Upon meeting, the pair bonded quickly, agreeing, “We’re both really similar, it’s crazy!”
Randy Kemp, 55, from Carlsbad in California, relinquished his now-20-year-old son, Noah Anderson, to an adoption agency when Noah was just 6 months old. Randy, compelled to change his ways, underwent years of rehabilitation and soul searching before finally tracking down his estranged son on social media.
To Randy’s surprise and delight, Noah lived in nearby Riverside County.
On June 14, the pair met for the first time in 20 years. “The meeting was amazing,” Randy, a maintenance worker, told Mercury Press. “I told him what had happened twenty years ago, but the most important thing I wanted to tell him was that it wasn’t down to a lack of love.”
At the age of 34, Randy was in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction and serving a year-long prison sentence for drug possession when he found out his then-partner was pregnant. By the time Randy was released from prison, baby Noah was already 6 months old.
Randy was given 90 days to find a home and a job and prove his sobriety; otherwise, his baby son would be adopted. “I couldn’t pull it off,” Randy admitted. “I had to sign my rights away and do what was in the best interests of the child.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
After experiencing his rock-bottom moment, Randy made the choice to turn his life around; as of 2020, the father still attends a recovery support group and works as a volunteer helping others who are struggling with addiction. Reconnecting with his son, Noah, was the ultimate payoff in Randy’s journey.
“I kept my Facebook open and I would just randomly search for him on social media,” the dad explained. “My family stayed in touch with him until he was about three … that’s how I knew his name.”
In early 2020, Randy typed his son’s name into Instagram and found him immediately, confirming his son’s identity by matching the baby photos in his possession with the childhood photos on Noah’s Instagram feed.
“I sent him a message and he replied saying it was him,” Randy regaled. “I could have had a heart attack; I couldn’t believe it. I was nervous, anxious, shocked.”
Upon meeting, the father-son duo immediately acknowledged how much they had in common despite their 20-year separation. Both men had played in the same positions in football and baseball, both play guitar, and both hate black olives.
“[We] both reverse into parking spaces rather that [sic] drive in forwards,” Randy added, noting the “quirks” he shares with his son. “We both have the same sense of humor … It was just really wonderful for a first meeting. I’m just really happy, it’s life changing.”
Speaking to Mercury Press, Randy expressed regret that it had taken him so long to get on the straight and narrow. But today, he is thriving. “I’ve been rebuilding my life and looking after my health, going to recovery meetings, helping others in a similar position,” he said.
“I don’t have any other kids and I’ve always wanted children which makes this so special,” the father added. “It was a chapter of my life that was so extremely painful, and it was like the sun was shining on me again. It was what I had been praying for.”
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