When bachelor John Jefferson, from St Cloud, Minnesota, turned 44, he had the opportunity to adopt 6-year-old Lise Barber. A foster girl that apparently no one wanted.
John didn’t know why, but he didn’t care. He wanted a child and maybe this was his only chance to get it. But in retrospect, he probably should have cared more about it… it would take him 28 years to discover the painful truth.
A painful realization
The policeman patiently sat John down and proceeded to tell him about the unusual situation. After being given only a brief snapshot of the setting, the now old man felt tears well up in his eyes and a lump in his throat. Emotion washed over him.
After all this time, he had finally learned the truth about his adopted daughter. She was shocking and overwhelming. And it was the kind of truth that would have been a better kept secret if he’d had any choice in the matter.
See Lise for the last time
John was devastated by the news, but thought it wise to see Lise one last time. The authorities were quite nice and helpful and tried to set up a meeting with Lise and John one last time, to close the case, to get answers, to talk about everything.
John felt they owed him at least that much. But what had Lise kept from John? Did she have something to do with the fact that no one wanted to adopt her? If so, why did it take almost three decades before everything came to light and answers were given?
The dream of a lifetime come true
When John finally adopted Lisa, his life’s dream came true for him. As someone who had wanted to be a father all his life, this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. He was well aware of the challenges of parenthood, but he didn’t care.
This was one of the most important things that happened to him because since then he was a little boy who wanted to have his own family. But the only problem was that he was always missing a crucial component.
John was a single father
Unfortunately, John was a romantic who had never found the love of his life. The fact that she hadn’t found his soul mate meant that he lived out his adult years without a partner. And even though he was disappointed that he had never been in love, he was willing to accept it.
However, having a child and raising him was a life plan that he hoped to follow. To do this, he began to consider adoption, since it seemed the easiest option for him. He knew that raising a child alone was not going to be easy, but it was worth trying.
Lise was already 6 years old
When John decided to adopt a child, Lise was already 6 years old. Lise had lived quite a difficult life, moving through the adoption system her entire life. Lisa never thought that she was going to be adopted at 6 years old.
In all the orphanages, Lise watched as other orphans who had become friends were chosen and adopted. Lise, on the other hand, kept getting rejected and, as she got older, she felt that she would never find a permanent home.
Ohn was his only chance
It is unusual for a child to be adopted at 6 years of age. At the orphanage, everyone thought that Lise being adopted so late was going to be her last chance. That’s probably why a lot of information about Lise’s background was withheld from him when she chose her.
He worried that learning more about Lise’s background would change his mind. In time, they were confident that John would learn the details of Lise’s past, but until then, they were content to keep it all a secret if it meant that Lise would be successfully adopted.
John and Lise seemed to fit better
As expected, Lise and John seemed to hit it off. John, whose dream of being a father, no matter how single, was finally coming true. And Lise, happy to finally be chosen for adoption, was on her best behavior. John was a good man.
As unusual as it was for a single father to adopt a girl, John was delighted to have a new addition to his household who could fulfill his dreams of becoming a proud and caring father.
Lise’s age made her life easier
One of the things that made life easier for John was the fact that Lise was already 6 years old when she was adopted. He didn’t have to go through the challenges of raising a newborn because he didn’t have to do much to take care of her.
Lise was well behaved and independent. Lise knew the discipline of the orphanage. John’s only problem was establishing a genuine connection with her adopted daughter and showing her compassion, kindness, and support. What Lise needed was a family, and he was willing to give it to her.
Over the years…
Over the years, John strove to build a real relationship with Lise. He made an effort to spend time together when they were younger, and objectively, he believed that he had raised her well. But he felt that Lise was holding back somehow.
Throughout her childhood and adolescence, she tried to be the best parent she could be, she wanted her to trust him and feel comfortable sharing with him whatever she was concerned about. Although he tried his best, he always felt that not everything was perfect.
Lise was very withdrawn
Despite their years together, John felt that Lise remained distant and disconnected from him. After all this time, Lise was still very reclusive. He didn’t see Lise spending time with many friends her age, but she tried not to make a big deal out of it.
