￼Here, Jessica tells the story in her own words.
Mum, can I have a DNA testing kit for Christmas?’ asked my daughter, Alice.
It may seem like a strange present request from an 11-year-old but I thought it might be fun.
‘We don’t know anything about your father’s heritage so it’ll be interesting to find out,’ I said.
I’d had Alice using an anonymous sperm donor and, apart from a few scant details, he was a mystery.
‘He has brown hair and did a college degree in creative writing,’ I’d always told Alice. ‘He was a taxi driver and musician and he liked sports and music.’
She was never that curious to know more... until now.
As we looked at the results a month later, I quickly realised Alice was closely related to two people on the company’s DNA database.
‘Oh my goodness,’ I gasped. ‘You have a half-brother called Bryce.’ And there was more.
‘Your dad’s on here too! He’s called Aaron Long.’
Although Alice seemed underwhelmed, I was amazed!
There was no photo or other information so I started researching and found a sweet-looking guy.
‘This is him!’ I showed Alice. With her agreement we sent him a message.
I’m Alice’s mum, I wrote, explaining he was Alice’s biological father. If you are open to it we can exchange photos.
I sent a message to Bryce, 21, too, and within hours both had replied.
It turned out Alice had six other half-brothers and sisters who were all sperm-donor kids too!
Aaron, 52, was very happy to be in contact with all the children he’d fathered.
I’ve written up my life history for the kids who’ve found me, he typed, sending a 16-page document for us to read.
With 11 years of not knowing anything about her dad, Alice and I devoured it.
‘He used to play in a band that came to our town every weekend,’ I laughed. ‘We probably walked past him in the street!’
Although he lived over 500 kilometres away, I was keen to meet the man who’d given me my daughter – my greatest ever gift.
After lots of emails and phone calls, that became a possibility in July 2017.
Aaron organised a ‘meet the kids’ party and invited everyone to visit. Bryce, a half-sister Madi, 19, and Alice went along.
‘Are you nervous?’ I asked Alice as we stopped outside his building.
A typical teenager she just shrugged but as we went inside it was very tense!
Madi, Bryce and Alice sat awkwardly on the lounge as Aaron shyly chatted to them.
Once I saw Alice relax, I turned my attention to Aaron.
He’d never had his own kids so this must be very overwhelming, but he was doing brilliantly. He’s lovely, I thought, relieved.
He was so easy to chat to. It came up that my previous boyfriend was called Aaron David, just like him.
‘Perhaps there was a mix-up at the bureau of boyfriends,’ he joked.
Blushing, I laughed it off but I definitely felt a spark.
This is Alice’s relationship, I can’t jump in and mess it up, I thought.
But spending more time together over the next week, I could feel myself falling for him. I could tell he felt the same.
After mulling it over, I spoke to Alice.
‘How would you feel if Aaron and I went on a date?’ I asked her. ‘If you say no, I won’t go.’
‘That’s fine,’ she smiled and I could tell it was. She liked Aaron but she didn’t see him as a dad.
Aaron didn’t seem to see it as a problem either.
‘It feels so right,’ he said, pulling me in for our first kiss. It did but I was also panicking about screwing things up. I can’t break up with Alice’s dad! I worried. I thought about it constantly.
There was no rule book for this - no-one else seemed to be dating the father of their child after meeting him 12 years after she was born!
‘It’s amazing, like a movie,’ friends encouraged.
‘Let’s just see where it takes us,’ Aaron said. I had to trust it would be okay.
Within months of meeting him, Alice and I moved to live closer to Aaron and now we all live together. Madi has moved in too. It’s like some funny Brady Bunch experiment!
Alice is loving getting to know her new siblings and they’re all so similar which is amazing to see.
Aaron and I are so happy too and very much in love. It feels like we were fated to be together.
We haven’t thought about marriage just yet, but of course everyone asks us if we’ll have more kids!
Although I think probably not. It’s ironic that a man with so many children has never had a sleepless night with a crying baby – and I think that’s the way he’d like to keep it!
Read more in this week's issue of that's life, on sale now.
WATCH... Talented dog blows out candle on cake for his birthday: