Two brothers who have spent years looking for their estranged father finally found him earlier this year -- and learned that he'd been looking for them, too.
David and Paul Shannon of Liverpool, England, last saw their father, David Rees, 30 years ago. According to the Mirror, the boys were aged 5 and 3 respectively when their parents separated. The brothers resided in England with their mother while Rees chose to remain in South Africa where he had relocated to find work. Both parents remarried, and the family lost contact.
Eight years later, David Jr., who is now 44, and Paul, now 42, saw their dad one final time in their early teens when Rees' mother fell ill. The boys ran into him during a visit with their grandmother at the hospital, but they only learned days later that the man they had seen was their father.
"I remember standing in the corridor and this man coming up talking to Mum. But we never spoke to him, never knew who he was," David recounted to the Mirror. "Then he left so we were oblivious to the fact that was my dad. Why didn't he try to see us? Why didn't he say anything to us?"
With many questions unanswered, the boys made several attempts to reconnect with their father over the years.
"At the back of my mind I've always been trying to find my dad for whatever logical reason, for whatever emotional reasons I don't know, but the fact is it's always been there," Paul said in a press release.
He reportedly sent letters to multiple David Reeses in South Africa hoping to find the right one, but to no avail.
Last year, the brothers' aunt finally contacted the UK television series 'Long Lost Family,' which reunites families after years of separation.
The 'Long Lost Family' team tracked Rees down in a town near Johannesburg and found that he and his new family had been searching for his sons as well. They had been unable to trace David Jr. and Paul who had changed their last names -- from Rees to Shannon -- after their mother's second marriage.
The trio was reunited earlier this year.
"Hugging him -- I just felt like a little kid again. Straight away it just felt like he was our dad," David Jr. told the Mirror.
Check out photos of the family in the slideshow below.