Tuesday, June 17, 2014
For many years I never had a reason to celebrate Father's Day... yes obviously I have a father, but truth is, I had no idea who he was.
The first person I ever knew as a father, was Donald Cecil Hancock. I've always called him my step-father, but he never adopted me. In fact it wasn't until I was about 14 or so that I came to find he wasn't my father at all.
I assume some years ago when I was registered for kindergarten, you likely never had to show a birth certificate (this would have been about 44yrs ago, give or take). So I was registered in school as Kim Hancock. I went thru life with that name. But at about 14 or so, I was nosing around and found my birth certificate.
Imagine my shock when the name on it was Kimberly Rae Hampton! I knew it had to be MY birth certificate, it was my mom's info, my date of birth, but the man listed as father, John Ray Hampton, this wasn't anyone I knew.
At this point I was told the 'truth' (not really) that this person was my father. Don was indeed the father to my younger sibling (also named Don), but he wasn't my father. I must stop and say that this man was a gem in my younger life, he never ONCE treated me as anything but his daughter. For the short time he was in our lives (maybe 5 yrs) I was the princess. He spoiled me, took me everywhere, showed me off. He will always be a father to me in my heart and I look forward to the day I get to see him again in heaven.
Somewhere around 16-18 yrs of age... I recall my grandmother telling me that Hampton wasn't really my father either, rather someone my mother married to give me a last name. I guess almost 49yrs ago it was a bit more taboo to have a child out of wedlock. I confronted my mother with this and of course for many years she denied this "oh that's just your grandmother telling you stories"
So from my young teen years until the ripe ole age of 47 (almost 2yrs ago) I've never known who my real, biological father is. Then one day I made a seemingly innocent status post on facebook that said "I don't know who my biological father is, but I must have his genes, because no one believes me when I say I'm 47" - this post was on my 47th birthday.
From this a gal I'd been FB friends with, but had never met in person, sent me a private message that she could help me find my father. I told her it was highly unlikely as I didn't even know who he really was. After telling her the story, she said "well lets find John Hampton, maybe he knows something"
I began to ping my mom with numerous questions. I wanted to know more about Hampton, last known location, siblings, parents, graduation date, birthday, etc. she responded with a simple text of Paul Rividge. I was totally caught off guard, sitting at my desk at work, but knew, I knew exactly that after so many years of lies and stories to cover the truth, she was finally telling the truth. See way back in my teen years when grandma told the REAL truth, she recalled a man named Paul, but that's about all she remembered.
There is lots more to the story but needless to say, this gal in Iowa I'd never met, took this information and ran with it. She was adamant that my mom had the spelling wrong. And after questioning mom for more info, we came to realize he'd played in a band when he was 18ish. That was a key piece of information as my friend started searching for garage bands, Indiana, 1960's. And this is how she found him, and she was correct my mom had spelled his last name wrong.
According to my mom, she said last she heard he was into drugs and alcohol and had died of an overdose. Looking back now I think this was just a ploy that she'd hoped would make me not look for him, if I thought he was dead. WRONG!
Well we found him (or I should say my friend found him), and we (he and I) talked on the phone for the first time in September 2012. We met for the first time Thanksgiving Week 2012.
I've always felt like there was a part of me I knew nothing about, a biological void. But now that void has been filled. I wish he was living near us (he is in Southern IL), but its been wonderful getting to know him (we talk on the phone almost daily), he has been here to visit and we've gone there to visit. But one of the best parts was having him here for my wedding in Sept2013.
I admit I've been blessed to have had some wonderful father figures in my life, but it has truly been a blessing finding my biological father - and finally being able to call someone on Father's Day and wish him the best.
Posted by Kimberly Rae