I'm a Russian-speaking New Yorker who grew up in a violent Detroit neighborhood without my mother or father in my life. Thing is, when my mother and father met in the Army more than 30 years ago at Fort Gordon, Ga., neither knew my mother was pregnant when my dad was transferred to a post in South Korea.
While my mother was in the Army and my dad was God knows where, I was raised by my loving grandmother in the Motor City but was challenged by street violence and severe economic disadvantage. Yet, I thrived, excelling at school and eventually earning a full scholarship to college and grad school. Along the way, I lived in the former Soviet Union for four years.
While in Ukraine in 2009, I searched for my dad's profile on Facebook, messaged six names that returned results and one of them replied some eight hours later. I had met my dad for the first time, a man who did not know I was alive.
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