Today, we delve into the remarkable tale of Brad Ewell, a dedicated police officer whose life takes an unexpected turn following a DNA test. This episode uncovers how Brad’s quest to understand his heritage leads to the startling discovery that his biological father is not just a stranger, but a man serving life in prison. Brace yourself for a journey filled with profound revelations about identity, the complexities of family bonds, and the resilience required to face them. Brad’s story is not just about uncovering hidden truths; it’s a testament to the power of acceptance and the surprising ways our lives can intertwine with the law and lineage. Join us as we explore this incredible intersection of policing, paternity and personal discovery.
NPE Held Prisoner by Parental Secrets
- The Moment of Discovery: Brad shares the shocking moment he learned of his adoption through a DNA test, painting a vivid picture of his initial disbelief and the ensuing emotional turmoil.
- Connecting with Biological Family: He recounts his experiences of connecting with his biological father, who had been in prison for most of Brad’s life, and their unexpected bond.
- Reunions and Realizations: Brad’s story of meeting his biological siblings for the first time offers a heartwarming insight into the complexities of newfound family relationships.
- Navigating Personal and Family Identity: Brad discusses the challenges and revelations of integrating his newfound identity with his life as a police officer and a family man.
- Advocacy and Legal Battles: His involvement in changing legislation for prisoners in Louisiana, specifically for those like his biological father, is both inspiring and enlightening.
- The Role of Support Systems: Brad emphasizes the importance of support from loved ones and professional help in navigating his journey.
- Reflections and Moving Forward: He shares his reflections on identity, family, and the unpredictability of life, offering wisdom and insights gleaned from his unique experiences.
Brad Ewell is a police officer in the Dallas, Texas area. He is married and has three children. For the first 48 years of his life, Brad believed he was raised by his biological family. That changed in 2019 when someone he matched from an Ancestry DNA test contacted him. In less than 24 hours Brad became a Late Discovery Adoptee with a MPE. Since that time he is in reunion with several biological family members including his biological father and four siblings. He is passionate about the right of every person to know their true genetic identity. While he knows his biological history, he still has to go to court if he wants to have his records unsealed. Brad has written essays and an article for Severance Magazine and is currently working on other essays and a memoir. You can find him on Instagram.
In today’s episode, we witnessed an extraordinary narrative of discovery, resilience, and the intricate web of family ties. Brad’s story is more than just a tale of finding truth; it’s a profound exploration of identity, the unexpected bonds of kinship, and the strength it takes to embrace them. His journey challenges us to think about our own roots and the surprising paths they may lead us on. If Brad’s remarkable story has touched you or sparked curiosity about your own family history, we’d love to hear from you. Please rate, follow and leave a review for Family Twist, sharing your thoughts and reflections. Your engagement fuels our passion for uncovering more stories that connect us all. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Join us next time for another episode of Family Twist, where we unravel more hidden threads of our shared human tapestry.
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Brad Right to Know
So Brad, can you top that? Maybe, because mine is a mess too. My wife and I did AncestryDNA because it was going to be fun. I didn't understand the definition of fun when I said that.
We did a test, and the dad that raised me was an airline pilot. he and my mom flew all over the world, and every time they would go Overseas, I think, hey, if you could find our family crest or anything, that'd be really cool. I'd love to see it. And they'd always tell me nobody cares about that.
I keep asking for it. And I just got shot down. So one day AncestryDNA comes along. My wife and I had been married for quite a while by then. we've kind of given each other all the surprise gifts we can come up with. Let's do this for Christmas. It'll be fun. So we did Ancestry DNA for Christmas.
We actually got the results back before Christmas. Well, when everybody's over for Christmas, including my parents, we put them up on the TV, showed them to everybody, and we're looking at this really cool map of where I'm from and all of this stuff. And my parents were just like, Oh, wow, that's neat. And you know, her parents were the same way and that's that.
