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Completing the adoption story

(55 Posts)
Briz Sat 07-Sep-19 19:26:20

After 62 years I have finally discovered the final piece of the jigsaw, my bio father’s identity. This was due to DNA matching and has been a long and protracted journey, he died in 2017.
My dilemma is I have discovered 2 half sisters, the eldest is 5 months older than me and the younger 18 months younger, their mother is still alive and had only been married to ‘our’ father for about a year when I was conceived. My birth mother died in 1959 so there is no one that will really know the true circumstances. Do I attempt to make contact with my half -siblings due to this delicate situation?

GrandmaMoira Sat 07-Sep-19 20:14:40

I imagine the mother is very elderly so you could possibly wait until she dies and then contact your siblings. Equally, you could contact your siblings and it would be up to them whether to tell their mother. It is always difficult in adoption reunions to judge what to do as it is impossible to know who knows about you. Personally, I think that if you want to contact birth relatives you should be able to.
I do realise this is a personal view and others would disagree.

Briz Sat 07-Sep-19 20:50:24

I had thought like you, GrandmaMoira, that the kindest way maybe to wait but feel I might have to put things on hold for possibly another decade.
Thank you for your comment which I’m so grateful for.

paddyann Sat 07-Sep-19 20:53:35

contact them but tell them you dont expect them to speak to their mother about you,if they believe she doesn't know you exist.If she has known about you thats different,but either way you could get some information on your father .

Tangerine Sat 07-Sep-19 22:16:56

I think Paddyann has given you excellent and succinct advice.

I hope things turn out well.

Ngaio1 Sat 07-Sep-19 22:29:04

I feel for you. My wonderful grandson was adopted when he was 18 months old. Because of the more lenient views today I have not lost total touch with him and have news and the occasional contact. It would have been so very hard if he had disappeared and I hadn't been given news.

My experience is from the opposite side, of course, but anyone involved in adoption has my total sympathy in what is always heartbreaking circumstances. I do hope it turns out well for you (and your relatives).

Sussexborn Sat 07-Sep-19 22:49:29

Were you born in the same area as your half siblings? They or their mother may know already through local gossip.

Perhaps you can take it one step at a time to see where it leads.

Bridgeit Sat 07-Sep-19 22:55:07

I also agree with Paddyann. Best wishes

Lock Sun 08-Sep-19 11:03:00

This article has useful information about contacting family, both practical and emotional.

kwest Sun 08-Sep-19 11:03:37

paddyann is giving wise counsel.

Rocknroll5me Sun 08-Sep-19 11:09:23

I don't think you should say anything while the wife of your biological father is still alive. It could be a very unkind act. She might be completely ignorant of the fact that her husband strayed whilst she was pregnant. Hold back. And don't tell your half siblings and ask them to keep a secret from their mother.

luckyme2b Sun 08-Sep-19 11:11:09

I contacted my half siblings. Best to do it through an official third party who is used to approaching people in this situation.
Remember that you may be upsetting a family but then look at it from your own point of view as well, also the family may already be aware of your existence and they also may be wondering what to do.
The siblings mother may also know about you.
I was very concerned not upset anyone but it all ended welL.As I say the best approach is through a third party. Contact social services for advise and don’t let them put you off.

Grannybadger Sun 08-Sep-19 11:13:41

This is a difficult dilemma for you, and I agree it needs to be undertaken with care.
I am adopted and have known for many years that my mother died either in childbirth or just after when I was born. It wasn't until last year I accessed my adoption records as I did not want to upset my adoptive mother, she died 2 years ago with my adoptive father dying a few years previously.
Through accessing my records and through paperwork my adoptive parents had kept which my brother (their full child & 8 years older than me) I found that I have a full sister who is 10 years older than me. My mother contracted polio when she was around 8 years old and I was a complete surprise as she was severely disabled because of the polio.
My adoption records were accessed through the adoption agency and a specialist social worker went through them with me which enabled me to understand more about the family situation for my birth parents.
Through Ancestry we were able to trace my sister and discovered that my birth father died around 10 years ago. I have since made contact with my sister through Facebook and although we have never met, we do exchange the occasional message. She was never aware of my existence until after the death of our father and then only was advised by someone else. She is pleased we have contact but I am unsure how much further to the our contact at present. I would like to meet her someday and possibly I will pluck up courage to arrange this sometime.
Have you access to your adoption records (I am assuming you were adopted), in which case they might show up some other information of help. I think in this situation I would be very careful about contacting them, and possibly use an intermediary to do so.
Good luck.

Madmaggie Sun 08-Sep-19 11:13:46

I wouldnt wait ten years or so, a lot can happen in that time. Perhaps your half siblings already have an inkling you exist, who knows. Tactful, patient enquiries to aunts/uncles old close friends maybe. Things were different back then. Best of luck.

