

I AM OPEN

I wanted to share this as some have asked me to share this story, share my thoughts, share my concerns, and talk this out… for my own emotional growth and sanity… I hope my sharing helps those of you who are and have gone through this as well… in one way or the other…

Marie Denee
I am the owner of the Curvy Fashionista, sharing the latest trends and designers in plus size fashion, beauty, and accessories to keep you Curvy.Confident.Chic.! I am goofy, silly, playful, and a handful... but it is all in the name of fashion!
Marie Denee

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Comments

  1. DianeP says

    I STAND and APPLAUD you for sharing this. I just had a conversation with my bro in law since I, too, am at a transition period in my life. When you bring the hidden out, you feel vulnerable but at the same time you are speaking it out and allowing God to bless you and use the situation for good. Congratulations. One cant ever have enough love from family! Be blessed!!!

  2. Maria Fatica says

    You are a strong, beautiful woman! This story touched my heart! Thank you for sharing! You rock!

  3. NeicieinATL says

    Crying now Marie! You are indeed blessed! Although I grew up with a close bond to my father, I lost him to illness 6 years ago. Enjoy your blessings. You are never too old to be a ‘Daddy’s Girl’!

  4. Janae Holmes says

    Marie,
    You are an Amazing and Strong woman. Your story is powerful and needed for so many women. Our story is very similar, I’m an only child to my mom and grew up longing for my father as well. I connected with him at age 30 and I had so many questions and I too looked just like him. Within the first month of us meeting my father found out he had cancer and all of his other children are in other states and it was just me here to care for a man I barely knew. But I too opened my heart and asked God to guide me along this journey. My father is better but still dealing with some very serious healthy issues. So yes, love, enjoy your new found family, allow that baggage to drop off your shoulders with each step forward. Your heart is full with love and I can tell by your story. Use that love in every aspect of your life and watch all your dreams unfold! You are truly amazing!

  5. thirties girl says

    Stop it! You’re all just so gorgeous! Your father is one handsome guy, and I’m so glad you had a great experience meeting him and he’s who you wanted him to be. I’m also glad you shared this with your readers. We’re honored to read your story.

    I was adopted by a single mother when I was 3 months old. She told me from an early age that I was adopted and I never really had any questions about it or interest in finding my bio parents until I was much older, in my late 20s. I didn’t try finding my bio mom until I was in my early 30s. Since it was a closed adoption, I needed to get social services in the county where I was born to open my adoption file to give me my bio mom’s name. That meant I had to send a bunch of forms to Sacramento, CA’s capitol, so they could request social services to open my adoption file. Somehow, that never worked. I notarized the forms and mailed them off to Sacramento, but never heard back from anyone. When I called to find out what was happening, I got a voicemail system that was endlessly full and could never take any more messages. …So I gave up on the search for a few more years, until I was 39. At that point, I was finally making enough money that I could employ a private investigator who specialized in finding bio parents. I paid $900 for her services and within 2 months, she’d done what she said she could do. She found my bio mom. There was no info on my bio dad, since my bio mom hadn’t wanted him to know she was pregnant and didn’t put his name on any of the adoption forms.

    When the P.I. found my bio mom, she was living in upstate NY, her hometown, and essentially homeless. She was living at a YMCA women’s shelter, where she’d been for the past 2 years. As I got to know my bio mom, I realized the homelessness was her own doing. She’s an emotionally imbalanced person, letting her whims control her spending, and had essentially spent herself into the poorhouse. She was a retired telephone operator, so she hadn’t made beaucoup bucks in her career. But since phone operators are unionized, she had a pretty good retirement package…but had unfortunately made some bad investments with her retirement money, which also accounted for her homeless situation.

    So far, we haven’t met in person. I haven’t saved enough money to travel to NY, and my bio mom certainly doesn’t have any money. About a year after our first phone conversation, the government helped her find an apartment for which she was given assistance. She took a job as a personal shopper at an upscale grocery store that had just opened up in her town, but kept the job for only about 8 months before she quit, claiming back problems. I think she just really doesn’t want to work. She’s also been occasionally flaky in our communications, promising to call or send me a card for my b-day, but never following through.

    So on the one hand, it’s been great to talk to my bio mom and see pictures of her online. I look a lot like her, which is something I never got from my adoptive family. I don’t look like anyone there, so seeing pics of someone with whom you share facial features is pretty cool. …But getting to know my bio mom has been pretty disappointing, since she’s not who I hoped she’d be. I’m still trying to process that one, along with so many other disappointments from adults who were supposed to be parental or guidance figures in my life and turned out to be troubled people who really couldn’t do the job.

    Which is why it’s great your dad has his life together and he’s who you hoped he’d be. I hope your relationship with him continues to grow in all the ways you want and he gives you another level of family support.

    • says

      Sending you mounds of love and hugs in this darling… there is of course sooo much more to my story, but I hadnt the space or emotions to let loose… BUT, I thank you too for sharing… thank you for opening up and sharing. I pray that you find peace and heal from whatever pains and wounds you have…

      Thank you for being YOU

  6. afrobella says

    Marie! This may be my favorite post of yours. You brought tears to my eyes. This is so beautiful and special. You’re so brave to share it. I know you’ve inspired many. So much love for you and for this post!

    • says

      !!! Patrice! Thank you sooo much for your love and support in this. I cannot even tell you how therapeutic this has been for me… sharing. opening up, processing my emotions… Thank you for reading!!!!