Fast forward about three or four years. I feel very naive looking back. I never looked at a single match. I looked at my map said, okay, that was all I wanted to know. Closed it. I was good. All I wanted to know is where I was from. All of a one day somebody started messaging my wife.
We were on a shared ancestry account. So my wife was on there and she started getting messages from this lady, trying to figure out how she was related to me, their ancestry, and. My wife asked me, I was like, honey, I barely know outside of my grandparents. I don't really know any aunts or uncles. I have no idea who this is.
I don't really care because I don't know them. they kept talking and this woman was really determined to figure out how we connected. It turns out much later to finding out, cause she knew how we were connected. She was just trying to figure out if I was the person she was looking for.
After probably a few weeks of them talking back and forth and us still never thinking, Oh yeah, there's matches. We should see who this person is. I never looked. One day we were out on a lunch date. And my wife's phone dings and it's another text from this lady and she reads it and just goes, Hmm. And I'm like, Huh, what?
That lady that's been messaging back and forth with me said she's done all the research but we think that my mom that raised me is also adopted but we don't really know because I didn't find that out so much later in life and neither did she. This lady texts my wife and says I've gone through all of this stuff, and I'm sure that I'm not related to your husband's mom, but I have this theory that I want to run past you and see what you think.
My sister had a baby boy in 1970 in Dallas, on my birthday, that she gave up immediately for adoption, and I think that's your husband. And nobody's told him he's adopted. And we laughed that off. We were sitting at dinner and you know, there was the initial shock and it's like, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, ask her where, where she thinks I was born, I'll go home, I'll get my birth certificate out and we can at least get this poor woman back on the right track.
I know I'm still trying to be helpful and still not hearing what she's telling me. I go home, get my birth certificate out, look at it and start realizing there's weird stuff on it that I don't understand. If you put my wife and I's birth certificate next to each other, we were both born in Dallas in the 70s.
They look totally different. Hers looks like a typed out white document. Mine looks like an old copy of a microfiche machine. It's all black with white text on it. Hers came from Dallas. Mine came from Austin. I immediately thought, oh, my parents lost a birth certificate at some point and copies came from Austin.
Easy to explain. But then my place of birth. Head dashes through all of the signatures that were on my wife's birth certificate. Weren't on my birth certificate, like where her dad signed it as a witness. Mine has my dad's name typed in. It got weirder and weirder. And I was sitting in the other room trying to figure this out while she was in a room with her parents chatting about ancestry because we had just gotten talking about it.
As I racked my brain, I was like, I don't remember ever hearing a story about when I was born. We have three kids, My mother and father have been there for all three births. Never a labor story was heard, nothing about it. I never got the mom guilt trip of, I was in labor with you for this many hours, I never heard any of that.
That's weird. So when my in laws finally left, I grabbed my wife and I said, okay, this is getting worse, not better because here's all the things I've figured out. And I said, do you remember any stories about me being born that my mom might've told you? And she's like, I don't. I was like, do you remember ever seeing any pictures of her?
Because my, my parents took pictures of everything they did. Do you remember seeing any pictures of her pregnant? She said, no. Where did this lady say I was born? And. My wife grabbed her phone and looked and she said, well, she can't remember the name of the place you were born, but she said it was a little women's clinic in Dallas.
It wasn't really a hospital and it was off of Colorado Boulevard near downtown Dallas. And that threw me into a tailspin because I knew exactly that where that was when it was about three miles from my grandparents house. Every time we would go visit my grandparents, we would stop by and see this nice doctor named Dr.
Carmichael. And just family friend throughout the years, they'd stop, we'd all chat, and then we'd go into my grandparents house. She said that she said this is where the baby was born and I think it's your husband at the end of all my research I was kind of stuck in this no man's land of I don't know if I'm adopted I don't know what the story is, but things are much Wronger than they were before we started this trip.
I Ended up contacting a friend that had known she was adopted since she was born and had gone through All of the court stuff that Kara was talking about to unseal her adoption records. I talked to her for a little bit, told her what I was trying to figure out. Well, do you have a copy of your birth certificate?
