Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Long Lost Families Belgium | Alain Hoeckx finds his father after 24 years. | Vind Mijn Familie

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Our second story begins in Antwerp.

The 24 year old Alain

is desperately looking for

his mysterious Irish father.

Who used to work in the port of Antwerp.

"Long Lost Families Belgium"

Alain is a 24 year old webdesigner.

He was raised by his mom as an only child.

His father was Irish

and worked in the port of Antwerp 24 years ago.

But Alain never knew him...

My Father was an underwater welder in the late 80'ies

in Antwerp where he had a short relationship with my mom.

But he... he went back short after I was born

I assume Ireland.

I haven't got much information

because my mom knows very little about him.

I know his name is Tim or Timothy.

He would have one blue and one green eye.

I've probably got my stature

from my father according to my mom.

But that's about all the information I've got.

Alain also knows that the relationship

between his mother and father already ended when he was born.

But why he didn't hear anything from

his father in 24 years stays a mystery to Alain.

I've never actually got an answer to my questions.

Why did he leave ?

Why didn't he stay?

I only know that he gave the option

to my mom to take me with him.

He said: " I also want to take care of him."

"If you don't want the child I'm willing to take it with me."

But my mom had a connection with me

since she had been carrying me for 9 months.

She wouldn't gave away her baby.

She wanted to raise me.

Even if she had to do alone.

And so she did.

I am very thankful and grateful

that she raised me alone

for such a long time as a single mother.

The bond between Alain and his mother is still there

Growing up without a father was

heavy at certain moments for Alain.

I've been occasionally confronted with it in elementary school

When classmates and friends had to make

drawings for their father for Father's Day or Christmas.

Then I had to make a drawing for my mother

As a child you're been confronted with the fact:

I've got no father

there's no father figure.

All other classmates and friends do have that.

Surely there is something wrong.

There's something not right.

It's not until puberty that I increasingly began to think:

Where do I come from? Who's my father?

There has to be someone?

A child always has a father and a mother...

The desire to find his father has been growing ever since.

Alain lives together with his girlfriend Kelly

who has grown up in a traditional family.

The fact that Alain grew up without a father

comes back regularly in conversations with Kelly.

I once asked :

"Can you say Dad?"

And then it's like ...dad.

If you never had to say that

It becomes a weird word.

It's weird to say.

It's not like you.

That's true.

Alain has been looking active

for his father for 8 years.

His mother has very little information

So Alain tried other ways to find some clues.

I went to the town hall to ask for my birth certificate.

To see if the name of my father would be listed on there.

or he would have recognized me.

That was not the case.

It was a dead end.

There was just the name of my mother

and that I've got the last name

of my mother not my father's.

So that's how I only had a first name

to start my search to him.

Wich - obviously - isn't enough.

if you have a surname you can search on facebook

Or you can try to visit some Irish pubs

to see if anyone has know him.

But without a surname and

certainly with a frequent name like Tim

or Timothy... There're a million people with that name.

Especially in Ireland.

A little bit further is the pub

Where my mother met my father.

Several years ago.

I've been in the bar to ask

if they knew someone with the name Tim

or if they knew my mother.

But the owners have changed

several times during the years.

They couldn't tell me anything new.

All the attempts that Alain has taken

over the past eight years to find his father failed.

Long Lost Families is his only hope.

To me it's now or never.

I want to get to know him.

I want to know what he's up to.

Is he still an underwater welder?

Which character traits do I've got from him?

Are there more relatives?

The stereotype of the Irish is

that they've got big families.

Therefore I also have formed that image

already that I've got a big family

with many brothers sisters uncles aunts...

I just want someone of who I can say:

that's my father.

To have a beer with and have a good chat..

As a father and son would usually do.

Catch up on the time we haven't had

together for the past 24 years.

Alain is looking for his biological father.

We don't have a surname.

We don't know how old he is.

What we do know is the following:

He's Irish.

His first name is Tim or Timothy.

He has a green and a blue eye.

Wich is quite exceptional.

and he worked as

an underwater welder 25 years ago.

Underwater Welders are specialized scuba divers

who perform welding work on drilling platforms pipelines and ships.

We start our search at the most obvious place:

The port of Antwerp.

We contact as many companies as we possible can

who hire underwater welders.

Unfortunately without any success.

Our online posts on diving forums

don't deliver any results.

Meanwhile we're also looking into a second lead.

We're going back to the place

where Alain's mother met his father.

Tavern "Het Leemputje".

Alain has been here before

without any success.

The current owners don't know his father.

We've spoken with the previous proprietress.

She does remember a charmy Irish man.

She brings us into contact with an associate.

This associate tells us Tim's surname:

"Mullane"

Apparently he now works as an engineer

on temporary assignments all over the world.

Eventually we find a trace of him in Norway.

He would be working here on a drilling platform

near the harbor of Stavanger.

We're in contact with the employer of Tim.

He was able to tell us

that Tim's contract has just finished

two weeks ago.

We're just too late.

He did tell us that Tim has returned to Ireland

- where he's from -

and he did gave us an address.

So now it's just a matter of taking the plane!

I've called Tim and informed him of my arrival.

I've also told him the reason of my visit.

He was very surprised

but he's willing to meet me.

Tim lives in Salt Bridge.

About an hour drive from Dublin.

He lives here with his partner and his son.

For years Alain has been looking for his Irish father Tim.

