Hawaii man unlocks answers about his biological father

Kaopuiki still searching for younger sister

Published  7:27 PM HST Apr 22, 2013
HONOLULU -

At the age of 42, Ronald Kaopuiki sees his baby photos fro the first time.

"I've never had any baby pictures.  I never even knew what I looked like as a baby," said Kaopuiki.

Kaopuiki says his parents gave him up when he was just 2 years old.  His maternal aunt and uncle raised him and didn't talk much about his biological parents.

"I didn't even know what nationality I carried -- nobody knew," said Kaopuiki.

Now a Navy recruiter with four kids of his own, Kaopuiki made it his mission to learn more about his childhood.

Three month ago, he started looking.

He found his father in the Veterans Affairs database.

"They were able to tell me that my father passed away young at the age of 34.  There was a number and I made that call," said Kaopuiki.

Little did he know that call would change his life.  The person who picked up on the other end was his grandfather.

"'Ronnie is this you?'  I was like, how do you know my name?," said Kaopuiki.  His grandfather told him he was looking for him and his sister all this time.

Kaopuiki's 88-year-old grandfather, who lives in Chico, Calif., shared with the sailor things he never knew about his biological dad.  Things like the fact his father served as a decorated Marine and was a diver.

This naval officer follows a lineage of military service with his grandfather, who is also a veteran.

"I followed his same traits without even knowing the man and now it's like I have identity and before I had no identity for so long," said Kaopuiki.

That identity crisis ended when his grandmother sent him a photo album filled with family pictures.

For Kaopuiki, talking to his grandfather and glancing through the images answered the questions which have plagued him his entire life.

"I have closure now. I have a family.  I never knew I was part Indian until a few months ago," said Kaopuiki.

Kaopuiki plans to fly to California to meet his grandfather face-to-face in June.  The father of four says his next mission is to track down his younger sister who was adopted into another family.

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