And I said, yeah, well, send it to me. So I texted her a copy of it. And she said, I'll call you back in a few once I find mine. Okay. We had known each other for a long time. And when she called me back, it was a totally different tone on the phone. It was, Hey, how are you doing? I'm like. I was doing better before you sounded like that.
Let me text you, text you a picture of my birth certificate. She texted it to me and I thought she had texted me mine back. So I was like, Oh, that's mine. And and so I got on the phone and I said, you texted me mine. She said, no, no, that's mine. I started looking and it's, it looks like an exact duplicate of mine, except it's got all her information on it.
All the same signatures are missing. She was born in, I think Abilene, but her birth certificate came from Austin. Her place of birth was dashed out. And she said, before I called you back, I did a little research, and this is what adoption birth certificates in Texas looked like from the 70s. So, I think you're probably adopted and nobody's ever told you.
We talked for quite a while. I really did not want to call my parents and say, Hey, did y'all adopt me? And never tell me that that was, that was the one thing I didn't want to do. Right. It sounded like a horrible idea. There's gotta be a different way to find out. And the more we talked, the more she convinced me that there just wasn't to get anything unsealed in Texas then.
Cause this was 2019 and a little bit has changed not much since then, but you go before the court that. Approved your adoption and the judge has the right to give you your records or not giving you, give you your records. And once they decide you're done. So if they say no, there's no more recourse. You just kind of go, well, I'll never know.
And to get your adoption records, you have to be able to tell them. Who your mother was, who your father was. I don't know. All I know is I have this birth certificate that's messed up and I don't know who should be on it. So she convinced me to talk to my parents. So I came up with this wonderful master plan to call my dad.
My dad and I talked a lot more than my mom and I. My mom and I have always had kind of a complicated relationship and he and I were pretty close and we talked a lot. It's not weird to call dad and say, Hey, I want to talk to you sometime. Just you. Let's meet, have coffee, have a beer.
No big deal. I was at work when I made the call because he never answered his cell phone and I'm like, I'll call his cell phone, leave a message. He'll call me back. No. He answered his cell phone. And I find myself on my phone on the phone with my dad going, Hey, how's it going? we hadn't seen each other for a few weeks.
Why don't we go grab coffee or something? He's like, sure. is it cool if you don't bring mom, there's some stuff I want to talk to you about. What are we going to talk about? Oh, well, you know, nothing.
That's that important. I tried to do the laundry list. I don't need money. Nobody's sick. Pam and I are doing fine in our relationship. nothing is wrong, which you know, total lie, but nothing is wrong. Just want to chat. Okay, great. But why? And I would tell you that I circled this drain for 30 minutes.
It was probably more like a minute, but it felt like forever. And the more I tried to convince him, the more he didn't listen. finally I said, dad, do you understand? I'm trying not to talk with you about something on the phone. He goes, I do, I get it. And I said, and you don't seem to be interested in that.
No, I want to know why we're going to talk. So I took a deep breath and I said, okay, well, and I still thought maybe I can get him off of wanting to talk to me if I say the right thing. So I said. Well, you remember that Pam and I did Ancestors? Oh, yeah. I said, and you know, you told me that mom might be adopted.
Yeah. Well, we thought we think we might or we thought we might have found someone that was related to mom biologically. He's like, oh, wow, that's amazing. I said, yeah, but that's turns out that's not what it is. Okay. What is it? I said, well, this lady's contacted us and she told us that she thinks I'm her sister's son and that y'all adopted me and never told me.
And all I got back to that was in dead silence on the phone, which was all I needed to hear because, I was looking for this woman is crazy. She money, stay away from her, avoid her. And all I got was, huh, and some fingers drumming on what I later found out was his steering wheel because he was in the car running to the store when I called.
And we sat there really awkward for, you know, just a few seconds, probably, and I finally said, you know, dad, I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass and this is awful, I already know the answer by the way you reacted and you're going to have to tell me. Just so it's real and he said, well, Bradley, you're adopted and we've been trying to figure out a way to tell you I was 48 at this point.
