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Who's Your Daddy?

I hold a deep and personal connection to the phrase “Who's Your Daddy.” My father rejected me but I am still surviving and thriving without him. Who had the most disappointing experience with their father? This was a topic of conversation a few years ago at a New Year's Day party with my girlfriends. I won't reveal the details of my friends' experiences with their fathers, but I can share a story about my father.

Who's Your Daddy? article image - Leroy


My Father

My father didn't know I existed. I always wondered what he looked like, what traits I inherited from him, and if I resembled him in any way. I often dreamed of him coming into my life and taking me away from the difficult environment I grew up in. Like any child who hasn't met their parent, I had hopes that my father was powerful and wealthy, and would be able to solve all my problems. But more than anything, I just wanted him to love me. After all, isn't it a parent's responsibility to love and care for their own child? I cannot even fathom a situation where I would not love my children.

Father Where Art Thou?

In 1994, at the age of twenty-four, I embarked on a life-changing journey to meet my birth mother, Judy. You can delve into the emotional details of our reunion in my article, which you can find HERE. Fueled by a soon-to-expire free plane ticket, I decided it was time to connect with the missing pieces of my identity – my birth parents.

The void of not knowing one's parents creates an indescribable emptiness. For me, it felt like a crucial part of myself was absent. Deciding to seek out my birth parents was a pivotal moment driven by a deep desire for connection. I wasn't expecting lifelong commitments from them; after all, we were strangers to each other. My simple wish was to establish a connection, to get to know them, and perhaps nurture an ongoing relationship with the individuals who are, biologically, my parents. Was that too much to hope for?bareMinerals
Finding My Father

In 1994, I was working for an international hotel company, pulling in a comfortable salary of over $40K. With a house and a car to my name, I was grateful for my financial stability. Surprisingly, I wasn't on a quest for financial reparations or harboring any expectations of an inheritance.

Back then, without the convenience of Google, my search for my mother's phone number involved navigating through online phone listings. Armed with her name, I speculated that she might have relatives still residing in my hometown of Havana, IL. Armed with this information, I scoured phone numbers associated with her last name. Eventually, I struck gold and stumbled upon a number that seemed promising. With a deep breath, I dialed the digits.

The voice on the other end belonged to a woman whose name escapes me – perhaps my mother's cousin. Undeterred, I explained my mission: the search for my mother, Judy, who had given birth to me at the tender age of 19. To my relief, the lady on the phone was more than willing to help. She provided me with Judy's phone number, sharing warm wishes and a hopeful “good luck” as I embarked on this emotional journey.

My Birth Mother Judy

From my heart-to-heart with Judy, I gathered that she and my dad crossed paths during their college days. Picture this: she's Caucasian, he's African American, and the term “relationship” might be a bit too formal. Let's call it what it was – a classic college connection. They probably bumped into each other at a wild party and, well, hooked up a few times. It was college, after all.

Now, here's the juicy part: Judy spilled the tea that my dad, Leroy, was engaged when they had their little escapade. Talk about complicated! Judy didn't want to throw a wrench into his future or tie herself down with a child. (Quick side note: I'm a firm believer that every dad should know about their offspring.)

To track down my elusive dad, Judy transformed into a detective and dug up Leroy's contact details by sifting through phone numbers of people with his name in the town she remembered him being from –Peoria, IL.

Who's Your Daddy? article image - Autumn Murray Baby Photo

Autumn Murray Baby Photo

Surprise, It's A Girl!

Judy contacted Leroy to inform him that he had a 24-year-old daughter who was living in Atlanta. She reminded him of how they had met many years ago and Leroy was able to recollect their encounter and the year it happened. According to Judy, Leroy didn't seem upset or angry about not knowing about his daughter's existence. He simply accepted the situation matter-of-factly. Judy then informed Leroy that she would be sharing his contact details with his daughter and that she would be getting in touch with him soon.

Getting in Touch with Daddy

I waited a few days before calling Leroy because the whole situation was overwhelming. I finally decided to call him on a Saturday afternoon after pouring myself a glass of wine to calm my nerves. To my surprise, Leroy answered my call and was very polite. He told me that he had no idea about my existence until Judy called him with the news a few days prior. (Surprise! You have a 24-year-old daughter!)

During our conversation, we asked each other questions about our lives. Leroy liked to talk about himself a lot, which was the opposite of me. I prefer to write about myself rather than talk about it. Writing allows me to go back and edit, while spoken words are permanent.