She perhaps she preferred to be alone with her thoughts. She didn’t try to talk to him about it either. Lise often spent most of the day in her room without John hearing a peep from her. Over time, John realized that she also spent many hours away from home after school without any explanation. He felt that she didn’t want to spend time with him.
I went with the latter…
John was confused and didn’t know what to do. On the one hand, he thought the best thing to do was to talk to his daughter and try to get her to make an effort to be more outgoing and sociable. It wasn’t normal for a teenager to spend so much time alone and without friends.
On the other hand, he wanted to give Lise the freedom and independence that she seemed to prefer. He wanted her to make her own decisions and make her own mistakes. So he decided that the best thing he could do for now was to opt for the latter.
As Lise grew older, nothing really changed. What John thought was a phase of adolescence seemed to last until Lise was 18 years old. And before long, she Lise already had to move house to go to university.
At the time, John actually thought that Lise would make more of an effort to bond with him since she was leaving home. But it seems things took a turn for the worse and it was something John really couldn’t have foreseen when he decided to adopt the 6-year-old girl.
They lost touch
In the first few weeks, John tried to keep in touch with his daughter, but it was even more difficult to do so when he was so far from home. It was hard enough keeping Lise engaged and connected when she was home.
What else happened when you were apart? Of course, this was something that made John very sad. Lise had chosen to study at a university that was a long way from her home. It was hard to go see her and visit her just to check.
He surprised his daughter
One day, John decided to travel to the university to surprise his daughter. He had been planning it for weeks and was looking forward to seeing Lise after so long. When he got to campus, he asked the front desk what room Lise was in.
But they responded with very worrying news. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard, he expected anything from that visit but this.
Lise was lying all this time
Apparently, Lise had dropped out of the university months ago without telling him about that decision. She didn’t make it past the first semester and instead of telling him, she ended up lying to him all this time.
She’s been keeping it from him all these months. And what’s worse, her Lise didn’t bother to tell him where she was staying at that time. John was filled with worry and concern. He was saddened that Lise kept it a secret, but she was even more concerned for her safety.
Tried to call her
The first thing he did was call her and send her countless text messages. But they hung up on both of her bells. While that’s to be expected, it doesn’t change the fact that he was incredibly worried.
She didn’t want to talk to him and this was something that broke her heart. He didn’t know what to do now. She thought about calling the police but she was afraid that would scare her more.
I was really worried
John felt like he had failed a father. All his life, he just wanted to have a child and raise him. He found Lise and thought it was his dream come true. But he clearly didn’t do a good job if his daughter didn’t even talk to him.
He wanted her daughter back, but if she didn’t want to see him, why would he make her? All he really wanted was to know if she was okay. He wouldn’t ask too many questions just to make sure she was safe.
His last try
It saddens him to think that, after all the years he’s spent raising the girl, her relationship as father and daughter would end like this, but he wants to know that Lise is okay. After a few minutes, he receives the confirmation.
Finally, he decided to make one last try. She was going to send Lise a message, just one from her, asking her to tell her that she was okay and if she was, she would leave her alone.
Lisa was fine…
Lise responded, simply stating that everything was okay. However, her adoptive daughter remained reticent and didn’t elaborate on the situation.
She didn’t clarify the reasons behind her decision to drop out, her current whereabouts, or whether she had any plans to meet or call John in the near future. The message felt distant and devoid of any gratitude for all the support and help John had offered her.
He has lost his daughter…
At that very moment, John felt in his gut that he had lost his daughter. Over the years, he had made an effort to get closer to her and establish a connection with her, but in that moment, he knew that was it.
He had lost Lise forever and he would probably never know why. In time, John would realize that he was wrong. But it would be another sixteen years before he heard from Lise again.
Made peace with her
Ever since John sent that last message to Lise, not a single day passed without thoughts of his adoptive daughter occupying his mind. He yearned to locate her, to have a heartfelt conversation, and understand what might have led her astray.
