KOMO News - Seattle, Washington
'She was my whole world'
Originally printed at http://www.komonews.com/news/local/43083567.html
SEA-TAC AIRPORT -- Dirk Pratt hadn't held his daughter, Francesca, since she was just 2 years old. For nearly three decades, he said, lies held their relationship prisoner.
"That has been a tough time for me all of my life. I missed all those birthdays, her first boyfriend..." the father said.
Pratt said Francesca's mother took her home to Ecuador for a quick trip, which turned into a lifetime. Soon after the two left, he was told his daughter had died as a toddler after being bitten by a mosquito. The news drowned the father in grief.
"I couldn't function or do anything," he said. "She was my whole world."
Since then, for the last 27 years, he spent his daughter's birthday with the lone picture of her he had.
Then, six weeks ago, the most unexpected thing happened.
Pratt happened to watch the movie "Wanted," starring Angelina Jolie. In the film, a man runs a search of his own name on Google.com. Pratt had never tried searching for his own name, so he decided to give it a try on a whim.
The search turned up a message that read, "I am trying to contact Dirk Pratt. I am his daughter."
Pratt was aghast. His mind began swirling.
"The first thought in my mind was, 'Francesca or a sick joke?'" he said.
But it was no joke.
Pratt learned his daughter had been told he had died in a diving accident, but she never quite believed it.
"Inside of my heart I felt something -- 'He's alive,'" she said.
Eventually, Franscesca learned the truth, moved to America and began a search for her father. And while searching for his own name, Dirk had found her -- the part of him he had been missing for so many years.
On Wednesday, Dirk and his daughter, having trumped lies and years of distance thousands of miles long, finally reunited.
As the two embraced, 27 years of lost history swelled up in Francesca's eyes. And how could it not? She'd been told times over that this moment would never be possible.
"He's more happy because I am here," said.
And Francesca, now 30, brought along some big news.
"I am having a baby," she said. "I am pregnant. I am so happy."
Having spend years apart dearly missing each other, Dirk and his daughter are wasting no more time. Francesca plans to spend several months at her father's Redmond home so the two can get to know each other all over again.