Elementary College Picture Results in Union in Daughter’s Yearslong Seek for Father – NBC Los Angeles
For as long as she can remember, Jennifer Arellano wanted to meet her birth father.
But she was nervous when she pulled into the parking lot on Saturday to meet him at Motel 6 in Anaheim, California, where he lives.
“I didn’t want to get out of the car,” said the 22-year-old single mother of a 2-year-old boy from Victorville. “My nerves really got me.”
But she did. And the two hugged for a long time. Davis was crying. Arellano beamed.
For her father, Corey Davis (48), it was the best day of his life.
“I’m the happiest dad on the planet,” he said.
Their meeting on Saturday ended a year-long search by Arellano, who always wanted to find her father but said it had discouraged her mother all her life. Arellano says it wasn’t until her mother died in December that she felt free to seriously look for him.
“I didn’t want to stop looking for him and I didn’t,” she said.
She said her search started on Ancestry and Facebook earlier this year. She found a cousin who sent her a photo of her father when he was in elementary school, the only photo she had of him.
“At that point, I was so excited that I started crying,” she said. “I was so close to finding him.”
She found out a little bit about him by calling an uncle. They shared a similar story. He was a foster child. She was also in care from 16 to 21 years, she says.
After Arellano posted her father’s elementary school picture on Facebook with his name and date of birth, someone sent her phone numbers.
She called you and a woman answered.
“Hello, do you know a Corey Davis who lives here?” Said Arellano. “She said, ‘I know him, but I don’t know him.'”
They hung up awkwardly.
The next morning she received a call from another number.
“You were looking for a Corey Davis?” said a woman who Arellano later learned was her father’s wife.
She spoke to him on the phone and they talked for almost three hours.
Davis had been in a relationship with Arellano’s mother for a year. You never got married. He said he didn’t even know she was pregnant. He found out he had a daughter from a letter he received for child support years after Arellano was born, he said. He confirmed through DNA that she was his daughter.
“I was very happy and very angry, angry with her mother for trying to hide her from me,” said Davis.
He said the maintenance letter stated that his daughter’s name was Jennifer Davis. He spent years looking for her by that name. He said her mother changed it to Arellano, a former man’s name.
Davis was stunned when Arellano found him last month.
“I’m still pinching myself today,” he said.
Arellano, who looks after her toddler while she lives in a motel room in Victorville and takes classes online during the pandemic, doesn’t know what the future will look like. But she is optimistic.
“I’m super happy that I got to meet him,” said Arellano. “I’ve never had a father figure in my life. It’s nice to finally have my father in my life.”