lifestyle

Reader Story: "How I found my family online after 45 years."

Meekehleh Hayward.

Forty-five years ago I was born in Australia. My father, an Italian chef, and I were separated not long after I was born in 1969, by a deep family rift.

Despite the fact that my parents were already engaged before I was conceived, he reluctantly left — after being verbally and physically threatened — and returned to America, where he was an immigrant.

He tried very hard to get my mother to follow him, but she wouldn’t go and thereafter he was married and had another family in the United States. I was so excited to learn I had siblings.

My twin brothers were born in 1972 and our sister arrived eight years later. I was not aware of them until I found my father when I was 20.

I journeyed to NYC in 1989 to meet them all, but unfortunately things didn’t work out (as they often don’t when other people get involved.) After only four days I left, returning to Australia with a broken heart.

Many years later I would speak to one of the twins and then lose contact. Then another large timeframe would elapse before I spoke to the other one ever so briefly. Then nothing! We just lost touch completely.

My last contact for quite some time with one of the twins was 15 years ago. Unfortunately, he lost my details and I figured I would never hear from them again. So with a heavy heart I closed that chapter on my life.

In all that time, the youngest twin searched for me online. He was exhausting all avenues. Until finally in December of 2012, he located me via LinkedIn. It would be another two weeks before I would find it on an old email address I no longer used and it was a miracle I saw it at all. Imagine my surprise!

We spoke on the phone within a couple of days, then began skyping each other. Within two months, he was on Australian soil with me for several months. However, just as he was arriving I was losing my home at the hands of my ex-partner. Although we bounced from place to place, staying with friends and for a time in a little apartment, things were very tight financially and very tough; but it was an amazing experience to have my little brother beside me for some quality time after 45 long and lonely years growing up as an only child. I was thrilled to have his company – a sibling at long last!

We had a very tumultuous time together in Australia, but we stuck together. Eventually in November we arrived in NYC with my youngest child, who is three. I am the very proud mother of ten precious children, eight boys and two girls aged from three to 25. Plus I am the grandmother of one little girl.

“Separated for 45 years, and the cruel twist of fate was that I was finally in NYC but my father was not.”

Unfortunately I had to return to Australia and I didn’t manage to see my father even once during my 3 month stay.

Separated for 45 years — and the cruel twist of fate was that I was finally in NYC but he was not.

He was still in Italy, unable to afford to come home. Fate had intervened once again and still we were kept apart, even though we had reconnected on Skype and Facebook and I was able to tell him that I love him and keep check on his health status.

I am so sad that this was the result. I just wanted to see and be with my father before too much more time passed, robbing me of his presence altogether. He has had cancer and I feared the worst, as you do when someone has been unwell. All too often you hear stories of someone searching for a parent, all too late, because they have passed away.

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I didn’t want this to be the way our story ended.

I had to return to Australia in February, without a cent in my pocket and feeling very downtrodden at not having connected with Dad. Leaving my little brother behind was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I also wasn’t entirely sure where I was going to live.

But I was blessed to have a roof over my head, and through another small miracle (a small loan came through) that enabled me to return to NYC just ten days after I had left. Fortunately, Dad had also returned and although he would be ‘home’ for just a very short time, I knew I had to try and make something good happen.

This next chapter is now about making some money to be able to bring him back permanently, so that we can spend more time together to get to know each other. I feel that, after 45 years apart, enough time has elapsed and it’s our time to be together now.

This journey is now set to become a book! I have already written two others (chicklit genre), with a third in the series on the way. I am here in NYC once again, working towards publishing my books in order to fund this new chapter of our lives. I want to bring my dad ‘home’ (he is struggling at 70 with his own financial obstacles & burdens which he tried to keep from me) and help him open a restaurant once again. That is his heart’s desire. I want to give him this gift and make this dream possible.

She’s fighting to put her family back together.

I am trying to make my own efforts towards raising the funds but I fear it’s going to take too much time – time that I may not have. I have to believe it’s all going to be okay. I still believe in miracles! But I am also doing my best to make this happen under my own steam. I have given my first two books to a big publishing house here in NYC and I am hoping something will come of that.

If ever there was a reason to realise my dream of becoming a published author it is now! I am trying to finance this journey myself but it is proving a long and arduous road with many twists and turns. I just want to be with the family that was stolen from me nearly a half of a century ago. I want my children to get to know their grandfather and to become immersed in the Italian heritage I have never been able to give them.

I want to have the family that I never had.

Last year was a horrible year – losing my home and some of my family members due to the situation that evolved. We have suffered and struggled and done the hard yards and we are at the point where we just need something to go right. We all need a better outcome and happy ending to this story.

I am working very hard to make this dream become a reality, to help us have a happy ending to this story that spans more than 45 years; and to be able to bring some happiness to the lives of those I love most – those who truly deserve it.

Here’s to the lovers, the believers, the vagabonds and the dreamers and to all of those who dared to dream the biggest dreams then made them become real.

You can donate to the campaign here: http://www.gofundme.com/reconnectingthedots