Ethan was a newbie firefighter when he adopted an orphan child named Tim whom he saved from a burning building. Forty years later, the orphan finds an old photo of his mother in his adoptive father's room.
At 24, Ethan became a firefighter. New to the job and without any on-the-ground experience, he and his team were called to save a burning orphanage.
When they arrived, Ethan heard the orphanage director screaming for a child named Tim Harrison. "Tim! Tim is still inside! He's only five years old!" she frantically screamed.
As soon as Ethan heard this, he ran inside immediately. "Tim? Tim Harrison?" he called out inside. The flames were getting bigger and were starting to engulf the walls.
Tim loved his adoptive father dearly, only to realize he knew more about Tim's life than he revealed to the boy. | Source: Imagebb
"Over here!" he heard a boy call out from the second floor. Ethan rushed up the stairs, ignoring the heat, and lifted the child as he ran back down. He saved the boy and brought him out of the building just in time before the staircase collapsed from the heat.
"Are you alright? Did you get hurt anywhere?" Ethan asked as soon as he found an empty ambulance stretcher where he placed Tim.
"I'm fine, mister firefighter. Thank you for saving my life," Tim said to him, giving Ethan a hug. This gesture warmed his heart, and he made sure to hug Tim back tightly.
"What's going to happen to us now? Our home is gone," Tim asked Ethan quietly while the orphanage staff catered to the other children.
"Unfortunately, the orphanage building is gone, and it'll take a while to build. The government will help relocate everyone in the time being," Ethan explained. Tim started to cry, clutching onto a ragged stuffed toy he managed to save.
"It's alright, young man. You'll be okay," Ethan assured him, rubbing his back.
Ethan saved Tim from the burning building right in time. | Source: Pexels
"How about you, mister firefighter? Do you have a family of your own?" the young boy asked.
Ethan shook his head. "I don't. I live alone, and it's actually quite lonely." He paused for a while. Then Ethan decided to do something courageous. He suddenly said, "What do you think about keeping me company? Would you take me as your dad?" he asked the young boy.
Tim's eyes widened. "Really?" he said, shocked. "I can call you dad?" Tim asked.
Ethan nodded. "If you want to," the firefighter smiled. Tim's face flashed a big smile as he gave his stuffed toy a warm embrace.
"Mom, I'm going to have a family," he whispered to the stuffed toy.
"Is that stuffed toy your mom?" Ethan asked. Tim quickly shook his head and removed a small photograph from the pocket of his stuffed toy.
The little boy had with him a stuffed toy that kept his mother's picture. | Source: Pexels
"This is my mom, I don't know where she went, but this is a picture she gave me," Tim explained.
Ethan could feel his stomach twisting. He was more determined to adopt Tim now, so he made sure to talk to the orphanage director once everyone was settled down.
After a couple of months, Ethan was finally named Tim's adoptive father in court. As he had no wife or girlfriend, he raised Tim alone, and since then, they were inseparable.
Tim was still young when Ethan adopted him, so he never realized he wasn't his real dad. In fact, it was only at the age of 12 that he discovered Ethan was his adoptive father. However, he didn't care.
"Your mother's name is Linda Harrison. She left your father shortly after she gave birth to you, because she thought your father could not give her the life she had always dreamed of," Ethan explained.
"You saved my life; you raised me with so much love. You are my dad. I feel it in my heart," Tim said, giving Ethan a hug. Ethan could feel his stomach twisting again as he heard this, and he tried his best to stop his tears from falling.
Ethan and Tim shared a close relationship with one another through the years. | Source: Pexels
The pair shared a close relationship with one another. They were more like best friends than father and son. When Tim turned 21, they would frequent bars and have a pint of beer together. They would also spend the holidays traveling together, and on normal days, they would sit on the beach not far from their house just to talk the entire afternoon.
Despite treating him like a best friend, Ethan actually raised Tim well. He grew up to be a kind, sympathetic, honest, and intelligent man. Ethan described him as the "perfect son." In the end, Ethan never found love again or remarried. Instead, he focused on working hard to provide a good life for his son.
A couple of years later, however, Tim went on to have his own family. He made sure to take care of his aging father by asking him to move in with them. His wife Tina was more than happy to have her kind father-in-law live with them, too.
However, those who benefitted the most from having Ethan living with them at home were his adorable grandchildren. They loved their grandfather dearly and would spend every afternoon playing and eating snacks with him.
Ethan loved his grandchildren dearly, and always spent time with them. | Source: Pexels
One day, Ethan asked the entire family to spend a weekend afternoon in his room. Together, they watched Disney movies that the kids enjoyed.
That same night, Tim went back to Ethan's room to find the glasses he left there. When he opened his dad's bedside table, he was surprised to see a photograph of his mother. He flipped it over, thinking it was the picture he had with him all his life until he realized it said, "I'm sorry, Ethan" on the back, instead of "I'm sorry, Tim."
Confused, he confronted his father and placed both pictures in front of him. "What does this mean, dad?" Tim asked.
Ethan quietly asked Tim to join him in their favorite spot at the beach so he could explain himself there. As they still lived nearby, the two walked in silence until they made it to the beach and sat by the shore like they always did.
"Your mother's name is Linda Harrison. She left your father when you were about three years old because she thought your father could not give her the life she had always dreamed of," Ethan started to explain.
Ethan and Tim went to their usual spot at the beach to have a meaningful conversation with one another. | Source: Pexels
"One day, while she was serving at the restaurant she worked at, a rich man took an interest in her. However, at the time, you were already three years old. The man, testing her, said to leave you at an orphanage if she really wanted to be with him. That's exactly what she did. She left your father, too."
At this point, Tim had so many questions he wanted to ask. He started by asking, "Well, what happened to my father?"
"When your mother left your dad, he was motivated to do better. He wanted you to be in his life, so he trained hard to be good at his job. However, it took him two years before he was able to get up on his feet and earn enough money," Ethan replied.
After a couple of seconds, Tim asked the question he really wanted to ask. "How do you know all of this?"
"It's because I'm your dad, Tim. I'm your biological dad," Ethan said, immediately getting a hold of Tim's hand. "I'm so sorry for keeping this from you, Tim. I was so afraid it would change our relationship I wanted to keep it a secret forever," he admitted.
"You should have told me this years ago! Why didn't you?!" he said, almost raising his voice at his dad. Tim was shocked, but he was not angry with his dad at all. He loved him dearly.
Linda left Tim at an orphanage to be with a rich man. | Source: Pexels
"Because I thought you wouldn't forgive me for not coming to get you from the orphanage any sooner. I couldn't come earlier. I had no money, and I wouldn't be able to feed you and give you the proper care you needed. I'm sorry, son," Ethan said, this time, not being able to stop his tears.
"When I found out the orphanage you were in was on fire, I made sure to be one of the first responders there. When the director said, you were stuck inside the building, I could feel my knees weaken. I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if anything happened to you. I was so relieved I found you safe and was able to bring you out in time," he added.
Tim hugged his father tight without saying a word. At that moment, his whole life flashed in his mind, from the moment Ethan rescued him to all their lovely memories together. Even without knowing that Ethan was his biological dad, he already treated him as such.
"I love you so much, dad. I've always told you this – I've always felt in my heart that you were my dad. And I was right. You're not only my adoptive dad; you're also my biological dad. Thank you for everything. I could never resent you for your choices or even be angry at you for not telling me. I'm truly blessed to have you, and that's all that matters," Tim said, also in tears.
The men sat in silence for a couple more minutes, just watching the waves crash into the shore. After a while, Tim faced his dad with a smile: "Beer time?"
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