30 years in the making: Father & daughter reunite

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - It was the most agonizing wait at Palm Beach International Airport's concourse C.

"This is nerve-racking, isn't it?," asked 30-year-old Melinda McGillivray to her daughter Curina.

McGillivray held up a "DAD" sign, while Curina held up the "Grandpa Dean" sign. As in Dean Schmidt, the man who McGillivray just found out was her biological father. Kept away from her for 30 years by her mother.

"On my 12th birthday, she said, there is a potential father of yours out there. For 18 years, I've held this in," she said.

It wasn't until the man who raised her died that she decided to look for her real dad. A face-to-face reunion delayed until Wednesday afternoon when he landed at PBIA from Chicago.

The hug between father and daughter packed so much pent-up emotion.

Lifting up his granddaughter for the first time was priceless for the 51-year-old, but bitter-sweet since his ex-girlfriend, Melinda's mother, kept her from him for so long.

"I always had a feeling that I had some blood out there. Lucy always said it wasn't mine, but I had a feeling she was lying about it," said Schmidt.

Despite the pain they are trying to put the anger behind them as a family, a newly-formed one that has a lot of catching up to do.

"This is amazing, just amazing," said McGillivray.

"I'm still freaked out about it, I'm shocked. I'm definitely happy about it. Looking forward to getting to know her," said Schmidt.

McGillivray's daughter put it best: it's like a finished puzzle.

"One last piece was lost and we finally found it underneath the bed, yet actually at the airport," said Curina McGillivray.