We found a man near dublin who met his definition.

To make sure that this man was the father we did a DNA test.

Today I'm going with the results to Alain.

Here we go the working man.

Hi Francesca.

How was your day?

Alright. Busy but alright.

I suggest that we talk about your search.

Great. I'll let you in.

You gave us a few clues.

We started to work with

and after a lot of detours

we've found a man who meets your characteristics.

He currently lives in Ireland.

But I'll let you discover

if he's your father.

-The paternity test is positive -

Okay ...

It's strange know ...

with certainty that he's my father.

It was my final hope.

It feels great that you guys succeeded.

I see that you are very happy.

I'm very happy!

I assume that you are also curious.

Yes indeed!

How does he look like? How is he?

I'll show you a picture.

Here you go.

What do you think?

It's ... It's strange to see.

Now all of a sudden I see him.

It's very strange but ...

Are there things that you recognize?

Maybe those "Mickey Mouses" that I'm starting to have.

I think I look a lot like my mother.

Let me tell you a few things

about your father.

His surname is Mullane.

At this moment he's in Ireland.

He told me that

he presumed 25 years ago

that you'd be his son.

He suggested a bloodtest.

Your mother rejected that.

He thought:

"Well then she'll know that i'm not the father."

Shortly after he left Antwerp

and went on with his life.

Okay that's...

good to hear.

The story is being shaped now.

You've always heard one side of the story

and now you hear the other side of the story.

Your father has also written you a letter.

Here you go.

It's good to read that he wants to get to know me

and wants to meet me.

I was thinking:

What if I find him but he doesn't

want to see me ...

Then it's over. You can't force anyone.

Now that I read this.

It feels great.

It does something to me.

Interesting to know is that

you've got two half-brothers!

The oldest one's called Taidgh.

He's 27.

And then there's a younger brother

He's 18.

His name is Shaun.

It's weird to hear as an only child

that I've got brothers.

Very weird.

That's something that've

been missing during my childhood.

Being able to play with brothers and...

to talk about certain things

that you can't talk about with your parents

In this case my mother.

I'm really looking forward to get to know them.

Alain Ireland ain't that far.

It's almost weekend...

let's go to them together.

Alright!

It's about an hour from Dublin so...

An early flight and a few hours later and we're there!

I'm really looking forward.

Francesca has been here.

Really?

They've found him.

No you'd got to be kidding me? Really?

I've got a picture of him.

You've got a picture?!

No wait I'm not going to look.

Can I look?

That's your father!

You don't really look like him. - No.

That's not you.

You've got everything from your mom.

It's weird right?

That's your dad.

We're going to him on saturday.

No you're kidding.

You're joking!

To Ireland.

It's for real ? It's for real!

How do you feel now?

Normal I'm feel normal.

I'm just a bit nervous.

I bet you are. Oh my God!

That's great.

Yes it's great but weird

To me it's unreal.

I've had this feeling of not

having a father for so long

and now all of a sudden I do have a father.

I'm still not realizing it.

It does feel great to know that I've got a father.

and that he's still there.

And that he's willing to meet me.

Great!

- after the break -

I'm going to tell you

where he's waiting for you.

You see those stairs?

Right behind there is Tim waiting for you.

Come on! Go go go!

Good luck!

Alain has never known his father Tim.

But today it's all about to change.

Within a few moments Alain will face his father.

Who disappeared after Alain's birth.

My girlfriend had right before I left

posted something on my Facebook.

I really thought it was...

You know that song from Stromae?

Papaoutai?

She posted on my Facebook.

In French...

Starting from today

Plus jamais 'Papaoutai'

That's so sweet!

( Never again dad Where are you? )

So now we are on our way to...

your father.

Yes indeed. It's getting closer.

Nerves. Nerves.

I'm excited: What's about to happen?

How's the meeting going to be?

Do I've have to act a certain way?

But then I'm like no just be yourself.

Just do as you think you should.

It's difficult. It's...

Thinking about the fact that

after 24 years the search is over.

I'm finally going to get answers:

Who's he? what's he like?

What has he been doing all these years?

It's ...

It's very exciting.

For Tim this is also an excited moment.

Since he received the results of the DNA-test.

He's been eager to meet his new son.

You've got to admit it's...

incredibly beautiful.

Okay enjoy this moment to the fullest.

You've so looking forward to this.

Enjoy the moment.

I'll tell you where he's waiting for you.

You see those stairs?

To the left you see the dunes

behind the dunes

Tim is waiting for you.

He's probably just as nervous as you are.

Okay.

Come on! Go go go.

Good luck!

It's a stranger that you see

and then suddenly

it turns out to be your father.

It's all a bit strange.

But I'm very happy that finally

all the pieces of the puzzle

seem to fall into place.

Tim wants to introduce his lost son

to the rest of the family.

In a nearby pub are his partner Patricia

and his youngest son Shaun

waiting for Alain.

I'm very happy that I've met his partner.

and strange to say ...

but getting to know my half-brother.

I felt immediately accepted.

A hug straight away.

It felt so right.

I've got 24 years to catch up to.

There are some many things we can talk about.

We can spend days

weeks months in a pub.

To tell all the stories.

I'm looking forward to spend Christmas together

and to go out again.

Going to pubs. Hear great stories.

I'm REALLY happy.

Alain will soon meet his older brother.

He feels very welcome in his new Irish family.

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