“I will be 60 in August. I thought I was done having kids!” Pastor Ric Beals may have thought there would be no more kids coming into his world, but this past February, he discovered a sweet, young lady that would not only steal his heart, but would prove to be his daughter. The daughter he did not know he had and the daughter he is over the moon thrilled to have.
How did this happen? The story is amazing, fun and wonderful.
Earlier this year, Pastor Ric submitted a DNA sample to ancestry.com. “I had been a member of ancestry.com for a while and finally decided to submit a DNA sample and see if I could find out a little bit more about my heritage and ancestors. That was the sole purpose for sending in a DNA sample and that is how this whole story began,” he explained.
After submitting the DNA, Pastor Ric received several matches, as he expected. One, however, was not expected.
“One was my sister and a cousin and then there was this other person I didn’t recognize. My first thought was that my dad was engaged to someone before my mom and maybe this person came from there. But the description said the match was a ‘parent/child.’ And then I checked the picture that had been sent and the likeness to me was uncanny,” he shared.
The picture was of a young woman, now 38 years old. She had his nose and his eyes. “The resemblance was so strong. It was at that moment, I just knew she had to be my daughter. I freaked out a little bit and realized two things, one, I need to contact her and two, I have to tell my wife (Susie).”
So, Pastor Ric, did “what any normal person would do, I stalked her on Facebook,” he said laughing. What he found there and on ancestry.com, were more pictures of her and one of those was taken with her mom, the woman Pastor Ric had known 30-plus years ago. He also found a telephone number for this mystery woman, one that she had provided, because, as it turned out, she, Brandi Wilson, had been looking for her biological father for a very long time. And it would seem, she found him.
With her cell phone number in hand, Pastor Ric texted Brandi and told her who he was and that he was sure, no, very sure, he was her father. “She immediately called me back and after talking for a few minutes, she was crying tears of joy. We were both crying. I told her about Susie, my wife and then told her that we have two boys, so now she has brothers. She cried again after that, as she is an only child.”
After a fabulous conversation with his newly found daughter, Pastor Ric went home and told his wife. “Susie was nothing but supportive and recognized, as I did, that this happened a very long time ago. And we both felt bad that we didn’t know about her sooner and could have welcomed her into our family with open arms. But God’s timing is perfect and now that we know, that is exactly what we were going to do, welcome her into our family.”
He continued, “I knew, without a doubt, that she was my daughter, but after talking to Brandi, she assured me it was important to put everyone’s possible doubts to rest and get a paternity test. Which we did and the results came back 99.9 percent a match.”
Brandi’s mom had always told her daughter she did not know who her biological father was. “I had been asking about my dad for a very long time,” Brandi said, “and her stories always changed. I finally quit asking and in 1999, I started looking on my own and hoping I could figure it out.”
For Brandi, finding her dad would be a dream come true, literally. “I always dreamt that he was going to be a good person, stable and loving and in my dream, he would want me and just never knew about me and that was why I never knew him,” she shared.
When ancestry.com became a “thing,” Brandi immediately sent in her DNA. “I had been trying other avenues and this one seemed like a good way to see if there was a paternal match out there. But after a year with no luck, I felt worn out and stopped looking. And then on Feb. 23 of this year, I got a message that I needed to talk to a man named Ric Beals,” she said.
She added, “I was a little apprehensive because I had had a few clues on other possibilities and they didn’t work out. But somehow, this one felt different and after talking to him, I just knew he was my dad.”
For Brandi, the man named Ric Beals ended up being just like the man she had been dreaming of for many years. “It was just like I dreamt. Even now, I keep pinching myself because it sometimes feels like I am still in that dream world. Now, not only do I finally have a dad, I have a whole family and new brothers, too, and my three children have grandparents.”
Brandi currently lives in Huntsville, Ala., with her three children, Laynee, who is 11 years old, Breanna, who is 10 years old and Chaz, who is eight. She is a licensed medical massage therapist.
Brandi’s mother passed away in 2003 when she was killed in a car accident. Ric had not spoken to her since that one night back in 1979.
“I had not spoken to Brandi’s mom since the night she was conceived. What was a moment of bad judgment back when I was young, has turned into an incredible blessing,” Pastor Ric said.
Pastor Ric has given the happy news to both the churches he serves, First Presbyterian Church and St. Paul Lutheran Church. “I have been open with everyone about this and very transparent over how it happened. The churches and congregations have been overjoyed for me as have so many others that I have shared the news with. We are thrilled to add a daughter into our lives.”
The Beals met their new daughter and her children on a recent trip to Alabama and it was, as expected, love at first sight for the entire family. Now it is Brandi’s turn to come for a visit, which she will be doing right after Father’s Day, a holiday she is very excited to enjoy, now that she has a dad.
“This is a dream come true for me. And now, after all these years, I get to put a name on my birth certificate. That line has been blank for all these years and I know it seems odd, but that was very important to me to be able to fill that space,” said Brandi.
Not only did she fill that space, but she filled the one in her heart too. Pastor Ric was the father she had been dreaming of, a wonderful man who would want a daughter.
“This has all been so great. It’s funny, because when I first found out about her, I was a bit shocked, but knew I had to do the right thing and tell her about me. And now, just three months later, I have a daughter and a growing, loving relationship with her. We both can honestly say, we are looking forward to a future together,” Pastor Ric concluded.