Until she was 18, mum-of-four Natalie Byers, 36, had no idea that her mum’s husband was not her real dad.
Not long after she learned the truth her mother promised to help her find him but was struck down my a devastating cancer diagnosis.
‘All thoughts of finding my father went out of the window while I supported mum through chemo,’ Natalie told that’s life!
Sadly Natalie’s mum Nicci passed away eight years later and the trail ran cold on finding her father - who she knew was called Wayne Lewis.
Desperate for answers, she posted on a missing family members group on Facebook and was astonished to be contacted by none other that her father - Wayne Lewis.
’'That would be me’ he typed,’ laughed Natalie. After speaking on the phone they arranged to meet, and Wayne with his wife Deborah went to visit Natalie at home.
‘It was the best hug of my life,’ Natalie recalls of their first meeting.
‘I felt like I’d found an instant family.’
Natalie learned that Wayne had been keen to stay a part of her life but had been pushed away.
‘Mum had told him that I wasn’t his baby and he needn’t stay in touch,’ she explains.
She couldn’t believe how close they’d come to crossing paths earlier.
‘Unbelievably, when I was nine, he unknowingly moved three doors down from my family home!’
Natalie is delighted that her four kids, Caleb, 17, Jakob, 15, Lacy, 10, and Seth, 5, will get to have a whole new relationship with their grandparents.
‘We speak on the phone every night,’ she says.
‘I finally feel like I belong.’
Read more of Natalie's story and other amazing real Aussie stories in Issue 4 of that's life!