Covered by Mashable yesterday, an Oregon man was able to reconnect with his now-adult son on Facebook after been separated for 22 years. Over two decades ago, US airman Don Gibson was stationed in the United Kingdom and met a woman named Chrissie during a dinner. After the romance escalated, the couple got married in the United Kingdom during 1989 and Chrissie gave birth to a boy shortly after which they named Craig. During the following year, the family decided to take a trip to the United States on holiday. Since Chrissie had previously been married prior to Gibson, she had two children from that marriage and decided to take them along on the holiday. Unfortunately, the return trip to the United Kingdom had to be postponed by several days since they were traveling with the military and kept being bumped for service members that were a higher priority.
Chrissie’s ex-husband from the previous marriage had also remarried and his new wife complained to Gibson’s airbase commander in regards to the delay in travel arrangements. Concerned that Gibson had sullied the reputation of the Air Force in Britain, Gibson’s superior reprimanded him and denied Gibson the ability to re-enlist in the Air Force during the following year.
Gibson was forced to return to America and Chrissie didn’t want to leave the children from her first marriage behind in the United Kingdom. In a period before social networking tools on the Internet, the couple attempted to stay in contact with each other with letters and phone calls. Gibson couldn’t return to the United Kingdom due to financial constraints and the couple slowly grew apart.
Gibson eventually left his hometown in Texas and moved to Oregon. Chrissie moved to a new location as well. Without knowing each other’s location, they had no way of contacting each other. Due to the lack of communication, Chrissie eventually filed for divorce and got remarried. As time passed, Craig grew up only with a picture of his father. When Craig was twelve, he started searching for his father on social networks like MySpace as well as calling people that knew Gibson when he lived in Texas. As the years wore on, he also tried sending Facebook messages to 150 people with the surname Gibson that were also living in Texas.
While Craig and Chrissie were unaware that Gibson had moved to Oregon, he had contacted Scotland Yard in an attempt to find them. He had also tried paying for reports from companies that provide online tracing in addition to hiring a private detective.
After watching an Oprah Winfrey special that featured people being reunited with family members through Facebook, Gibson decided to sign up for a Facebook profile. Shortly after signing up, he was able to locate one of the children from Chrissie’s first marriage on Facebook and found Craig on an associated friend’s list. Gibson immediately sent a message to Craig in an attempt to reconnect with his son.
Craig discovered the Facebook message from his father while he was on holiday and immediately contacted his mother. After authorizing his mother to check his Facebook account, Chrissie was able to reconnect with the man she once loved and they ended up talking for hours over Facebook chat. Craig returned from his holiday the day before Father’s Day and found that his mother left the laptop on the kitchen table with Skype open. Craig immediately called his father over Skype and wished him a happy Father’s Day. The two men talked for hours catching up on each other’s lives over the past twenty years. After the happy reunion, Gibson decided that he would try to move to England by Craig’s next birthday.