B.C. woman finds biological dad on Facebook living as Elvis impersonator in Thailand
Melonie Dodaro needed to 'cure that curiosity I have that has just plagued me my whole life"
After spending the first 46 years of her life without knowing her father, a Kelowna, B.C., woman decided to try to find him by sending out a personal plea in a video she posted on Facebook.
"I have never met my biological father. My mom was a teenage mom and my father was a visitor to Canada from the Netherlands," she says in the video. "All I know is that he was born in the Netherlands. He visited Canada in 1968 when my mother got pregnant with me."
Within three days, she discovered he's been living in Thailand for the last 16 years, performing as an Elvis impersonator for charity. He's also worked as an actor and musician.
"I guess he's very, very well-known and a little bit famous in Europe," she says.
Her father, Cees de Jong, performs as Colin Young in Thailand, where he has two young children named Elvis and Priscilla.
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A long search
Dodaro had tried off and on to find her Dutch father for years with no success, because he has one of the most common first and last names in the Netherlands: Cees de Jong.
"It's kind of the equivalent of searching for John Smith in North America," says Dodaro.
But once she posted her video on Facebook, the search took on a life of its own. People started sharing it and tagging their friends of Dutch descent, she says.
Eventually a newspaper in the Netherlands picked up the story and a reporter took on the chase to find Dodaro's father. He tracked down de Jong's phone number in Thailand.
'It's really exceeded my wildest dreams.' — Melonie Dodaro
When the reporter asked Dodaro if she would like to call her father, she said she was too scared.
"The guy from the Netherlands newspaper was just so amazing. He's like 'Do you want me to call for you?' and I'm like 'Yes!'"
It turns out her father was thrilled to get the call and said he had tried looking for his daughter a few times with no luck.
Dad on the phone
The journalist called Dodaro back and told her that her father was going to call her in 10 minutes.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, I can't even believe this is happening.' It was the longest 10 minutes of my life," says Dodaro. "I was just so nervous and so scared, and I was like, 'I don't even know what I'm going to say to him.'"
The phone rang and, within the first few seconds, he broke the ice, she says.
"He said, 'Hello Melonie, this is Colin. Your daddy.' I literally laughed and then I'm like, 'Hi daddy.'"
After a great conversation, her father wrote her a touching post on Facebook expressing his joy at being reunited with his daughter.
"You make me the most happy dad in the world," reads part of the Facebook post by Colin de Jong. "You are looking great and will send all my friends your beautiful smile which I never forget. I am still a busy man with my charity projects, but want to give you all my love and attention in the future as I missed you so much and wondering where you are."
Dodaro says that when she originally put the plea out on Facebook she had a lot of people warning her the outcome could be disastrous. But she said she wasn't expecting a relationship and just wanted to know anything she could about her father.
"I'm like, you know what, I'm prepared for any outcome, but I need to cure that curiosity I have that has just plagued me my whole life."
Now that curiosity will finally lead to some answers. Dodaro is planning a trip to Thailand to visit her father and his family soon.
"It's really exceeded my wildest dreams" says Dodaro.
To hear the full interview with Melonie Dodaro listen to the audio labelled Melonie Dodaro finds her father