So, I mean, they'd been trying to figure it out for a long time
and that led me into finding out that my biological mother had died. 19 years before I found out my biological father was alive and was also the ex husband of the aunt that contacted me on Ancestry. And she knew my biological father very well, and he had been in Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana since 1972 and was still there.
I'm a police officer. Okay. So I immediately inherited a prisoner as my biological father. Wow. as a police officer, you probably know how to reach out to contact someone in prison. Have you gone that route? we have. reaching out to somebody.
In Texas as a cop, not that hard reaching out to somebody in Louisiana that's in prison that I have no proof of how I know him. I didn't have a clue how to do that. If I had to talk to somebody in prison, I called the prison. I'm like, I need to talk to this guy. And they set that up. what I learned quickly is that you have email in prison now, so I could email him and talk to him that way.
And that's how things started. I emailed him and. He wasn't standoffish, but he wasn't ready to commit to, Oh yeah, you're my son. He goes, Oh yeah, I knew your mom. I was with your mom. I have no idea if I'm your father. I don't think I was the only person she was with and he kind of left it at that.
The aunt that found me sent me some pictures of him and we look frighteningly alike. So I sent him a picture and said, you know, here's a picture of me at about the same age as you. And I put them next to each other. And the next email I got back from him was, well, Hey son, it's good to meet you. And that threw me into a tailspin because I wasn't ready to hear that either.
we probably didn't talk for like a month because I could not get my head wrapped around it. And then once we started talking again. We developed a really close relationship. It turns out that I have from him. another half brother who's also a cop that lived about 40 minutes away from me.
From my mom's side, I had a sister and a brother. My sister was same thing about 40 minutes away. My brother would have been about three hours away from us. I met all of mom's biological side of the family pretty quickly because they were all excited to meet somebody from their long lost sister.
I've had a good, good reunion, but still good reunions are really overwhelming. it was horribly overwhelming to meet all them because I had no siblings before this. So everybody's just a sister or brother now.
I met my sister first with her then fiance now husband. And we got to know each other, just fell in love with her. She's just a super cool girl. The next time we all got together, she's like, well, they're having a little Christmas get together at your cousin's house. Come to that and you can meet some more of the family.
Well, little to them was the entire extended family in the house. Wow. I didn't know I was walking into that. So that was a bit of a shock, but worked my way through that. Did a lot of sitting quietly in a corner and just like, okay, let's see if I can just survive all of these people that I don't know.
While all that was going on, I was emailing back and forth with my father and getting to know him slowly, but surely. And the more I talked to him, the more I liked him. Lester Holt did a story on Angola state penitentiary. before I saw that story, when anybody asked me, I was doing, I was like, you know, I'm fine.
I watched the Lester Holt 48 hour special. And I came completely off the rails. I don't know what it was. I think I liked the idea of I could kind of hold my father as a concept.
I'd never spoken to him. I'd emailed him only. as a concept, that's pretty safe. We talk by email. I have pictures, but I don't have a real face I've seen. I don't have a voice I've heard. He's just a thing. The 48 hours special after that, I didn't sleep for three days and thought, Oh, I may not be as good as I thought I was.
I took myself to therapy and my therapist, first thing was, well, you know, do you want to meet your father? And I'm like, I don't know. That's what I'm trying to figure out. And she finally got me to understand. She said,what you got to understand for yourself and decide is,
he's older. He could die tomorrow. So if he dies tomorrow and you've never met him, are you cool with that? You've already not met your mom. So are you okay if you don't meet your father? And finally I came to the conclusion that no, I'm not cool with it. I want to meet him. I talked to him. It was really weird.
It turns out he was being 100 percent upfront and honest. I'm of course a little leery being a police officer, talking to a person that's been in prison for.basically all of my life, he's been in prison. So I tell him, yeah, I'd like to come meet you.
