Valdosta woman finds father after years of searching

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 21, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The search is over for one Valdosta woman after experiencing what she calls a beautiful blessing.

Last summer, Roxanne Colón found the answers she's been looking for her whole life. An afternoon playing cards at home is now just a typical day, but it's one decades in the making.

Colón now lives in Valdosta and spent much of her life without a biological father.

"When you grow up not knowing who your biological father is, and you look in the mirror and you've got half an identity," Colón said.

When her mother passed about 11 years ago she went searching for her father. She had one name, one lead from her mother's past. But a DNA test showed no match.

"I was really crushed at that point because I had nothing else to go by," Colón said. "My mom was gone, I couldn't ask her."

Guided only be her strong well, she kept looking, joining a genealogical network. For years nothing amounted from her search, until last summer.

"I remember I was so excited, I told my husband, I ran in there and I said look, I think I found my father's people," Colón said.

An aunt suddenly listed on her ancestry registry, so she got in touch.

"She says, 'You know honey,' she says 'I have one brother left and his name is James, he lives in the middle of Florida, he's 76, he suffered a stroke but he's never had any children,'" Colón recounted the conversation.

His name is James Melville James. He had his doubts, but agreed to a DNA test. The results took six weeks.

"I'll never forget the words across the top of the app, it said 'Your wait is over,' and right under my name was my father's name, James. I started crying, I was like, I found my father," Colón said.

It was a perfect match.

James remember hearing the news from his sister, Colón's aunt.

"Just a moment of silence, and I think I said to her, 'Are you sure,'" James said.

Just a few weeks after the result, the two met for the first time.

"I said 'Yes sir, my name is Roxanne, I'm your daughter, and he goes 'Oh wow,' he goes 'I'm so sorry I didn't know about you.' And I said I understand," Colón said. "I can see a lot of myself in him and vice versa, I know where I get my brown eyes, I know where I get a lot of my tendencies."

James was a drummer in the band, The Paxtons, for 20 years. Colón's mother was a dancer. The two learned that they likely crossed paths in Tampa, James' hometown.

Father and daughter formed an instant bond, filling a void in the whole family.

"So that my children can know their origins, their roots, their people, their tribe," Colón said. "I found my tribe."

James now lives in Valdosta with his daughter, building new memories every day.

"Everything means something sooner or later, and I just marvel at her perseverance," James said."Don't ever give up, Don't ever give up."

The two are proving blood runs thicker than lost time.

James not only gained a daughter, but he now has four grandchildren and at least 10 great grandchildren. He hasn't met all of his grandchildren yet because they live out of state, but they hope to get the chance this summer.

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