41-year-old Bryan Thouvenel hasn’t had an easy life. His life has been described as “rough,” and his dreams of becoming a songwriter were crushed when he had two children while still in his 20s.
After turning 30, he thought his worst days were behind him, but his life changed forever in 2010. His friends dragged him to a karaoke bar, and he ended up meeting a girl. He sang a Beatles’ song to her and from there, they fell in love and started a two-year relationship.
During their romance, they had a child together. A little girl named Harmony Rain Thouvenel. Sadly, Bryan and Harmony’s mother watched their relationship go downhill fast. They were constantly arguing with each other, and one day his ex-girlfriend took Harmony and drove north to Washington. It broke Bryan’s heart. He was crushed.
He searched for them, but he had no idea where they were in Washington. And then something magical happened while eating with his mother at a restaurant in Myrtle Creek. A friend called him to say he saw Harmony at a Salvation Army homeless shelter in Spokane, Washington. His mother dropped everything to drive him 10 hours straight to Spokane.
“She’s not in the best of health in the world, you know, but she drove for 10 hours straight until we got up there to the courthouse.”
After securing a court order, Bryan was able to get Harmony and her mother to a local courthouse where a judge put Harmony back in her father’s custody. After the decision was made, an officer instructed Bryan to wait on a bench outside the courtroom.
A few minutes later, his now 5-year-old daughter came walking out…
“She’s kind of looking around, and I said her name once. She kind of looked at me funny and I said ‘Harmony, it’s daddy.’ Her eyes just kind of lit up.”
He used old photos on his cell phone to refresh her memory and held her tight while trying to fight back the tears. It was one of the happiest moments of his life, but there were still some struggles he had to deal with. Harmony was terrified she would lose her daddy again, so she needed constant reminding that he wasn’t going to leave her.
After the emotional experience, Bryan joined organizations like the The Pacific Northwest Father’s Rights Movement. This led to him finding a nonprofit called Time to Put Kids First, the organization surprised him by funding a special trip to Hawaii with his daughter.
“For two years she didn’t have any memories with me so they decided it would be a nice idea to send us over to Hawaii for a retreat. It would be this huge memory that she would actually remember. Regardless of whatever happens in the future, she will always have this one memory with dad.”
Images via: nydailynews