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Dad and daughter reunite

Carol Martindale

Dad and daughter reunite

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Matricia Newton has been on a mission for the last 16 years.
 To some, it was Mission Impossible.
 But, for this soon to be 36-year-old, it was not only very possible, but also necessary.
 Matricia was on a hunt to find her father Anthony Rawlins.
 The mother of three, who now lives in Quebec, Canada, never gave up hope that one day she would be reunited with him.
 It was a piece of the puzzle that was missing in her life. She was desperate to put all the pieces together.
It has been about 29 years that this father and daughter bond was broken.
However, about three weeks ago, it was mended.
 It all came together after Matricia took out a small Classifieds advertisement in the February 3, 2012 WEEKEND NATION under the Public Notices section.
 That ad, despite its size, was spotted by her father’s niece who immediately made contact.
 And unlike the old cliché which says “and the rest is history” – in this case, the rest – and best, is now to come.
 Matricia has located her long lost father who now lives in Australia.
 “I never felt complete. Something was always missing,” she said during a telephone link-up with the SUNDAY SUN from Quebec this past week.
 “Now I feel so alive. Words cannot express how amazing this is for me. I am not even the same person. Before I never felt I was part of society. I now feel that I am present and part of society.”
 In fact, the wrong spelling of her father’s surname may have delayed the process of reconnecting with him.
 When Matricia actively started her search for him when she was about 20 years old, she thought she was looking for a Rollins, insteadof Rawlins.
 Two years ago, she took her search to social media site Facebook in the hope of finding her father. Anyone with the surname Rollins was invited to her Facebook page. Everyone added was questioned on family history as she hunted for any information that would lead to her father’s whereabouts.
 Those efforts were futile and always led to “dead ends”.
 Matricia admitted too, that she regularly perused Barbados’ telephone directories which she secured from her aunt who visits the island regularly.
It was that aunt who also forced her to put the ad in the newspaper. Even though she did, she wasn’t at all optimistic it would turn up any leads.
Again, the wrong name was used in the ad.
 Matricia only realized she was using the wrong name in all her searches after a conversation with her aunt who always assumed she had the correct one.
 “I went online and I realized I had given the Nation the wrong spelling. I sent Kelly [Henry, Classified Adviser] the message but she was gone for the weekend. I had planned to correct it on the Monday,” she said.
In fact, Matricia had planned to run that same ad in the Nation for a weekend every month.
 But she didn’t have to.
 The day after she placed the ad, she refused to check her email. But by the Sunday, when she booted up her computer, she had received an email from a woman who said she was her father’s niece in Barbados.
 That email stated: “You have found your father. I have forwarded him your contact. He has been looking for you for two years.”
 Matricia was emotional when she got that email, but she was still very wary.
It also indicated that her father had gone to the Registry to see if his daughter was still alive. 
 The promise made in the email was that he would be in contact shortly.
Half-hour after, Matricia got the best surprise of her life – an email from her father, who is now 58.
 In that correspondence, he said: “You have found your father. I have been looking for you.”
 He continued: “All I want to do is see you and hug you.”
 Matricia was bawling at this point.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said.
 Her father cautioned that before he continued with further emails, he wanted to be sure she was in fact his daughter.
He asked for her phone number.
 “That’s when I also felt this was for real too, because he was just as cautious as I was,” she said, recalling the relief she felt at that point.
 That night, Matricia’s dad tried making contact with her but he couldn’t get a signal
out from the ship on which he works.
 “I was expecting his call. I was very disappointed. I had no doubts though that he would call. I felt something was wrong.”
 That night, she emailed him her number a second time and remembered going to bed with the phone in her hand.
 She also spent the night crying.
 The next day, Monday, Matricia didn’t go to work at the accounting firm at which she is employed. She was certain he would call.
 He called at approximately 6 p.m. – morning in Australia.
 “When he called, I remember saying: ‘Dad, where were you?’”
 He broke down crying.
 He admitted to her that from the time he received that email he was crying.
Then it was time for the test.
 She wanted to be 100 per cent sure the man on the phone was indeed her father.
 Matricia told him about a scar she has at the back of her leg since she was young. She asked him how she got it.
 He gave the right answer – it was a muffler burn she got from the motorcycle he used to ride in Barbados.
By this time, she couldn’t fight the free flow of the tears.
Matricia admits it was easy talking to her father on that first day.
 “I have no anger towards him. I don’t blame him for anything. I never hated him and
 II never felt abandoned,” she said, although pointing out that she always longed
to find him.
 Even when she was told by her aunt some time ago that her dad had died, she still wasn’t daunted.
“My aunt said she had heard that he had died but it didn’t stop me though. I was never satisfied.”
 When Matricia revisited this conversation with her aunt recently, she admitted she only said that to ease the pain and anguish she was seeing every time her searches led to nothing.
 Now, Matricia and her dad are making up for lost time.
 She has spoken to him every day since they first reconnected.
 In fact, she only missed one day – February 15 – and that was because he had a full day of travelling from the ship back to Australia.
 That night, she confessed, she did not sleep a wink.
 “He always calls me around 8 at night and we talk on the phone. Then before I go to bed I send an email, so on mornings I would get a response before I go to work,” she said.
That simple gesture starts her day, she said, with a laugh.
 Reconnecting is also very special for Matricia, she said, because she grew up in foster homes.
 “It was hard. I wanted to share so much with him. I am very emotional and I just wanted him to get to know me.”
 This woman, named Antonio, after her father, says she strongly believes daughters need their fathers.
Matricia describes herself as being very shy, and oftentimes felt she just didn’t belong. But all that has changed, she said, adding that even her family has noticed the transformation.
 “I don’t like crowds. I usually walk with my head down. I always felt lost. Now I feel so different. I now feel I belong in society, after all these years. I now feel alive again.
 “It’s an amazing feeling. I feel so happy,” she said, excitement in her voice.
 Now, Matricia and her father are hoping they will meet soon, hopefully this year.
 She’s not worried about that though, as she confessed: “I have more now than I did before. I am just so happy that I took a chance.”