Years had gone by without any word from her, making the unexpected communication from her all the more surprising when it finally came.
Clearing his mind
One day, John was working in his garden. She loved having time to take care of him after she retired. He helped her focus his thoughts.
He was trimming his flowers lost in his thoughts when his phone started ringing. But before he could answer, the doorbell stopped ringing. He hardly ever called him anyone, so naturally John was suddenly curious as to who he might be.
When John checked his phone, all he saw was the missed call. There was no message, no voicemail, no text. Most of the people who needed it called the home phone.
He went in to check, but nothing was showing up on that phone either. Maybe it was all a silly misunderstanding.
By this time, John had already met Hannah – a woman he eventually married – who enjoyed the same quiet life as John. He found Hannah outside of her and asked her if she knew anything about the mysterious phone call. Hannah said she didn’t.
But Hannah, despite being married to John for a decade at this point. Both shared a tragic past that eventually brought the couple together.
Hanna’s two sons had been killed in a car accident nearly 20 years earlier. When John met her, they instantly connected and bonded over the loss of her children.
Both could understand each other’s past and sympathize with the pain and loss. But there was something else that had brought them together as well.
Soon after they met, Hannah realized that John was adorable and loving. She would stop at nothing to make her happy and she wanted to give her a wonderful life.
Thanks to him, she began to hope for the future again. It seemed that there was nothing that could stop him. But John thought very differently.
The other side
John didn’t think he had saved Hanna at all. In fact, he thought that his love for his wife had pulled him out of the sadness he felt for Lise.
Sixteen years had passed and he had finally resolved to let her go. John would never have been able to do it without Hannah’s help.
Hannah told her husband that she didn’t know about a phone call. She hadn’t given her number to anyone new.
She asked him if she had called the number back, but John hadn’t tried yet because she occasionally got him bogus calls that were a waste of time. But she didn’t hurt to check this time.
Forgetting the matter
John tried the number once, but no one answered on the other end. He thought that if it was really important, they would call him back.
He finished his work outside with his flower garden and then headed inside for a glass of wine. He hadn’t even taken a sip when his phone rang again.
Who is it?
The call was from the same person as before. John looked at the screen and wondered who he could be. He always gave his home phone number when asked.
But she always kept his cell phone in case Lise tried to contact him again. John took a deep breath and answered the call.
John hadn’t thought about Lise in a long time. However, as he held the phone to his ear, he suddenly felt nervous. He waved several times.
Nothing. However, he did not want to hang up. Nobody said anything. Then, out of nowhere, he heard an unusual voice. John wasn’t sure what to make of it.
Clearly, the caller on the other end of the line wasn’t Lise; it was a man she was reaching out to, leaving John unable to conceal his disappointment. However, amidst the conversation, faint voices in the background made him suspect the presence of a woman.
In an attempt to clarify the situation, John inquired about the identity of the man, but he received no response. This only added to his confusion and left him wondering about the true nature of the call.
As the conversation continued, John could hear the man seeking guidance from the woman on what to say next. Her voice sounded muffled, as though she was covering the receiver with her hand. The situation perplexed John, leaving him uncertain about what was unfolding.
Then, to add to the mystery, the man requested to speak with John using the woman’s name. John cleared his throat, trying to steady his emotions, and responded, “Yes, I’m John. May I ask who is calling?”
An important message
When the caller mentioned that he had something to share with John, a mix of uncertainty and suspicion swirled in his mind. He couldn’t be certain if it was yet another fake call from a scammer, a common occurrence these days.
As John contemplated ending the call, the man on the other end uttered Lise’s name, causing John to gasp in surprise. His intuition had been right; this call was indeed connected to her. The revelation caught him off guard, and he braced himself for what the man had to say, eager to finally unravel the mystery surrounding Lise’s unexpected absence.
John was worried that something terrible might have happened to Lise. Was he her emergency contact? But then the man said that Lise was next to her and that he wanted to talk to John. He was afraid that John wouldn’t want to talk to her.
