Paradise Lost: A Teenager Searches For Answers About His Family
This week Dayton Youth Radio begins a new season of stories from Miami Valley teenagers. Today we'll meet Dalton Moore, a senior at Centerville High School, who is struggling to find an answer about his past.
I was four years old; my life was simple and happy life. It was me, my mom and Tommy, my dad. Or at least the man I thought was my dad. I enjoyed living life with my sisters. My family and I did everything together. We were always at the park, riding our bikes all over Dayton. It was like we ran our neighborhood, even though we were all young.
We were all spoiled little brats. We got everything we asked for and more. I remembered our favorite candy was Now & Later. After school we would walk to this store called Everyday on the corner - now that's pretty ironic because we literally went there everyday.
My mom divorced Tommy when I was four. When Tommy moved out, my life changed dramatically - no more happy family. What people don't know and well, what I didn't know was that the man my mom was married to wasn't my dad. I was still confused. I became even more confused when my mom introduced me to my biological dad. I can't really remember where I met my dad, I can only remember that it happened.
My biological dad is Anthony Moore. My first clear memory of him is this big man wearing a white thermal shirt, blue jeans and black leather steel toed boots; I remember him driving a brown pickup truck. My dad said my mom never told him that I was born. She has told me this multiple times throughout my life. My mom said my dad just denied the fact that I was his or that she was even pregnant.
From then, till I was nine years old, I saw my dad every Tuesday & Thursday. When I was nine, he was given full custody of me, and I’ve lived with him ever since.
Living with my dad is different than being with my mom. The hardest part of my mom and dad not being together was when it came to school. I grew up in Dayton and part of the custody arrangement meant I had to switch Centerville schools. It was different. Everyone in class seemed to know what they were doing. They were doing multiplication and division, but I was still learning addition and subtraction. I was lost.
I don't really know why he got custody; he would never tell me. He would always say, "I'll tell you when you’re older." I'm 17 now, dad, I think I'm old enough. I see my mom every Wednesday and every other weekend. But I miss my family.
My mom has since remarried and had another child. Brennan was born after I started living with my dad. I’ll never know Brennan as well as I’d like as I am just a visitor in his life. Two of my sisters are in college. I think about what it could have been like, to grow up together as one family in the same household.
I miss the day to day comings and goings of family life. I rarely see my brothers and sisters and that has really taken a toll on me. It hurts
My story is about what it was like for me not knowing who my dad was and then when I found out who he is, being taken away from my mom and family. Why was I separated from the only family I knew that I had at the time to a person I never met, never knew, never knew anyone in his family, knew nothing about him?
I didn't know why, I still don't know why I had to be separated. I was never really asked which one I prefer. Why did I have to be taken away from my brother and sisters?
Mom and Dad, please tell me why.
Dalton Moore is a student at Centerville High School. Special Thanks to Tricia Rapoch, teacher for the Communication Arts Program at Centerville High School. Learn more at the school's website: http://www.centerville.k12.oh.us/CHS
Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.