Imagine, you plod along with your life and then you're 18 and applying to college when you find out you're not who you thought you were. Neither is your father.
Wait, what? This colossal mindf*ckery is exactly what happened to a Cleveland teen who discovered his social security number wasn't legit when filling out school forms. One thing led to another, and a search on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database turned up the truth.
Julian Hernandez had been missing, kidnapped by his father 13 years ago and had been living under a pseudonym ever since in another state.
The FBI confirmed the teen's real identity. His dad was arrested and charged for providing fake records, and held on a $250,000 bond. He will be extradited to Alabama, where he'll face child abduction charges.
Just imagine, the boy had been separated from his mom since he was five. His dad didn't have custody.
No one around had a clue about the secret father Bobby Hernandez had been keeping for more than a decade.
It's impossible to get your head around this story. As a parent. As a teen.
Adolescence is a hard enough passage to navigate. You are so busy trying to figure out who you are and aren't, without this raging spanner thrown in. I can imagine this kid will be wrestling with a mess of emotions for the rest of his life. What was true? What was a lie? If his entire childhood was a deception, what's left? Is there anything worth holding on to?
His father probably loved him and did his best. There was no indication of harm (other than the repercussions of the crime, obviously) done to the boy.
But man, oh man, the mom. Losing a child, missing out on all those years. Like losing the blood from your veins... And now, I imagine her seeing him again. Her boy now almost a man. It's mind boggling.
It's hard to believe someone could pull off an identity change like this, let alone for so many years. I think I'll stick to reading fiction. It's easier to believe sometimes.
Image Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children