Facebook helps reunite family split by divorce

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 10:19 PM

No matter how old you are, one thing is certain: At some point, you're going to need your mother and your father.

But for so many kids, divorce keeps them stuck in the middle.

After 38 years of secrets, silent frustration and futile searches, Bruce, Sharon and Charlene Beaty credit the social media site Facebook for reuniting them with their dad.

"I never knew what he looked like," said Charlene, now an adult.

"I wanted to find my dad," added her sister Sharon.

Bruce Beaty explained that for two years, his cousin Paul messaged every single person he could find with the last name Beaty in Dallas and Fort Worth. His goal was to find Bruce and his sisters.

Paul said it was like finding a needle in a haystack — until he reached Charlene.

“She started to challenge me," Paul Beaty said. "She said, 'Is this really legit? This is far-fetched!'"

Like so many children of divorce, Bruce, Charlene and Sharon found themselves stuck in the middle.

Their father moved out and their mother moved to a new, undisclosed location.

No one would say where their father Preston was.

"Mom would always say, 'Don't ask me that question any more,'" said Bruce with tears in his eyes.

The exile cost Preston Beaty missed holidays, graduation and even the birth of his grandchild. He said he turned to prayer when he couldn't afford an attorney.

“I didn't want them to see me cry," Preston said.

Sharon, the youngest sibling, said typos on her birth certificate and even a newspaper article led her on wild goose chases until her sister Charlene got a message in her in-box — the one from Paul.

"I just want to enjoy this time; this is all I want to do," Charlene said as she started to cry.

Charlene is grateful, and her dad said he’s staying put — and no one or no thing will ever separate them again.

“I'm not bitter," Bruce said. "I'm just worried about going forward. I would love to get to know my daddy from this day forward."

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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