ReadyMeals Sun 08-Sep-19 11:26:42

I have two half brothers. One I have not been able to trace, the other I did finally meet a couple of year before he died. The meeting didn't go particularly well because although he and his wife both seemed pleasant people and brought a nice cake to share, they were keen to turn the occasion into an opportunity to turn us into Jehovah's Witnesses. Now while I quite enjoy talking about theology, my husband became increasingly annoyed and in the end they left and we never saw them again. It's not that the meeting turned nasty or anything but I think JWs are encouraged not to associate too closely with non-JWs and when they saw we were not going to convert there was no particular point to them continuing the relationship.

But I am not sorry I met him, it was lovely to see little features on his face that reminded me of my long-dead father. smile

Sussexborn Sun 08-Sep-19 11:27:21

Bria. Your feelings are every bit as valid and important. You clearly don’t intend turning up at the mother’s home without warning! Your half siblings don’t have to lie to their mother as it is unlikely she will bring the topic up after all this time

Paddyann has given very good advice and most seem to wish you well. Knowing the truth of our early lives - which most of us take for granted good or bad - seems to be a fundamental need.

Briz Sun 08-Sep-19 11:35:39

I am so grateful for your pearls of wisdom. I’m new to this site and had a feeling that sharing my thoughts with those of a similar age would be helpful.

As an adoptee from the 1950s, I was always led to understand that I was a ‘shameful’ secret and that it wouldn’t be possible to glean knowledge of my birth family. Those of you who are also in the same position may feel, like me that we neither fit in with our adoptive or biological families.
I am in contact with a post adoption social worker and will probably decide to contact my half sisters via an intermediary, as suggested.
Although I have no desire to cause distress to anyone, us adoptees should still have a right to know the beginnings of our story.
I really am most grateful for all your comments and advice, thank you.

DotMH1901 Sun 08-Sep-19 11:56:19

I had a slightly different issue - my Dad had been married before and I knew I had an older sister (21 years older than me) who was married with a family of her own (I have a niece who is a few weeks older than me). Dad was divorced by his first wife and remarried to my Mum two years later. It was eight years later before Mum had my older sister and then me. She was always upset if any of us mentioned wanting to meet our half sister so we didn't ask. When Dad died my eldest (half) sister came to the funeral but stayed at the back and only spoke very briefly to my Mum. It wasn't until Mum died 16 years later that I decided to contact my eldest (half) sister - I did wonder how she would feel about my contacting her but she was (and is) lovely and we get on well. I am sad that we didn't have contact before as she is in her mid 80's now and I have heard stories about my Dad when he was younger (he was 54 when I was born) that show him in a different light to the often grumpy Dad I knew (I asked him once and he said he hadn't wanted more children as he felt too old to have a second family) I would say go ahead and contact them, preferably by letter as that gives people time to get over any shock and to consider what they want to say before replying, receiving a phone call out of the blue can feel like being ambushed. Wishing you luck and hope that your half siblings feel the same as my elder sister did about making contact.

Willow10 Sun 08-Sep-19 12:06:33

Brig, whatever you decide I sincerely hope it all works out well for you. Being in similar circumstances, could I ask how you went about getting a DNA match? Can anyone be found this way or do they have to have had their DNA taken?

Willow10 Sun 08-Sep-19 12:07:07

Sorry - Briz!

henetha Sun 08-Sep-19 12:07:33

My story is very similar, but in my case my half siblings contacted me, and I am so glad they did. We have the same father, different mothers.
But I agree with Paddyann's comments regarding their mother. She needs protecting, possibly, if she does not know.
You are absolutely right, we are the odd ones out. I have never had any sense of belonging to a family. But with counselling I have come to terms with it now.
I wish you the best of luck and hope it all works out well,
which I'm sure it will and hope you will have a lovely relationship with your half siblings.

edsnana Sun 08-Sep-19 12:10:09

If you did your DNA through one of the heritage sites you can make it public so that anyone else on the site that shares DNA would know they were related. Bit of a long shot I know but wonder if that might be worth a try in the first instance? Good luck

wicklowwinnie Sun 08-Sep-19 12:10:23

Paddyann has given you the best advice. Remember, only the successful ones are on Long lost families. There are plenty of unsuccessful reunions, and, in some cases have resulted in divorce and family break-ups. Good luck. x

Mollygo Sun 08-Sep-19 12:29:39

Hope it goes well for you and your half-siblings whatever you decide to do.
Personally I would be really upset if someone contacted me with information upsetting the way I see my family and once it’s been done, however carefully the contact is made, you can’t put the cat back in the bag.

SparklyGrandma Sun 08-Sep-19 12:38:20

Briz I think through an intermediary is the way to go, they can sort out protecting the mother.
I wouldn’t leave it plus your children at some point will want to know your origins so it may be a gift of info for them too.

Good luck.