'My dad could have been one of three men': Limpopo woman reunited with dad after 35 years

2018-10-18 13:54
Amanda Seyfried. (Photo: Supplied)

Amanda Seyfried. (Photo: Supplied)

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Just like the character played by Amanda Seyfried in the hit movie Mamma Mia!, 35-year-old Diana Becker’s dad could have been one of three men. Now, after years of searching, she’s finally found out who her real dad is.

Diana, from Hoedspruit in Limpopo, tells YOU she’d always known she was adopted.

"My adoptive parents, Elna and Danie de Bruin, are the angels in this story. They’ve always been extremely supportive and understood why I felt the need to find my biological parents," she says.

Diana was 14 months old when Elna and Danie adopted her. She has a brother, also called Danie, who’s 12 years her senior.

"I had a happy childhood and when I turned 18 my parents helped me find my biological mom," Diana explains.

Her biological mother introduced her to a man she told Diana was her biological father – but a short while later he told her he wasn’t sure he was her dad. A paternity test confirmed his suspicion, but the two of them stayed in contact.

'My dad could be one of three men'

That’s when her life started sounding like that of the Mamma Mia! Character, Sophie. "My dad could be one of three men – an Italian, a Frenchman, or the man I met first."

Diana’s biological mom, who doesn’t want to be named, told her the Italian and the Frenchman were both deceased. But three years later Diana decided to resume the search for her biological father.

With the help of the man she’d initially thought was her dad, she established the “Frenchman” was in fact a South African named Danny de Chaumont-Saunderson, 58, who’d emigrated to England some 20 years ago.

"I found him on Facebook, told him who I was and we started chatting. He wasn’t really surprised that I might be his daughter. In fact, he was excited," she says.  

"He was 23 years old and in the army when a social worker called him and told him he was going to be a dad. He didn’t believe them because he knew of the two other men who might also have been the dad."

Diana’s biological mom was 19 when she was born. She gave her up for adoption at 14 months because she was struggling financially.

'I don’t blame either of them'

"Danny hadn’t known I’d been given up for adoption but he was happy to hear that I’d had a good childhood," Diana says.

"I don’t blame either of them. They were young and my biological mother in particular had no one to support her. For example, she told me her mom refused to let her wash my cloth nappies in her washing machine – she had to wash it by hand in the bath. It must’ve been hard for her."

Diana, who’s happily married and has two children, regularly chats to Danny.

"We have similar personalities," she says. "Initially we chatted nearly every day. He and his wife would chat to me and my family. We now keep it to weekends."

Shortly after she found Danny, he did a paternity test.

"It was done by a British company and they sent me the test. I sat in my car in front of the courier’s offices and did the test immediately, after which I sent it back. A week later they emailed me the result."

'I told you he is'

At first she didn’t want to look at the result because she was hoping Danny was her biological dad. "It just feels so right," she says.

So she asked her husband, Jaco, to look at the result. "He just said, ‘I told you he is.’"

Diana and Danny hope to meet face to face for the first time in March next year when he and his wife plan to visit South Africa on holiday. "His mom and sisters still live in KwaZulu-Natal, so my parents and family will join them on holiday so we can all get to know each other."

Danny has two younger children – a daughter of 25 and a son of 19.

"They won’t be coming along this time but they’re planning a big birthday bash for him in South Africa when he turns 60, so I’ll probably meet them then," Diana says.

"I’m grateful I found him and I’m grateful my adoptive parents don’t carry any resentment in their hearts. They’ll always be my parents."

Read more on:    polokwane

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