Hello All -
Any thoughts on this situation?
I was adopted as an infant, and I also have an adopted daughter. My adoption was closed but as an adult, I made contact with my bio family. It turned out my bmother had passed away a long time before I made contact, so I never met her but did meet other members of my bmother's family and that has been a positive experience. On the bfather's side, I did make contact with him by letter and one phone call. On the phone call, he acknowledged that he was my bfather, but did not want any further contact. He has a wife and two adult children (i.e., my half-siblings) and my impression was, although he did not say so, that he had not ever told his family about me. In part because of my feeling that it would probably make the bfather very uncomfortable, I did not contact the half-siblings directly at that time.
Fast forward several years to now, and I recently learned that my bfather passed away about a year ago. So now I am reconsidering contacting these two half-siblings. From what I can glean of them through the internet, which is quite a bit, they seem to be doing alright in life. Half-bro is married and a firefighter and real estate agent. Half-sis is married, I think to a doctor, and has three children. They both live quite far from me. I guess I am mentioning these facts to show why I am not worried that if I contact them they are going to be in jail or a mental institution or destitute or something like that--indications are that none of that would be the case.
Interested to hear your thoughts regarding how my journey on this might affect my 8-year-old adopted daughter (and also any other thoughts you might have but it is primarily the parenting angle that I am asking about). For example, do you think I should tell her that I am thinking of doing this, wait until I do it and see how it works out, don't mention it, etc. What (if any) possible bad effects might there be on her? Her adoption is closed at this point but under the law she will be able to find out the identity of her bparents when she turns 18. Because this is a journey that she may also be on one day, I want to be thoughtful about how I handle this experience in my own life.
I think it's great that you're showing her what it looks like to take care of yourself! Since she's only eight, I would consider waiting to tell her too much until you know more details. Keep us updated on your journey!
Author of "The Adoptive & Foster Parents Guide: How to Heal Your Child's Trauma and Loss"
Find more information and support at www.forever-families.com
I recently reunited with my daughter who I had given up for adoption when I was 16. Now I have a 9 and a 6 yo as well. They were told about my eldest daughter since they were about 4; at that age they started talking about family trees in school and I wanted them to know about their half sister in case anything happened to me. They saw some of the paper work around the house when I was looking for her, and so they knew I was searching. They were kept pretty well apprised of the whole thing, actually - I always told them what was going on, but just after it had happened so that I could manage the information a bit in case something didn't go so well. Mostly, I didn't want them to get their hopes up about having a sister and then have to explain that she didn't want to hang out with us or something. All in all, it's been very positive - we've had a couple visits now, the girls are all over the moon about each other & I can't really have imagined it going much better. I suspect that in the case of your dd, it will be important to her to watch your process as it may be similar to her own process some day.
I'm not in your situation so I can't speak from experience but my intuition is that it's probably a good idea to tell your daughter a little bit about what's going on but save most of the details for later.
You may also want to keep a journal while you're doing this and consider sharing the journal with your daughter when she's a young woman.
Thanks for the responses. I am very much leaning toward going forward with contacting the half-sibs, but waiting to see how they respond before telling my daughter that this is taking place . . . Will keep you posted!
Latte, have you "done the math" and figured out whether you were conceived as a result of a premarital relationship, or whether your dad committed adultery? I would think that would have a lot of bearing both on whether you approach your half-sibs, and on how much you decide to share with your daughter at this time. A reunion involving adultery is probably going to be a lot more, um, PG-13. Even if your sibs accept you, they're going to want some explanations for your existence that you probably don't want your daughter to be privy to just yet.
Good point, Smithie. I'm quite certain there was no adultery involved. My birthfather was unmarried at the time I was born. The story from bmother's family is that they considered getting married but decided not to and/or he backed out of that idea. Birthfather then married another woman (i.e., not my bmother) about two years after I was born, and then a few years later had the two half-sibs. He and the half-sibs' mom were married 40 years, and still married at his death.
Even though no adultery, if I am correct that he did not tell anyone about my existence then I'm thinking it would be natural that they might be a bit upset at this "surprise," but hopefully have some positive feelings as well . . .
Even though no adultery, if I am correct that he did not tell anyone about my existence then I'm thinking it would be natural that they might be a bit upset at this "surprise," but hopefully have some positive feelings as well.
I'm sure it will be a surprise, but "Dad had premarital sex" has got to be easier to deal with than "Dad cheated on Mom." If I were one your half-sibs, I'd be upset about the deceit, but certainly not about the prior relationship. And I'd be VERY upset that the person I was upset with was dead, and not available to be given a piece of my mind. But that's just me.
We are dealing with this in my birth family right now- grandma had 13 children and gave all but 4 away.... the 4 that were kept- well they just found out about 6 children they did not know there mother had.
I deal with this on my birth dads side to - he and I have been in contact for 6 years... and he still won't tell his sons- they are getting older now- 16 and 19 and he still thinks they are to young to know he had premarital sex.... I too think they will be more upset that he has been lying to them these past 6 years...
like i said if you want to chat message me.
Contact them! :D
Your story is very similar to my half-brother's, who is my father's first child and was placed for adoption eight years before I was born. He was conceived with my father's college girlfriend...they thought about marrying, but my father backed out. A couple years later he met and married my mom, who know about the relationship/baby but never wanted it brought out in the open. My sister and I only found out about him as adults, after my mom passed away, and it's been FINE. More than fine, actually--we're friends. I'm sure my parents had good reasons for hiding it (reasons that were important to their emotional well-being at least), but for my sister and I it was NOT a big deal at all to find out about our half-brother. I think it's a different era, you know? Not so shameful as older adults seem to think it will be.
I hope it goes well for you. My brother contacted my father a couple years beforehand and he (my father) told him he didn't want a relationship at the time. I think it took Dad a long time to let reality sink in. A couple years later, he told us. We contacted our brother almost instantly, and things took off from there.
I don't have any experience about how it would affect your daughter, but given the ups and downs that can take place I'd keep it to yourself until you have some idea of how it's going. As she gets older, I'd imagine your experience will be very interesting to her-- but at this age she might assume that your experience (good or especially bad) is the universal experience, and if things go badly I'd worry that it would cause her stress and upset?? Just some thoughts.
just to add..
....I don't think finding out about our brother caused any anger toward Dad or my mom. We were adults, and we understood why they hadn't told us. I wouldn't worry that your half siblings will have anger toward their father for not telling them about you. Like I said...we understood that adoption (or at least having a child outside marriage) was a hidden, shameful thing a generation or two ago, and that my parents worried about the story getting out... but now adoption is so much more open and obvious. My sister and I didn't have the "angry" response at all.... just the "wow, that was silly to be so stressed and secretive...let's email him!" response. ;)
RedOakMomma - Wow, that does sound like a very similar situation! Thanks for responding. I plan to email my half-brother and half-sister soon. Have just been a bit busy with other things and want to take time to write a thoughtful email. Latte