When Harper and Athena’s mother broke up many years ago, Athena was only 2 years old. Harper said that his ex would not allow him to see his daughter and they moved away to an unknown destination.
But even though Athena Glusing was difficult to locate, her dad never stopped looking for her, even after 16 years.
After 16 Years, A Break
Harper continued to search for his daughter for 16 years. Using the internet, knowing that his daughter was now 18-years-old, he finally found her on the Facebook page of an old family member. She was in a video that had been posted.
“There was a house in the video,” Harper explained in an interview with CTV Montreal. “The only thing I could do was Google Maps, and walk the streets looking for the house.”
Eventually, he found her and went to visit her at her workplace. “My heart was pounding like you wouldn’t believe,” described Harper.
“I thought for sure Athena could hear my heart pounding. I said, ‘Can I tell you something?’ She said, ‘sure.’ She had a beaming smile on her face and I said, ‘My name is Dean Harper.’ ‘And that’s supposed to mean?’ She didn’t even know who I was. I said, ‘I’m your father.”
Discovered She Lived In Foster Care
Harper learned that Athena had lived in foster care since the age of twelve. He was not happy to hear that news and was more than agitated that nobody had ever let him know that was living in a foster home.
“I was very upset because they had my name on file,” said Harper. “They knew who I was. And I asked them, ‘Why didn’t you look for me when you got my daughter?’ They said, ‘Well, we didn’t have your birthday.’”
When the two reunited, Athena moved in with her long-lost father and his family, including her two biological brothers. That’s when he received a rather unexpected surprise. Social services sent him a bill.
“Athena’s now living with me and I get a $7,800 bill for parental contribution,” explained Athena’s perturbed father. “I don’t understand how they could have my daughter, know who I am, not look for me, and then send me a bill once I find her.”
Athena doesn’t understand the bill, either.
“I’m super thankful for Batshaw for what they had done for me but the bill is just not…I don’t see why they sent the bill,” she said.
Harper made plans to fight the invoice and contemplated taking legal action against Social Services for neglecting to let him know his daughter had been placed in foster care. After appealing the bill he received to have it dismissed. The appeal was denied and Harper would have to go to court if he wanted to continue to battle Batshaw Social Services.
Harper appealed the bill, asking that it be dismissed. The appeal was denied and Harper would have to go to court if he wanted to continue to battle Batshaw Social Services.
As of September 28, 2017, no record of an appeal being filed has been made public and Batshaw, a national child welfare organization, has not commented on the case.
Nonetheless, Athena and her dad are enjoying catching up on lost time. She said her favorite part about being with her dad is the family time together.
“I really like having family dinners ’cause I get to know my two biological brothers on his side more. I have a nephew now-It’s awesome.”