Reaching out to birth parents
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21-02-2017, 02:28 PM
Reaching out to birth parents
So, I'm adopted. My parents told me from a very early age and I've never really had any interest in knowing more about my birth parents or reaching out to them. As time progresses however age creeps up on you and I've changed and health questions which could be ignored in the simplicity of youth cannot be so lightly dismissed.

I asked my adoptive parents which agency placed me with them and the search was off and running. last week I got the preliminary report regarding my adoption.

My mother was 28 and my father 31 at the time. According to my birth mother he didn't want to settle down or be responsible for a child. This being the 60s, social stigma of a single mother were not what they are now. It appears that the week after I was born, her brother died as well. My mother relinquished custody of me 50 days after I was born. 15 years later in the 80s my birth parents write the agency to inform them that they had married and have a son born 12 years after me and welcome contact from me.

Well I learn the above at the age of 48. I know this isn't as traumatic as some of the situations that others go through but damn, I am in a weird confused state.

I never imagined that my birth parents:
were not teenagers
would eventually get married
have another child meaning I have a full blood brother (I only have a sister in my adoptive family)

I have had a good life so far and my adoptive parents were good to me (ignoring their oddities and weaknesses) so I don't think I harbor any resentment towards my birth parents but the fact that they eventually got married and then had a child is just messing with me. The case worker I talked with described it in her phone message as a "special file" as these circumstances are a bit rare.

Now I wait. I signed the papers to allow the agency to release my contact info to my birth parents. Given what I've learned from the file about my birth father's health history I hope he's still alive, hell, I hope they are both alive. I'd like to let them know that everything worked out. I just assumed I'd be talking to 2 people who had no contact with each other not a married couple with a full blood brother. A brother! I think that is what is messing with me the most. Does he know about me? Does he want to know about me?

It's all just very confusing to me. I've been laying awake for hours at night. How do I explain this to my kids who don't know that I'm adopted. Hell they can barely grasp my family tree after my parents divorced and got remarried to other people. I have my health and a good marriage so things are good for me. This is just an area I don't know how to deal with.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored- Aldous Huxley
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21-02-2017, 02:52 PM (This post was last modified: 22-02-2017 03:02 PM by Anjele.)
RE: Reaching out to birth parents
I am sorry you are struggling with this situation.

If contact is made it could turn out to be one of the best things in your life or it could be like meeting people you have no connection with. Either way some questions will be filled in. As for your kids, having a more complete health history can be a good thing and it's not like you have hidden from them something you did. You just kept things going with your adoptive family and have carried the knowledge on your own.

Please be understanding of the time when you were born. Things were so different then. A lot of kids were raised by grandmothers or aunts while finding out later that they actually were born of another female in the family. The secret/shame was important to hide from the outside world.

In the 70s I babysat for the kids of the only divorced woman in town...seriously, I had classmates who had been asked but weren't allowed to babysit for this 'shameless harlot'. Mind you I watched her kids so she could work at night as a waitress to support those children, not so she could be out partying it up. Her abusive ex lived not too far away and was pretty much not present at all in his kids' lives.

Let things go the course.

As for explaining a family tree...I have said that my three have a family forest.

I hope things go well...relax and let things unfold as they may. Luckily you did have a family who sought you out and cared (and still care) for you.

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. -JF
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21-02-2017, 03:18 PM
RE: Reaching out to birth parents
I think you just take it in pieces. The first is that it seems like you want contact with your birth family. Your biological brother may very well want contact with you as well. And if he doesn't initially, it could be that he just needs more time to process everything. I think you tell your kids in as simple terms as possible and be open and available to answer questions.

Your birth parents may never have conceptualized that they would one day get married to each other and have another child, and because of that, did what they thought was best for you at the time. The fact that they want to meet you and would love contact from you shows they never stopped thinking about you.

It's not a slight to your adoptive parents to learn where you came from. But if it makes you feel better, you can certainly reassure them and tell them how much you love them, that they will always be your parents, etc.

Hugs to you Smile
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21-02-2017, 05:39 PM
RE: Reaching out to birth parents
My dad is adopted. He doesn't know that I know. Afaik he has no interest in tracing his birth parents, and according to my mum (they are divorced now) he doesn't like to talk about it, period, so I've never told him that I know. I hoped that when my grandma died a couple of years ago (my grandpa died when I was much younger) he might 'come out' but not a sausage.

I'd really like to trace my birth grandparents, I'll admit I'm curious, but mainly to know more about my medical history, since science understands hereditary illness so much more than in the '40's. Unfortunately I have no way of getting my hands on my dads birth or adoption certificates as a starting point. I will do it when he goes.

So in short, tell your kids - either now or after you've made contact with your birth parents, 'cause they deserve to know about their medical histories too.

With regard to your birth parents now being married and having another son, while I understand that it is probably a shock given what you thought the situation to be, how cool is it that you have a brother, and not just a brother but an uncle for your kids, a brother in law for your wife.

If your parents initiated getting in touch, there is a good chance that he already knows, or that they are happy for him to find out.

And I would look at your parents not being teenagers and eventually getting married as a positive, you were not the product of a one night stand, or worse, and were made out of love, just a little sooner than they could handle.

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21-02-2017, 06:15 PM
RE: Reaching out to birth parents
Take it slowly, gently, and one day at a time. It's going to be confusing for all involved. I expect that your biological parents are going to have their world turned arse over tea kettle too. Simply learning that you're alive and want to speak with them is going to be the first of many shocks. Soon they may learn that you are healthy, happy, and married with kids. There's reasonable odds that they'll suddenly and unexpectedly become grandparents.

Try and be gentle with them. It's likely that they are going to be feeling a lot of guilt, much of it unjustified. Times were very different back then. Yay for progress on that front!

Don't worry too much about your kids. Munchkins are surprisingly smart about this sort of thing. Nobody has a traditional family tree anymore. Few people ever really did. Either it won't be very important or they'll be getting yet another set of grandparents.

Best of luck with the new/old family!

Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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23-02-2017, 05:10 AM
RE: Reaching out to birth parents
I'd like to echo the others.

And I think you should focus on your own feelings and wishes in this.

Your kids will be fine with it. It'll only give them a bigger perspective of the world, knowing how family is rarely traditional and straight forward and how their daddy was and is loved by more people than they thought. Their situation will be just as stable.
Your birth parents are happy to have contact with you. They've opened up to that themselves, so you have nothing to worry about there. If they didn't want your biological brother to know about you they wouldn't have opened that channel. Either way, he is an adult now and as such, capable of dealing with the news no doubt. And I imagine you'll give your birth parents a chance to give him the good news before you show up in his life.
As for your own parents, they are prepared for this too. When you adopt a child you know that this child has a biological heritage that he or she might wish to get to know. It's part of the deal and something they are prepared for. They know that you will be no less their son by knowing your biological family.

In other words, your feelings are, and should be, the deciding factor here. You can rest knowing that everyone will be perfectly fine, if a little surprised, if you contact your biological parents. But even if they would be upset, in the end you are the one who is most important in this specific equation. You are the one at the center of it. Your biological parents and your adoptive parents made their choice and accepted what comes with that. You didn't have a choice. An adopted child naturally has the rights, and often the need, to know where they came from.
Your children and your biological brother are on the periphery of the question. They will still be effected of course, but it is not something that shapes their identity like it does yours.
So the one big thing that matters is what will make you happiest. The people around you will benefit from your happiness in this question.

I hope you find your way in this either way


"I believe that while not all people are essentially good, most are trying" - Adam Savage
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