After a boy called him “daddy” at the orphanage, Lewis decided to ask around. The director of the orphanage explained that the kid’s late mother had seen his ads and told him he was his father. Lewis’ mouth dropped open in shock when he learned the boy’s mother’s name.
“Mr. Walsh, I hope little Liam didn’t make you uncomfortable yesterday with his questions,” the director of the orphanage told him with a kind smile. Lewis Walsh was sitting in her office, asking about the boy and why he was sure Lewis was his father.
“‘Uncomfortable’ is not the word I would use, Mrs. McKee, but it made me wonder. He looked up at me with big wide eyes and said the word ‘Daddy’ so surely. He’s five years old, and even the younger kids don’t do that,” Lewis replied from his chair opposite Mrs. McKee’s desk. He crossed his legs and linked his hands in contemplation.
“Actually, I do have an answer to that. Yesterday, when you left, we all sat down to watch a cartoon, and your most recent commercial came out. Liam said, ‘That’s my Daddy! Mom used to point him out to me all the time, and he came today. He’s going to come pick me up soon!’” the older woman explained and smiled humorously.
“Ah! Well, that explains it. I don’t know why I was so concerned,” Lewis laughed, scratching his chin. He was the co-founder of a major gym in Scottsdale, Arizona. He and his partner started with one location, but they were up to 20 in the entire state with plans for an even bigger expansion. It was safe to say Lewis was loaded.
Furthermore, he was also the image of their business. He appeared on campaign ads all the time. It was mostly on social media, but his marketing strategy suggested paying for a few TV spots as well. They had been running for years.
“I’m sorry that kid lost his mom. Can you tell me her name?” Lewis asked.
“We don’t normally release that information, but I can make an exception for you, Mr. Walsh,” Mrs. McKee said and started typing away on her computer.
Lewis smiled knowingly because he was a significant benefactor of Opportunity Knocks Twice. After being raised and adopted out of an orphanage himself, Lewis knew the importance of giving back.
And thanks to his contributions, this place managed to become one of the best in the area. Furthermore, Lewis also encouraged his wealthy friends to donate. They liked him here, so it was hard for any employee to deny him anything.
“Here it is,” Mrs. McKee pulled him away from his musings. “Her name was Marissa Woods. There’s no record of any father or other family, so Mr. Walsh, if you know of anyone who would like to adopt little Liam, we’d be so grateful!”
But Lewis was not listening to the woman anymore. Marissa Woods was the name of his old girlfriend. They dated around six years ago. “This can’t be happening,” he breathed and stood up to exit Mrs. McKee’s office.
“Mr. Walsh, is everything ok?” the woman called to him, but Lewis kept going. He got in his car and drove away. He went to his favorite restaurant, owned by his buddy Andrew. They sat down at the bar and started talking.
Lewis told him everything that had just happened. Andrew pursed his mouth for a few seconds before he spoke up. “He could be yours. What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. But I’ve lived in this town forever. Why didn’t Marissa call me? Why didn’t she sue for child support?…Or I might not be his father at all,” Lewis muttered, unable to get it out of his hands.
“Look, I don’t know the rules at the orphanage about getting close to the kids, but they’ll bend them for you. Explain the situation, and get a DNA test without alerting the kid about anything. You need to know the truth officially before you drive yourself crazy,” Andrew explained logically.
Lewis knew his friend was right, but he was scared. He wasn’t ready to be a father, much less a single dad. But yes, he had to know if his suspicions were true.
Mrs. McKee was surprised to see him back. “Mr. Walsh, why did you leave like that?” the older woman wondered, placing her hands on her waist as if to scold him.
“Mrs. McKee, can I get a DNA test? I think Liam might be my son. Marissa was my girlfriend a few years ago. We broke up, and I never heard anything from her since then. I would like to know if I’m the boy’s father. Although, I would appreciate it if you didn’t tell him, so he doesn’t get his hopes up,” Lewis requested earnestly.
Mrs. McKee’s eyes widened, and after a few seconds of deliberation, she agreed and smiled. There was really nothing to lose, as it could mean that one of her kids was not an orphan.
A few days later, the test results came back. Lewis was, in fact, Liam’s biological father. So Marissa never lied to her son when she pointed at him during TV commercials.
“Do I have to go through the adoption process, Mrs. McKee? I can’t leave my son in here,” Lewis told the director the same day he saw the results.
“Well, I know that since you were not married to Liam’s mom, you have to sign a few papers acknowledging that you’re the kid’s father and that you’re taking full responsibility. This has never happened before in our orphanage, but I’m sure the process is much easier than a normal adoption,” Mrs. McKee revealed kindly. “Let’s call our lawyer.”
The lawyer explained everything, and Lewis agreed to all the terms, wanting to get things done quickly to get his kid home. Luckily, all the paperwork went smoothly, and a week later, he drove Liam to his house, which he had furnished and redecorated for the boy.
“You finally came for me, Dad. What took you so long?” Liam asked from his child seat in the back.
“I don’t know, kid. I don’t know. But from now on, I’ll always be on time. That’s a promise,” Lewis assured him with conviction, looking at the kid through the rearview mirror.
What can we learn from this story?
Unless there’s danger, you should tell your partner that you’re pregnant. Marissa should’ve told Lewis the truth, and maybe, things would’ve been different for all of them.
Learn the truth before you drive yourself crazy. Lewis didn’t know what to think, but his friend calmed and urged him to get a paternity test instead of dealing with the anxiety alone.