After almost 30 years of searching unsuccessfully for her natural father, Vicki Lane Brooks gave up hope last month, convinced she had failed.
Unbeknownst to the Sebring resident, her father Joseph Lipman had been trying to locate her. Earlier this month when she answered her telephone, she heard, "This is Daddy.""When he said `This is Daddy,' I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn't stop crying. I had never heard those words before," Brooks said this week. "We talked for 2 1/2 hours."
Three days later, on Sept. 13, she got her first look at her father when the retired owner of a New Jersey electric motor company flew into Orlando from his Lakewood, N.J., home.
I looked up and saw him coming through the doors and I instantly knew who he was," she told The Tampa Tribune. "I had no doubt that he was my father. I just knew it was him."
She said she recognized him from photographs she had, and by instinct.
Lipman, 66, spent five days visiting his daughter, her husband Roy, their four children and two grandchildren.
Brooks, 45, said the reunion was a dream come true for her.
"I know a lot of children grow up without having their fathers around, but it was traumatic for me," she said.
Brooks said she was born in Texarkana, Ark., July 1, 1943. Lipman was a Marine recruiter and had met and married her mother while on a recruiting drive in Arkansas. She said her parents divorced a few months after she was born and he was transferred overseas.
As she was growing up, she had a Bible signed "Daddy Lipman" and other mementos to remind her of him, including a black and white photograph of him cradling her in his arms.
She said her mother never told her much about her father and at 15 she decided to try to locate him.
Brooks said she wrote letters to everyone she could locate with the last name of Lipman, but none knew him and she finally gave up hope last month.
By that time, Lipman was well into his search. He went to his former wife's hometown in Arkansas where he found a distant cousin of Brooks who had her telephone number, and contact was made.