“She would never do that,” John insisted. “I’d love to talk to Lise.” There was a question he was dying to ask.
John heard some static as the man passed the phone to Lise. There was no sound on the other end of the line for a few moments.
He was worried that she had changed her mind and hung up. But then he spoke, and he heard the voice of her daughter after almost two decades of nothing. “Hello Dad”.
John had no idea how to react. He was so overwhelmed with emotions that he just concentrated on staying calm.
He wanted to hear what Lise had to say without breaking down or getting dramatic about the situation. There was a lot to learn about her. Where had she been all this time?
Lise said that she had been doing well, but that she had something that she needed to get rid of. That’s why she called.
She just needed John to really listen and let her finish what she had to say. John promised her that she would. He knew it must be important if she had called after so long.
Lise began by telling her father how sorry she was for her actions and leaving him behind. When she was younger, she had been so confused about what she was instead of her.
She wasn’t sure staying with John was the right thing to do. But that was only a part. There was another reason too.
John wanted to know why Lise had ignored him and hadn’t tried to get in touch. He had tried to keep in touch and get closer and build a relationship with Lise. Lise was crying, and John hated to hurt her, but he needed to know.
The question had stuck in his head for years. Lise pulled herself together and began to tell her father the truth of the whole situation.
Lise told John about a girl she had met in college who was also adopted. Both were interested in finding out more about their biological parents. It felt like a trip they had to take.
Lise’s friend convinced her to avoid contacting John again until her feelings towards her parents were resolved. But that was not all. Lise had another confession to make.
Forever and always
Lise explained that she had been too nervous to get back in touch. She knew that she had hurt John by leaving her and she didn’t think he wanted to reconnect with her.
John assured her that he was constantly thinking about her and that nothing he did would change how he felt about her. But he also wanted to know if Lise had found her biological parents.
The whole story
Lise had found some information about her birth parents years ago and decided to track them down. She looked up the address and went to visit the house.
Before she could get there, she was robbed while she was walking through the neighborhood. She lost everything she had. But Lise kept going, determined to find out more about her origin.
A friendly hand
Lise had no money and no phone, but she kept trying to find the house. Finally, she recognized it from the photos she had seen on the Internet.
Her biological parents no longer lived there. But one of her neighbors told her that they had gone to rehab for drug addiction. Things got even more complicated for Lise after that.
Lise didn’t know what else to do, so she went to live with a friend while she got back to working on her career. After graduating, she wasn’t sure where she wanted to live.
Finding an affordable apartment was difficult, and many of her friends from her college were moving away. How was she going to get ahead?
A lucky break
Eventually, Lise encountered the love of her life, and upon careful consideration, she embraced his proposal to move in together.
They remained a strong and devoted couple, and he wholeheartedly supported her desire to reconnect with John. Despite his encouragement, Lise didn’t act on it immediately, taking her time to decide the best approach to reach out and rekindle their relationship.
Lise couldn’t help but panic that John would reject her and be too upset to let her back into his life. She was terrified that John would stop thinking of her as her daughter, even though she had never given him a reason to believe so little in him.
Once she realized that he loved her unconditionally, she began to investigate where John had ended up. It was harder than she thought.
Following the track
John hadn’t left much of a trail for Lise to follow. After so many years, he didn’t seriously believe that she would come back.
Lise went to her old house and got John’s last known phone number. It was her turn to jump in and make the call. And still, she waited. And she waited. But why?
There is no good answer
When John asked her why she hadn’t called him right away, Lise had no reason. She needed to work on herself and steel herself to face her decisions from her past.
But now that she had, John and Lise could be a family again. At last they spoke. John, however, had an important request.
John wanted to see her in person. Two weeks later, they met up and introduced Hannah and Lise’s boyfriend as well.
Over time, John and Hannah moved closer to her to be with her, and they were able to visit as often as they wanted. It was a happy ending that was many years in the making, but for John, better late than never.
* This story is a work of fiction intended for entertainment. The characters and events are the product of the author’s imagination. The images shown are for illustrative purposes only.