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We’ve all heard those stories of special, almost miraculous events that have happened to others. But if you’re like me, you never believe those things can happen to you. It’s like having a burning desire in your heart, and you realize it may be a long shot, but it will happen. Then there are those desires you know can never come true, no matter how much you want them to or how much you pray for them. But for some strange reason, you prepare for it to happen….you know, just in case.

Here, I need to give you some background information to keep you up. On July 14, 2000, I had a daughter whom I had fathered but never saw her. Her mother had moved away right after she got pregnant, and I didn’t even know she was. I received a call simply telling me I had a daughter, her birth date, and her name; then, on November 27, 2000, I was arrested and sentenced to prison on September 10, 2001 – the day before the 9/11 attack. I wanted to see my baby girl, but it didn’t look like that would ever happen. But I would write her letters and make her cards for holidays and her birthday. Believing she’d never see them, I collected them in a big brown envelope with her name.

The years slowly trickled by, and her age was easy to keep up with because whatever the year was, that’s how old she was (i.e., in 2010, she was ten; in 2015, she was 15; and so forth). Sometimes, I’d hope and pray that when she turned 18, she would want to find and meet me. But then I’d think she’s probably heard all sorts of horrible things about me, so she’d never want to see me. Her 18th, 19th, and 20th birthdays came and passed, followed by her 21st and 22nd birthdays, and I had all but given up hope.

Then the Christmas season began in December of 2022, and on December 9, I received a short letter that fulfilled my heart’s desire and was the answer to years of continuous prayers. It read, “So writing letters isn’t exactly my strong suit, but something has been missing. I have met my biological mother, but not you. And you are my biological father.”

As I read her words, my throat tightened, and my eyes began to tear up as I continued to read; she said, “My name is Kiki, I’m twenty-two years old, and I have so many questions, and I know that not even half of them actually, not even a fraction of them would fit in this letter. You and I know you don’t have to respond to or even read this letter, but I am told that you and I are pretty similar. I have heard that you like to read. I love reading, and I also write short stories and poetry. I also heard you like art; I enjoy drawing, sketching, coloring, and painting. Mr. Marion, I know a little about you, and I think you might hopefully reach out to me. I want to meet you because we are family, you’re my father and I hope you will understand. I was adopted when I was a baby. I found out when I was five. I have wanted to know my birth family for a long time; all the people I was close to in my adopted family are either dead or dying. Which only reminds me that time is essential. Time with family is precious. My fiance is also adopted, and his biological father passed away just before he could meet him. So I’m asking for a chance to meet my father, please.”

-Kiki-

When I’d finished, I sat on my bed and wept. There was no shame in it; I simply cried my heart out. I am so moved, touched, and thankful to the one who answers prayers. My daughter (and her son born this past July 2024) are part of my life. As a father and grandfather, I want to do so much for them but can’t. I’m serving a life sentence in Arkansas, a state that doesn’t pay their inmates for our labor. So, for now, I provide them with my love and share my knowledge of our family history with her.

Well, that’s my happiest memory in the last 24 years. There’s so much more to this story that I’d be willing to share with any serious inquiries.

One Comment

  • Sarah Roe Voorheis says:

    Hi! I really love this story, and would like to hear more and see some of Marion’s art. I have a long history of incarcerated pen pals that started in my home state of Arkansas, and I am hoping that I can get an address. Thank you so much for sharing!

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