(WSVN) - A Broward County man always dreamed of being a father, but after his divorce, he thought it would never happen. Then a DNA test changed everything. 7’s Brian Entin reports how that test made a “Dream Come True.”
Long moments in the Atlanta Airport, as Robert Aratari nervously waits to meet his daughter for the very first time.
Kari Chait: “I see you.”
Robert Aratari: “I see you, too.”
It’s a journey 40 years in the making, one that started with an unexpected message on Facebook.
Robert Aratari: “It said, ‘Hi, my name is Kari Chait, and you may know my mother from high school.'”
Then curiosity turned to shock.
Robert Aratari: “I read on that, ‘I am your daughter,’ and I sat on my bed for 20 minutes and I cried.”
Growing up in South Miami, Kari always knew she was adopted.
Kari Chait: “I was born in Hollywood Hospital. My birth parents were 16 when they had me.”
Her young years were happy ones, graduating from Killian High School and later from Florida State. But as Kari got older and had children of her own, she decided to search for her birth parents.
Kari Chait: “All I knew was that, 16 years old and pregnant, and Italian and Irish.”
Kari took a DNA test through the “23 and Me” testing service. The results led her to a half-sister and then to her birth mother.
Kari Chait: “It was the most amazing conversation. It was natural, and it was also very nervous.”
Her mother told Kari that Robert, her high school sweetheart, was her father — and admitted that she never told him she was pregnant.
Robert Aratari: “I don’t know why she didn’t tell me over the years. Maybe one day I’ll find out.”
Robert, who never had children, spent hours with Kari on the phone and online.
Robert Aratari: “I said, ‘I’m coming to see you.'”
And in the Atlanta airport, an unforgettable first meeting.
Kari Chait: “Oh, you’re here. Hi!”
Kari Chait “It was just crazy, because this whole entire 40 years of my life, I’ve never looked like anybody, and so it’s just really cool to see somebody that you look like.”
It was a moment they both cherish.
Robert Aratari: “I’ve done a lot of things in my life. Nothing compared to the joy, the excitement, of looking into this girl’s face and seeing mine.”
That was just weeks ago. Now Kari and Robert are making up for 40 years of lost time, stunned at how much alike they are.
Robert Aratari: “I competed in bodybuilding for 20 years. She was competing at the same time I was competing.”
Kari Chait: “I’ve always been athletic my whole entire life, and it all makes sense now.”
In getting to know her birth father, Kari says, she’s finding out more about herself, and growing her family in a way she never expected.
Kari Chait: “My adoptive parents are, you know, Mom and Dad to me, and I just get another set of parents. I mean, how lucky am I?”
And for Robert, it’s a dream come true.
Robert Aratari: “I’m the luckiest man in the world. I was told I was a father and grandfather in one day. How many people ever get that opportunity in life?”
Now they’re looking forward to vacations, celebrating birthdays and holidays, and building a whole new branch on the family tree.
Kari’s adoptive family in Miami is very supportive of her efforts to get to know her birth family.
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