Woman finds biological father after connecting on LinkedIn
- Credit: Archant
After 21 years of not knowing who her biological father was, one woman pushed through her fear of rejection to track him down online.
Since she was born, Shawnie May Smith, of Beccles, always assumed her biological father was her step-dad, but after more than a decade she found out the truth - her dad was someone else and her original birth name was Chantelle.
'My mother sat me down in the front room and she was asking questions like 'you understand that there is some children out there who don't know who their parents are?' and 'if you discovered that your dad, actually isn't your biological dad, how would you feel?' Miss Smith said.
Her mother then went on to explain her step-dad took on the role as her father just after she was born.
'Some things started to make sense like, I didn't have any genetic make-up from him,' she said.
You may also want to watch:
Her mother showed her a picture of her biological family and her characteristics began to make sense; her stature, figure and her skin were all on her father's side.
She said: 'My mother did everything for me, I have had the best life. She was really a good mum and as a child she was my best friend.'
- 1 Revealed: The most expensive towns to buy a home in Norfolk
- 2 Couple fined £400 for digging up 8,000 Norfolk bluebells
- 3 Hundreds more trees on route of Norwich NDR have died
- 4 What might happen to former Debenhams store in city centre?
- 5 BBC Autumnwatch returns to Norfolk for another season
- 6 950-home bid takes step forward after £7m developer contribution agreed
- 7 'I remember shutting down' - Singer on cancer diagnosis at Norfolk hospital
- 8 Woman left 'penniless' while waiting five weeks for first pension payment
- 9 What does the ice-cream man do during winter?
- 10 Power cut hits Norwich city centre
After Shawnie got engaged to her partner in 2017, her curiosities about her biological father became more fierce.
She knew his name, he lived somewhere in America, and she had two half brothers who lived in Norfolk.
In September, she used networking site LinkedIn to track down her father, Nate Scaffer and asked to connect.
Miss Smith said: 'It was that feeling where your heart sinks to the bottom of your stomach, I thought he might block me.'
He accepted and eventually responded to her message, but was 'taken back' by the nature of the contact.
'I was on a mini-holiday to Chicago when this person reached out and I just accepted and forgot about until a couple of days later,' Mr Scaffer said.
The pair started to talk and she instantly asked if he remembered her mother, and later said 'that means I am your daughter'.
The 48-year-old, who now lives in Savannah, Georgia, had a relationship with her mother while working as a firefighter in Suffolk.
He said: 'I don't regret any of my kids, but I regret not being there for them.'
Even though they went 21 years without contact, the pair are now getting to know each other and message each day.
They are set to meet next May for Miss Smith's 22nd birthday.
He said: 'I wake up every morning and message her 'good morning my baby girl','
Mr Scaffer has four children, three are from England and has one 16-year-old daughter who lives with him.
Although he has made this new connection with his daughter, he believes it wouldn't be a good idea to bring together all of his children.
He said: 'The only way that I could do that would be to fly over to the UK,' he added, 'would I like it, yes, do I think it would be healthy, no.'
On the whole experience, Miss Smith said she was 'filled with love' for her father and keeps a regular blog, 'I have an American Dad' about their journey.
She said: 'I have always been really neutral about not knowing who my dad was, it was never like I was angry at him.
'I just wondered why really,' she added.
'I am really looking forward to meeting him and meeting my younger sister next year,' she said.