Three decades on, she's got the dad she never knew
After a 'rollercoaster' ride a Limpopo woman will finally meet her biological father
Close to 35 years ago, an unwed mother and her newborn daughter boarded a train from Pretoria, hoping for a better life and to escape the prying eyes of an unforgiving society.
It was not to be. At 15 months old, Diana Becker was given up for adoption because her great-grandmother in KwaZulu-Natal could no longer afford to take in her and her mother.
She has since found her biological mother, but it is the search for her biological father that has occupied Diana’s thoughts. Now, finally, she need wonder no longer.
Becker, 35, from Hoedspruit in Limpopo, has finally tracked down her biological dad, a retired sportsman,12 000km away in Cockermouth, a town in the county of Cumbria, north-west England.
It was the mention of his name in passing that set Becker on his trail.
Being born to a conservative family, when her biological mom, aged 19, had a child out of wedlock, it was frowned upon. The new mom and her baby boarded a train and left Pretoria in the hope that she could raise her daughter in KwaZulu-Natal. The young mom’s grandmother, who was in her 70s, took them in, but the pensioner struggled to make ends meet and the young mother was forced to put up her first-born for adoption.
Speaking to Times Select, Becker said she was adopted by an Afrikaans couple who gave her the “best life”. But despite that she had a nagging curiosity to connect with her biological parents.
“Your whole life as an adopted child you sit with the question ‘where am I from’. There are always these questions: Do I have my dad’s eyes or my mom’s body type? When you go to the doctor and they ask about family history, you can’t answer those questions. It seems silly, but these are questions you can never answer.”
Her adoptive parents, Danie and Elna de Bruin, understood their daughter’s yearning, and supported her in her quest to meet her biological parents.
She describes meeting her biological mother at 18 as a “rollercoaster” that set her on a path she likened to the musical Mamma Mia.
“When I found out that the man I first believed was my father was not my biological dad, it was a shock. I was emotional. I wasn’t able to handle that kind of rejection; I was only 19 years old,” Becker said.
Not long after that, the second man suspected to be her father died. It wasn’t until watching an episode of the Afrikaans soapie Getroud Met Rugby, where the issue of adoption came up, that her curiosity was reignited.
She recalled her biological mother mentioning a man’s name during conversations. She wanted to find a photograph or an obituary, anything to help trace her roots. With just a name and the fact that he was an athlete, she began her Google search. Then she found a Facebook profile. “I didn’t really think I’d get hold of him. I sent him a message and then sent some of his friends a message. One of his friends gave me an e-mail address and that’s eventually how I contacted him,” she said.
Having found the last remaining potential father, she immediately set in motion a plan for a paternity test. The results showed there was a 99.9% chance that the man was her biological father.
“It was the best feeling. He knew exactly who I was. He never knew I was adopted. My biological mom was shocked when I told her I found my dad. From then on I looked at a photograph of him every single night, after I put my kids to bed, to find similarities. I never found any,” Becker said. When the Sunday Times spoke to the man he asked that his name not be mentioned because his family in the UK were still dealing with the news. He wanted to wait until he had met Becker face to face.
He said it was “fantastic news” when Becker first contacted him and said she thought he was her father.
“I was aware of her. It was out of this world hearing from her; it was something that had been on the back of my mind for a long time. I was very pleased that she found me after all these years,” he said.
Becker first contacted the man in July this year and by August it was confirmed that he was her biological father. They have been talking almost every day since on text, and once a week telephonically.
The next aim was meeting him.
Last month she set up a public fundraiser page, but closed it soon after managing to raise the money with the help of family and friends. But the plan has since changed and now her biological father will be coming to SA to meet Becker. His trip is scheduled for March 2019.