Parents separating is hard on everyone, but for the most part, they can put aside their differences for the benefit of their children. Unfortunately for Oregon dad Bryan Thouvenel, things took a much more devastating turn when he split with his girlfriend, the mother of his youngest daughter.
Thouvenel’s ex-girlfriend took their daughter, Harmony Rain Thouvenel, who was 2 years old at the time, across state lines and effectively cut her out of her dad’s life for nearly three years. Needless to say, Thouvenel was crushed.
But he didn’t give up.
The bond between parent and child is amazingly and touchingly strong, and Thouvenel, who had two other children from a previous relationship, wanted nothing more than to keep his youngest daughter in his life. After all, dads and daughters share a special connection, and Thouvenel’s love for Harmony proved that.
Thouvenel would spend over two years searching for his youngest, a time he describes now as going “through Hell.” But then he got a call that changed everything.
When Bryan Thouvenel broke up with his girlfriend and mother of his youngest daughter, Harmony Rain, he never expected that he would spend two years without contact with Harmony.
But that’s exactly what happened when Harmony’s mother disappeared with her, leaving the state and cutting off all contact with Thouvenel.
Needless to say, Thouvenel was devastated, and knew he had to work to get Harmony back. He wore her pacifier around his neck to keep her close, and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to himself at night to keep the tears away.
But it would be two long years before he would see Harmony again.
Then one day, a friend called to tell him that they’d seen Harmony and her mother in a homeless shelter near Spokane, WA. With the support of the courts, Thouvenel went to get Harmony, and dad and daughter were reunited at last.
Thouvenel had been granted sole custody of Harmony even before the reunion, and so Harmony was immediately allowed to go home with him. She had last seen Thouvenel when she was only 2, but he says that when he introduced himself, “her eyes just kind of lit up.”
Now 5, Harmony is enjoying time with her dad and half-siblings. Thouvenel sings “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” with her before bedtime, and is working on creating memories with her.
Harmony is also making memories with the other Thouvenel children, who are 14 and 17.
There are still things to work out. Thouvenel’s ex lashed out at him on social media when this story gained popularity. But Thouvenel kept a cool head and said, “I will continue to take the high road on this and focus on the rebuilding with my daughter.”
Under her mother’s care, Harmony had lived in homeless shelters, and the ordeal has left her with separation anxiety, but she’s now growing up happy and healthy with her dad.
Thouvenel wants to use his story to call attention to parental alienation, which is when a separated parent keeps a child or children away from their ex-partner, denying them a relationship. He urges separated parents to put aside their differences when it comes to their kids.
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