And he's like, Oh, that's great. All I need is your date of birth, your social security number, your driver's license number. And I'm like, I don't give that to anybody. So I called the prison and it turns out that's exactly what they need. it was basically a background check. I had to fill out to send to the prison to be accepted as a visitor.
If you would have ever told me, I'd be excited to get a letter saying I was accepted by Angola state penitentiary, not anything I'd ever expected, but I was really excited like, Oh, cool. I get to go. I found out March of 2019 and I went to meet him February of 2020.
And we had talked by then a couple of times on the phone and I fully admit, I say this every time I went in with a pretty closed mind of. He's been fine by email. He's been fine on the phone, but he's still been in prison the majority of his life, almost all of my life, I've dealt with those people in work for, I think I'd been a cop back then for about 25 years.
I know what to expect. I'll meet somebody who's in prison for something that's not their fault. There will be no responsibility taken and still coming off the shock of the secret my parents kept from me for 48 years. I wasn't ready for another person like that in my life, because in the background, while all this was going on, once I found out I was adopted, my dad told me that I was right.
I met with him and my mom a few days after that, and we talked and kind of hashed through what had happened. And what I didn't realize then was I thought that was opening up a door to being open about kind of how I came into this family. That, as far as they were concerned, was going to be our one and only conversation about it.
they would not discuss reunion, even when I brought it up, it became very clear, very fast to me that that was not something they were interested in talking about. So I was keeping all that to myself, making excuses when I was going places and talking to people. so I just wasn't ready to bring another person that couldn't accept responsibility into my life.
I drove the eight hours from Texas to Angola, got into the prison. That's a whole nother really long story. Got the waiting room or the visiting room to meet him. And it was so weird because by then I had met ants, my brother from his side, my sister, I hadn't met my other brother from my mom's side yet, but I'd seen some biological family.
I never really saw myself in any of them. when my wife showed me a picture that she took the day that. For the night that my sister and I met, I could immediately see it in the picture, but I didn't, I couldn't see it sitting across from her. When my father walked in the visiting room and I had never seen a recent picture of him, I knew exactly who he was and was like, Oh my God, that's what I look like in my seventies.
it freaked me out. we kind of did that dude half hug, pat on the back thing. Arrested development. you know, every time Michael goes and visits his father in prison, if he touches his father, somebody bangs a nightstick on the table and screams, no touching.
He's walking across the room. I'm like, do I hug him? Do I shake it? Can I touch him? I don't understand what we do here. So we did this kind of quick half hug and we both sat down and he said, well, son, I think I want to start off by being honest with you. Well, all my cop radars went off because when you say, I want to be honest with you, you're not even being honest at that point.
And you're not getting more truthful after this. And I'm like, Oh God, here it goes. I had kind of. Settled myself in the idea of, I'm going to meet him, I'm going to see what he says in the night, that's a checkbox and I'm done.
okay, here comes the long BS story. Just ride through it. And at least you got to hear it and see him. And instead he said, you know, I could tell you that I killed somebody because I was using drugs and drinking a lot of alcohol when I killed somebody and all of that's true, but that's not really the truth.
I killed somebody cause I made a choice to do it and I've regretted it for the rest of my life. And there's nothing I can do to fix it. And I was like, that wasn't part of my plan was for him to be honest with me. So now he's screwing up the plan. And then he went on for probably 10 minutes to describe his life before and in prison that didn't paint himself in any better of a picture to the point that at times in my head, I'm thinking you should stop.
I didn't know that you ran drugs from Mexico into Texas and got arrested. I didn't know that you ran prostitutes in prison. I didn't know any of this stuff and I would have no way of knowing if you would just stop telling me these things. But at the same time, it was wholly endearing because at this point he was the one adult that just threw all his crap out on the table in front of me.
he had told me when I was coming to visit him, he said, you know, Because I know the warden and immediately, once again, in my head, I'm like, Oh yeah, you know the warden so you, can make things happen in prison, because I know the warden, you can be here the whole day. You're a police officer.