  7. Chastity Garner says

    Crying… I’m so happy for you! I always wonder about the circumstances in which people never meet their fathers. It baffles and intrigues me at the same time. My father has always been in my home, but he and my sister (half) have a difficult relationship b/c he wasn’t there for her like he was for me and my siblings. I see her struggles with it and how it has affected her relationships. I wonder if I would have been the same under the same circumstances. I’m so happy that you have decided to heal. Now on to that boo thang!

  8. Sharelle D. Lowery says

    As a girl who may have lived with her father, but never had a relationship with him…I felt this so deeply. May God bless your relationship with your father and may God bless your future relationships!!…xoxo

  9. Nikeya N. Young says

    See…. this right here is just… #TEARS !! I am SOOO happy for your Marie :-)! God is good! I pray for continued peace & happiness for you and your family as you continue getting to know one another.

  10. Melissa Burton says

    Tears in my eyes too. I’m in awe of your bravery to share this with your readers. I can only imagine the mixed emotions that led up to this moment and I’m so glad it resolved itself to be so joyful. I remember when you posted the picture and I thought the same thing you did, “You look so much like him”.

    I’m so thrilled for you Marie. I always say that family is who you choose not just your blood and it looks like you now have chosen more wonderful people to become part of your family.

    Congratulations!

  11. La Krisha Lavender's Jungle says

    How courageous of you! I applaud you for taking the step to meet your father with the understanding that it was a chapter that needed to be completed to move forward happily with your own life and family….and YES, you do look like him! :-)

  12. Jennifer says

    Wow! Thanks for sharing. You said it, “You are Blessed” and it’s wonderful to know that you know it.

  13. Curvy CEO says

    That is beautiful! *wipes tear* And you DO look like him…like you-stole-his-face, look like him! *lol* (((hugs)))

  14. MsLadyQQT says

    Wiping away the tears) Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life, so many of us unfortunately have experienced the same or similar situations.  My father apologized to me seven years ago for not being in my life and it was as if all of the questions, insecurity, pain and anger were alleviated just a little.  I just needed to know that I was loved by my dad and honestly he needed to know he wasn’t hated by me.  We are still healing and learning about each other and happy to say that I definitely feel like a daddy’s girl.  HEALING…all is well with my soul.  My prayers and positive energy go out to you and your family.

  15. says

    Wow !!! reading this got me very emotional (tears). I am glad you found you father after all these years and that you were able to connect with him like he was always there. The fact that you and your sisters were able to embrace each other is even more powerful. I hope you enjoy every second with them.

  16. Michelle says

    How timely is this post- especially with Oprah finishing her Daddyless Daughters series. So emotional, so powerful…and such real life. Quite often, when we are writing/reading about things like fashion, its hard to forget that there are real people under all those fabulous clothes.

  17. thefatandskinny says

    This is so beautiful Marie! I am glad you had a pleasant experience. I hope you all can grow and build a fruitful, loving relationship in the future.

  18. Iam MizLiz says

    So honored to read your story.. thank you for sharing it.
    I as of yet have not had the conviction to meet my Paternal Father. There is too much negativity to my story and may never reach that decision to do so.
    Through you I live the fairy tale ending and for that I am thankful.
    Much love!

  19. Margaret says

    As someone whose career is spent working with kids who have “holes in their story” and an identity cobbled together from absences, losses, dreams and wishes, I have some idea about what you had to do to get here. I really think you are amazingly generous to put it out here like this. And I LOVE the fact that you are cautious, realistic, and paying really good attention to your inner world as you decide to move forward from here. You’re pretty awesome, really. Outside AND in.

  20. MissSuccess says

    I love you for sharing this! I hope to have a happy ending like this for myself one day. I know this will be a journey for you and I hope it is one that is full of love!

  21. devon says

    thank you so much for sharing this… i came across this post the night before i meet my birth father, internet searching for similar stories. it’s personal for you but know that it’s a life raft for some, those who are still nervous and in the same situation.
    thank you. i feel better.

  22. says

    I’m so relieved it was a positive experience for you. I remember you posting about possibly meeting your dad on Twitter, and I had wondered if you had met him and how it went. You really do look so much like him. :) I got to know my father when I was 18. Growing up, I knew who he was and had spent a lil time with him when I was a child, but I needed the chance to get to know him… and therefore, get to know more about me. Meeting our parents is a powerful step in understanding ourselves. I’m so glad you got this chance. Thank you for sharing this with us! All my best, Metsy

  23. tellmeiamnormal says

    I am almost 38 and have never met my biological father. I found out that my Dad wasn’t my biological father when I was in my early teens and I’m not sure if I was angry at his abandonment or just didn’t want to hurt my Dad’s feelings but I chose to just let it go and not try and contact him. Maybe I am missing out, maybe I am better off. I’m not really sure, I do know that many people don’t understand my position but I don’t think I’m alone.

    I am collecting stories about this and many other topics on my blog if anyone would like to share.
    Sheri

    http://blog.tellmeiamnormal.com/

    • lkausdfhgkjlsdhfjklgsd says

      The man who raised you is your father, end of story. Ask him to adopt you, if he hasn’t already done so.

    • jorge castillo says

      Its better to find out and to feel something than not feeling anything at all. You may get hurt if you do well you’ll move on like you did you rest of your life before you thought of getting to know him. He might be looking for you too who knows. If you live better off not knowing him than if i were you i would permantly forget and stop looking for stories.

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