Our relationship was going well, and we talked 2-3 times a month. I was the one who initiated most of the calls. After 3-4 months of talking on the phone, Leroy expressed his desire to visit me in Atlanta. However, due to my unpleasant experience of visiting my mother in Lincoln, NB (which will be detailed in another post, as I mentioned earlier), I did not want to visit him in Peoria, IL. I preferred to meet him on my home turf.

Who's Your Daddy? article image - Leroy 2


Strike 1 for Leroy

We talked on the phone and set a date for him to come to Atlanta.  The weekend he was supposed to come he called the day before he was supposed to arrive and said that his car broke down and he wouldn't be able to make the drive.  Perfectly understandable, right?

Strike 2 for Leroy

So, we rescheduled Leroy's visit to Atlanta for about two months later. During that time, we kept the conversation alive with our phone chats. Now, brace yourself for this one – the weekend he was set to hit the road to Atlanta, he dropped a bombshell. Can you believe it? He called on the very day of his supposed arrival and broke the news that he couldn't make it. And the reason? Hold onto your hats – he couldn't get his hair done. Yep, you read that right. The guy canceled because of a hair situation, probably some kind of process, maybe even a jerry curl.

Bizarre, right? But being the understanding soul that I am, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Could it be that nerves about meeting me got the best of him? Talk about a hair-raising excuse!

Strike 3 for Leroy

After talking on the phone for some time, we decided to meet in Atlanta. We scheduled the meeting for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, hoping to spend the holiday together. Since I had never met him before and I wanted to make sure I was safe, I took precautions and asked my friend Rodney (who is now my husband) to meet us at a restaurant and sit a few tables away. I had planned to give him a signal in case things didn't go well and I wanted to leave.

Wednesday:  No call from Leroy and no sign of him. I called his mother, whom I had talked to a few times after Leroy gave me her phone number. She said that Leroy had left for Atlanta earlier that morning.

Thursday:  No call from Leroy and no sign of Leroy.  I was beginning to get scared something had happened to him.  Rodney invited me over to his brother's house where his family was gathering for Thanksgiving since my plans had been ruined.

Friday:  No call from Leroy and no sign of Leroy.  I called his mother and she said she still hadn't heard from him.

Saturday:  No call from Leroy and no sign of Leroy.  I called his mother and she said that she had talked to him and that he was in Atlanta and would be getting in touch with me soon.

Sunday:  At 3:15 in the afternoon, Leroy called me from Atlanta, and I knew this because of the location displayed on my caller ID. At that moment, I was extremely angry with him. Nevertheless, I was interested in hearing what he had to say for himself. He informed me that he would soon be returning to Peoria, and if I wanted to meet him, I should come to the gas station where he was calling from. I asked him where he had been since his arrival and when he got into town. He explained that he had met a young woman at Caribou Coffee and had spent the weekend with her. His words made me furious. However, I maintained my composure and never disrespected him or raised my voice. I simply thanked him for acknowledging me as his daughter and told him that this weekend confirmed that we were not meant to have a relationship with each other. I then asked him not to contact me anymore and wished him a safe journey home.

Verdict:  Leroy is Out 

My father attempted to call me several times over the following year. However, I didn't answer any of his calls as I could see his number on the caller ID. Once, he called me from a friend's phone and I picked up the call as I didn't recognize the number. His friend tried to convince me to talk to him, but I refused. After that call, I changed my phone number. 

On the Thanksgiving following this, I received a note from Leroy that shattered any hopes of reuniting with my father in the future. During the months we had been talking over the phone, Leroy and I had exchanged pictures. In the note, Leroy asked me to return the pictures he had sent me, along with a stack of pictures of myself that I had sent to him. It was a petty request.

Who's Your Daddy? article image - Leroy letter

Goodbye Father

I still have the pictures my father gave me, along with a few letters he sent. I didn't send them back to him. I've kept them in a photo album, including the envelopes he sent them in. It's the only tangible connection I have with him and I hope to show them to my children one day. However, I did send the pictures he returned to me to his mother to keep. I still wonder if he regrets how he treated me and if he ever thinks about the daughter he never met.

In all of my personal posts, I want to share how to help stop or at least prevent child abuse.  Details below. 

What is child abuse? 

Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failure to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse.

If you see signs of abuse with anyone you know, or are a victim of child abuse, get help right away.

For more information, to seek help, or find out how to help abused children click here:  Childhelp.


The Childhelp organization was founded in 1959 by Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Federson.  The organization's focus is on child abuse prevention and treatment.

Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. It’s a terrible epidemic that we organizations like Childhelp are dedicated to putting an end to.  To end child abuse, increasing awareness of the issue itself is key.

We hope you loved Simply Amazing Living's “Who's Your Daddy” post.



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  • This was very interesting to read

  • Thank you for sharing this story! God bless you for staying strong through your experiences.

  • My father was adopted, and while his journey to locate his birth parents was different from your, he often expressed the feeling of a part of himself missing. After finding them, he maintained a relationship for a while, but was eventually cut off for being a black sheep. It was very difficult for my sister and I, who were also cut off from them for being his daughters. I am sorry you went through this, but it is better to know than not to know I guess.

  • I’m sorry about your experience. I’m sure it’s shaped your own view of your own role as a parent. We can’t control others, but we can choose to do our best ourselves.

  • Wow, thanks for sharing your story Autumn. You even kept your dad’s note so well and I see he has a very good writing. I am really touched at your story and wonder if you will change you mind to meet him again. I also love to listen to how you first met your mom story.

  • It is sad that you had such an experience, hopefully it had not so much negative effect. But now you know how you dont want to be

  • I know this must have been hard to share, as we as women always feel like we need a father figure. I am sorry you went through but I am sure it has made you a stronger woman.

  • Wow, I can somewhat relate but you are so strong to share something so personal. Thank you sorry doing so, maybe I should call my dad.

  • Oh wow. Thank you for sharing this emotional story with us. You are very brave and strong.

  • It was an motional and inspiring read for me. The way you write up on your personal experience is phenomenal

    Really admire your courage and what you have gone through.

  • I am sorry that happened to you. But thank God that you have the strength and courage to share this story. You are such a strong individual. I admire that you were able to put this experience into writing.

  • Thank you for sharing this, sorry to hear that you had this difficult experience. Your story resonated with me so much. I was also rejected by my father. My parents divorced before I was born. My sisters and I visited our father on weekends, and after a few years went by, we began to see him less and less. My mother moved us to another state and we never saw him again afterwards. My father didn’t believe I was his, I even got a DNA test to make sure, and I found out he really is my biological father.
    Long story short, later on in adulthood he made attempts to contact my sisters and I, but mainly my oldest sister. I felt deep down that we were forced to take our mother’s side, and we never got a chance to hear his side.
    I reached out to him by social media, and we exchanged numbers. In the beginning, it was great. I thanked God for reuniting us again, and that I finally had my father in my life. I was never loved or accepted by my mother, I figured well at least I will have a relationship with my dad. I was wrong.
    After a couple of months, I noticed my dad began to make excuses to not speak to me. But, when I look back, I realized he dominated the conversations, and sometimes literally didn’t even allow me to get a word in. But his excuses ranged from, being too busy working on his house, then his car, then he claimed he was sick from the heat in Florida and could not speak on the phone. I wanted to speak to him after there was a shooting in my neighborhood. A bullet hole almost went through a wall in my home, I thought surely he would speak to me then, he just responded, “I put you in God’s hands”, and a few other pleasantries, and “take care” He made many promises of having me over to come visit, and helping me study for school since I was in the process of changing careers, and that he was so happy I was in his life. But these words were all empty.
    A few months went by, and he claimed he ,”hasn’t heard from me” and I brought up the all the excuses he has made to not speak to me and just said “oh well that’s true” I tried calling again after this, and he just rushed me off of the phone.
    I figured I would still try to keep in contact, and reach out saying hello, and he never responded again. And that was it.

    It hurts to be rejected by your father. He rejected me when I was a child, and again in adulthood. He wasn’t in my life because he didn’t want to be. I’ve learned to move on now. At least I got closure. I was neglected and emotionally abused by my mother, I am sure I would have been in an even worse state if my father was involved in my life. I think it was for good. It’s better to have no father, than the negative influence of a toxic father.
    Just because your father doesn’t or cannot love you, doesn’t mean you are not worthy of love and just because your father doesn’t want to be apart of your life, doesn’t mean something is inherently wrong with you. It’s his choice.
    I am still wounded, but at least there is no more “guessing or wondering” or “what ifs” I can move on and focus on healing.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story as well. It definitely hurts to be rejected by any parent at any point in life.

      I agree it is better to have no involvement with a toxic other. I was also abused and neglected by my mother and given up for adoption after some people noticed the bruises and burns on my body.

      Wishing you continued growth in your healing process. I am a work in progress as well.