You're not a security risk. And I'm like, sure, whatever, pop. I'll be there and I'll get kicked out in an hour. Like everybody else. No, he was right. I got there at 8 30 in the morning and I left at 4 30 that afternoon. Wow. the longer we sat there is I just liked him and it was the last thing I expected.
I didn't not want it, but it was so far away from what I thought was going to happen. I didn't know what to do with any of it. And because it's prison, the hardest thing was. Everything he told me, I was trying to memorize. I couldn't bring a pen or paper in there. I couldn't have a phone to record anything.
I had no way of taking notes. So I'm just sitting there trying to remember everything he's telling me, knowing the minute I get on the bus away from his camp, I've got a 15 minute ride back to the gate because I'd learned that on the ride in, and I've got to try to hold all this stuff in until I can get it out and remember it yet.
So we got done with the visit. I got out of the prison, immediately texted my wife and said, I don't know what to do with this, but I like him. I don't know what to do about that. she was at the hotel, which is about 45 minutes from the prison.
I'll see you and we can take all this apart. So that was our first meeting in February of 20. The dad that raised me died just a little bit less than a month later. Oh, wow. So that put another break in us getting to know each other because the dad that raised me had also kept at this point, 48 years of adoption secrets, they had mastered secret keeping.
He had kept my mother's progressing Alzheimer's under wraps really well as well. Oh. So I figured that out how bad it was the week that he was in the hospital before he died. suddenlymy dad that raised me had died. I'm now trying to manage my mother who has Alzheimer's and doesn't know she has Alzheimer's because he had never wanted to tell her that.
that put another big break on kind of us getting to know each other. And once we started back up and talking again.it was great because I think a lot of it has to do with the fact since he was never in my life before, there's none of the parental complications that come with, you know, my kids have complaints about me, your car's kids have complaints about her.
That's just normal. Well, he's biologically my father, but he's never been in my life. So I don't really have anything in one way or another with him. Right. So we kept getting to know each other. What had happened in his case is. He murdered somebody back in I think 72, got arrested. He pled guilty and when he pled guilty, he got what they called a 10 6 life sentence.
in 1972, if you went to prison in Louisiana for life, you had to do 10 years and six months before you're eligible for parole. That was just the way it worked. In Texas right now, it's 40 years pretty much unless they give you a life without parole, if they just give you a life sentence and that's all it says, that means in 40 years you're eligible for parole.
Well, for him, it was 10 years and six months back in 72. 72 was also when they did the moratorium on the death penalty by the Supreme Court. That freaked Louisiana out, so within a year of his 10 6 life sentence he had pled guilty to, they had changed it to 20 years before you're parole eligible, and retroactively applied that to everybody sitting in prison because they were terrified that all their death row inmates were coming out and going to have to be released.
The next legislative session they said 20 years is crazy. If you have life in Louisiana, you should do 40 years before we let you have parole. And they retroactively applied that to everybody who had pled or was found guilty prior to that. Fast forward one more legislative session and they said, we're Louisiana.
If we give you life, we mean life. You die in prison. You have no parole eligibility. So in about six years of what he thought was a 10 year, six month sentence before he was eligible for parole. He had gone to life without parole. And when I met him, that's what he was doing was he was serving life without parole,the only way he could change that.
And he had, he had gotten close a couple of times was he had to have a sentence commutation by the governor to any numbered sentence and with any number attached to his life sentence, he's eligible for parole. He had had a couple that were approved that went to the governor's desk and just sat there and died on the governor's desk.
The year after I met an attorney in. New Orleans, the DA for New Orleans Parish, had recognized through a group called the Parole Project that I got to know in Louisiana that there were about, back then, 50 of these 10 6 prisoners that were still in prison, that he said, you know, that was wrong that we took somebody's plea bargain or sentence and just retroactively changed it multiple times.
