Although her adopted parents had always been honest with her, Fleur says she was still left with a “void” and sense of “uncertainty” in her life.
“It’s something that a person who is not an adoptee will never understand about acceptance and rejection,” Fleur tells us.
“It’s something I’ve struggled with all my life.”
Thankfully, the “void” Fleur felt for so long was finally filled, when a series of incredible events recently ended with her finding her biological father, Rod Muller.
Now 75, Rod has no other children and welcomed his long-lost daughter with open arms.
The pair finally met two months ago at a restaurant in Rod’s hometown of Mackay.
Fleur’s husband Kel tagged along, as did Rod’s wife Joy.
“As soon as I walked through that door, we both burst into tears,” Fleur recalls.
“He said to my husband, ‘as soon as I saw her, I knew she was mine’. He grabbed my hand and started crying and said, ‘I’m just sorry we’ve missed out on 53 years.’ He said I’m the biggest blessing in his life, and he’s 75!”
Fleur’s search for her birth parents only began after her adoptive dad, John McConaghy, died six years ago, aged 93.
Her adopted mum Bessie had passed away when Fleur was just 11.
“Dad always supported and encouraged that journey, however in my heart, I never wanted to do that until he passed, simply out of respect,” Fleur says.
“He gave me a wonderful life.”
Things kicked off when Kel, 56, and sons Connor, 25, and Oliver, 21, gave Fleur a DNA ancestry kit for her birthday.
This helped locate a second cousin, but offered no other clues – until January this year.
“I got an email from this gentleman who said ‘I think we’re closely related,’” Fleur says.
The stranger turned out to be her half-brother, John Breuer. He tracked her down with the help of a DNA search angel attached to a private Facebook group called Adoption Search Australia, who figured out that Fleur and John, 60, share a birth mother.
“We were thrilled to find each other, and sensed an instant connection. It’s uncanny how much we look like each other,” says Fleur, who catches up with Tweed Heads-based John regularly over the phone.
Fleur’s DNA search angel was instrumental in helping her find Rod. She also discovered her biological mum had two more sons.
Fleur has decided to press pause on finding her birth mum, who told Rod he was not Fleur’s father when she was pregnant.
Fleur and Rod talk all the time, and he surprised her with a visit to Cairns in August for her 54th birthday.
He gave her a gold necklace to celebrate all the birthdays he missed.
“I’m a new person,” Fleur says with a smile.
“My husband and my boys say they’ve never ever seen me so happy. It’s really hard to describe. You feel complete. I’m so at ease with myself for the first time in my life. I feel like my whole life has come full circle.”