Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meet the Kortes

We are no longer the Tresslers.

I chose not to blog about a pretty major event that occured in our life in May of 2007. I had just started my blog at that point and wasn't sure how ready I was to get down and personal with it all. But now I just don't care, so I'm going to tell you a pretty major story.

We were at a family reunion, and though family reunions are sometimes traumatic in and of themselves , but this one was particular became life-altering for my husband. A well-meaning person had created a pretty massive family tree which had a little more information than Nick's mother was expecting on it. We had always been under the impression that she was just married once to Nick's father, but as it turned out that was not the case.

I memorized the name on the tree before she could totally mark it out with a Sharpie and went online. Tarrant county marriage records are available online, so all I had to do was plug in some names. I found the date where she married the guy mentioned on the family tree. So I used her new last name and found the date where she married this other guy, still not Nick's father. I plugged in that name and found where she married #3, Mr. Tressler. In 1984. Nick was born in 1981. Hmmm. That just didn't compute.

The date on the marriage records would indicate that she was married to #2, Mr. Korte, when Nick was born. That prompted some further digging online. I came across some records stating the date of her divorce from #2 and that there was "one male child" involved. I debated about sharing this information with Nick. Obviously he had no idea, and I didn't know if it would upset him or just make him curious. I decided the following morning to tell him. He was, as I hoped he would be, curious.

He confronted his mother about my findings that day at the second half of the reunion festivities. She replied by giving him an envelope containing her divorce papers from Joe Korte, the adoption papers where Mr. Tressler adopted Nick in '84, and some photos of Nick with his actual birth father. I honestly think she intended to keep this envelope until her death bed. She was afraid Nick would be really angry with her for not telling him the whole truth. It was a sticky situation, the details of which I will spare, but we'll just say that it wasn't entirely Joe's idea that he be shut out of his son's life. Blame it on a controlling stepfather.

I began my search for Nick's real father online that night. It took me a few days to come up with anything, but eventually I was able to find that Nick had a half-sister born a few years after Nick and that his dad had been married at least one other time and divorced again. After that I sort of hit a dead end on finding anymore information about his father, so I started looking for his half-sister instead. Wouldn't you know it - I found her on MySpace. I sent her an email basically stating that I thought my husband was her half-brother, was that in fact her father's name, etc? Then we waited for a response. It took a few days before I received a message back but she confirmed what I thought I had found - she was in fact his half sister! She had known that she had an older half-brother somewhere in the world her whole life but thought she'd never get to meet him. It was pretty exciting.

Nick spoke with Krystal on the phone for quite a while and she gave him his father's phone number. She called him first to let him know what was coming, and then Nick finally got to "meet" his real dad via a telephone call. He lives in Montana and is remarried, so Nick has two half-sisters and two stepsisters. He also learned that he had a grandmother and a couple of uncles that live within 15 minutes of our house. Small world, huh? All of this searching and reconnecting took about two weeks total.

Nick was able to meet his father in person just a couple of months later in July when he flew down from Montana. Of course it wasn't a first meeting for him, but it had been 24 years or so since he had seen his son. It was joyous and tearful and so exciting to watch! I don't think either of them slept very much while Joe was here. They sat up each night talking for hours at a time.

Since that time we've been able to see Joe two or three times when he was visiting in Texas. We've not had the opportunity to go to Montana, but that's mostly because flights to Montana are not cheap. Probably has something to do with how few people actually want to go there. Nick and Joe have maintained a very close relationship through the phone or email though. They are both talkers for sure.

You may be wondering how the stepfather who adopted Nick fits into all of this? Truth be told, he doesn't. He and Nick were never really close like some father/son relationships. He provided a good home and gave Nick plenty of opportunities, I wouldn't take that credit away, but the emotional bond was not there. In fact he's been living in Michigan, away from his family, for several years now. Since all of this transpired Nick's mother divorced him and has moved on to greener pastures. Nick hasn't spoken to him in months and probably won't. Not much of a relationship to worry about there.

Fast-forward to February of 2009. We found out we were pregnant. I asked Nick if he had considered changing his last name back to his birth father's name, especially now that we were creating offspring of our own. Did he really want to pass on a name that technically wasn't even his? What if we were having a boy? The only other Tressler's were his mom and his sister. If they both got married, then he'd be the only one in the family named Tressler and he wasn't even really a Tressler. I told him it didn't bother me either way; it was his choice, but I'd be more than happy to go along with the change if that's what he wanted to do. So on Friday, that's what we did.

Nick and Brandi Korte. I like it, don't you?
(It's pronounced kor-tee.)


Brenda is SO Blessed said...

what an amazing story! i am so glad for all the people concerned. congrats

Anonymous said...

WOW Brandi! This story gave me goosebumps! It's wonderful that it all worked out so well!

{S} said...

WOW! An amazing story. It's so wonderful how it all fell into place and with open arms too!
What a blessing for Nick to meet his real family.

Cindy said...

Wow! That's about all I can think of to say.

Laurie said...

that is an amazing story! I'm so glad it all came together.

Molly said...

Oh my goodness! WOW! And the work you were able to do to find more information is amazing too! Well Brandi Korte - I feel like I've known you forever! Congratulations on all the goodness that has come from this! ((HUGS))

Angy said...

This is an amazing story and I am so excited for you. I knew he had met with his birth father but I didn't know the whole story. Glad to meet the new you...Mrs. Korte

Liz said...

WOW!! i got goose bumps too. What a happy ending though, great New NAME!!!

Ashley said...

Fascinating! I love this story, and kudos to y'all for having the courage and sense of adventure to undergo something as fundamental as a name change. Can't believe I was out of town when you announced it. I'll see you in a few days, Mr. and Mrs. K.

Amanda said...

Wow Brandi - I'd already heard the story and I still got goosebumps! I'm excited to hear about the name change, especially considering the circumstances surrounding Nick's step-dad. Good luck Mr. and Mrs. Korte! :)

Patty said...

Wow! Great story! I just found your blog! I really enjoy your writing. I love this story!!