We need to deal with the fact that we've not honored what we told these men we would do. So what he got approved as a bill was that if the DA's office that prosecuted you and the court that sentenced you could agree to a new sentence, they could re sentence you and either make you parole eligible or just flat release you.
So what he was doing was from Orleans parish, they would meet these guys and say, okay, you know, we recognize you had a 10 six. How long have you been in prison? And the guy, okay, I've been in prison for 50 years and six months. And they're like, well, your new sentence is 50 years, six months in a day.
You're being released tomorrow. Wow. So they were doing this for all these guys in Orleans parish. My father was convicted out of Caddo Parish and this was not a law requirement. It was a law of opportunity. You could do it if you wanted to, but there was no requirement to do it. I got to talking to my father and said, you know, I, I think it'd be worth reaching out to Caddo Parish and seeing if they do this.
And he said, if you're willing to do it, I'm certainly willing to have you try for me. So I reached out to Caddo Parish and we went back and forth for about a year before they told me, listen, we're just not interested in doing this. but the lady, and I think it helped that I was a police officer, the lady that I was dealing with, it was an assistant district attorney, told me when we finally had that last conversation, said, we're not going to do this, but there's some legislation coming up next year, which is 2022 at this point that I think will probably help your father out still.
So we sat on our hands waiting to find out what it was. I eventually got ahold of the parole project again. Who told me that what they had gotten a Senator and a House Rep interested in introducing was a bill that made every 10 6 prisoner eligible for parole immediately. And at this point it was affecting about 40 guys because a couple had been released, but you have to remember all these guys were sentenced.
72 and before a lot of them were just dying. Right. I mean, you know, you've lived 50 years in prison. that's not living your best life. So they weren't surviving that long. And when they introduced that, I said, you know, if there's anything I could do to help my father help y'all get this bill passed, I'd be happy to do it.
So in March of 2022, I got a phone call from the parole project and said, Hey, we're meeting with the house or the Senate judiciary committee for Louisiana about this bill, and we thought you would make a good face to put to a family member of somebody that's a 10 six lifer. Will you come testify? And I was like, I'd love to.
Sure. we testified for, I think it was the Senate first. They passed it to their floor. The bill passed immediately on their floor. Then I got a second call, which was, Hey, we're doing the same thing for the house. Can you come back and do this again? So I came back and testified for the house. It passed the house floor.
And then I sat until August waiting for the governor to sign it. The governor signed the bill and I called the guy from the parole project I said, you know, I'm not trying to be greedy, but. I've made several trips to Louisiana on my own dime helping y'all with this. What do you say you put my father at the front end of the parole dock?
And he said, absolutely. their goal was to have him as their first 10, six parole hearing, they ended up having one guy before him just because they had a parole date open at a prison that he wasn't in and they threw a guy in there. So November 16th, we had his, his first and only parole hearing in 2022 and he walked out the 17th.
Wow. Wow. That's so cool. Wow. And now he lives about 30, 40 minutes away from me and we see each other every other week or so. Oh, good. Wow. Have your children gotten to know him too? They have. it was really funny. I wasn't sure how they were going to deal with that. back when we found out I had a 21 year old.
A 15 year old and about a 10 year old. it was a lot for them to take intoto tell them that, you know, your grandparents are still your grandparents, however, there's this little other complicated thing that's happened here. And we have a lot of new family.
while, while all this was going on, COVID hit. prison visitation went away first. But when prison visitation went away, video visitation came around and we started having weekly video visits. And one day when I was setting up a video visit, my middle kid came in and said, Hey, could I meet him on videos?
I don't have any expectation of you to do that, but if you want to, sure. So she came in and talked to him for a little bit and then disappeared like kids do and Since then, yeah, they've all developed a relationship with him. He's gotten to know my wife, my kids. we celebrated his first birthday outside of prison week before last.
Wow. Had our first Father's Day this year. it's been incredible, it's not been something I would sign up for necessarily, but overall it's been an incredible experience. Sure. Yeah. I mean, after getting your world rocked like that, at least you've got a happy ending to this.