By Chimore Mack
This is a teen-written article from our friends at Represent Magazine, a platform for and by young people in foster care. Represent is published by Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization that helps marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing. Some names have been changed in this young author's story.
One October day, when I was 10 years old and living in my grandmother’s home, my sister and I were playing Monopoly. There was a knock. I opened the door and saw a tall man with reddish brown hair dressed in black. My grandmother announced that it was my father. I felt awkward and shocked. I had no memory of him. I hadn’t seen him since I was a baby.
I had heard good as well as bad things about my father from my mother’s relatives. He had travelled to many different countries and was a teacher, so he was accomplished. But my aunts and uncles told me that he was abusive to my mother.
My mother had her parental rights terminated when I was 4 and my brother was 6, due to her mental illness. We went to live with her mother, along with my two younger siblings by a different father.
I still don’t know why my father showed up that day, and neither did my grandmother; it was a surprise to all of us. He told us about his travels. He told us he’d married another woman and they had three kids.
I was angry because I was in the picture first—why didn’t he take care of me and my brother? I wanted to ask him why I was in foster care, but I didn’t because my grandmother was strict and didn’t allow us to ask “grown folks’” questions. He stayed for two hours and then he said that he would call. He gave each of us a hug and a kiss before he left.
He never came back, never called, never sent a letter.
I cherished that visit for the next 14 years. His coming over was a good memory, even though I was mad at my father for missing my youth. He missed my high school prom and graduation and all my birthdays.
Over the years since then, I asked my grandmother if she knew where he was. She always said she didn’t know. I decided to do my own searching after I left to go to college in New Hampshire. I went online and put his name in Google but I got different people with his name. I was thinking of trying to find him on MySpace (a social networking website that was big back then), but to no avail. I then tried going online to sites that charged a lot of money to track people down. I stopped, though, because it was expensive and I thought it looked a little like a scam. Plus I felt a little funny digging into his business.