Lost

April 3, 2009

I have moments when I lose the thread of the story that I tell myself about why this is so important to me. I tell myself that this – this story about searching for my long-lost brother – is a story about helping my mother. I tell myself that this is for her, and for him. I tell myself these things, and I stumble over my lack of conviction. It is these things, of course. But it’s more than these things. I want to find him for me. I’m not sure why.

I never knew that I had a brother. His absence from my life, such as it was, was unknown to me. I never felt the loss, because I did not know it. It’s wrong, perhaps, to even describe it as loss. His absence from my mother’s life made it possible for me to exist. Had she stayed with his father, as was her plan, I would never have been born. We were never fated to share a life, he and I, so how can his absence from my life be understood, be felt, as a loss? (Also, oh god, loss. My heart aches for not being able to parse its experience of loss in a manner that makes such loss comprehensible. My heart, it aches, and is confused.) My brother was not lost to me. He was never mine in the first place.

And yet: I’m haunted by the moment, in the telling of her story, when my mother said “your father would have adopted him.” They were friends, she and my father; the circumstances surrounding her giving up this boy brought them closer. My father offered to stay with her, and with him, and make a family. But it didn’t happen that way – my mother didn’t know that she could change her mind about giving up her son, and so the wheel of the fates turned and the boy went to another family and was lost forever to mine. Is it this that haunts me? The idea that he could have been my older brother, that my life might have been the same in every respect save for the presence of a brother? No, because – if there is one thing that Lost has taught me – history does not unfold that way. Keeping my brother would have set my mother on a different path in a different life, regardless of whether or not my father was with her on that path. It would have set her on a different path in a different life. A life without me. So am I haunted by the idea that, but for the grace of the fates, this boy, this lost boy, might have had my life? Is this why I want to know him?

I don’t know. I’m still sorting this out. All I know is, I keep turning this Dharma wheel, hoping that it will project me into a time and place where I know my brother. For better or for worse.

UPDATE: I’m shutting down comments on this post. Apparently, not everyone in the world supports public adoption searches – which, fine, but some of those not-everyones are unable to express their opinion about that in a manner that is civil. My heart’s too vulnerable around this. I’m putting the comments away, to keep private, for myself, and closing further commentary. Anyone who needs/wants to get in touch with me about this, please use e-mail.

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    { 29 comments }

    mommylicious April 3, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Although my story is a little different than yours, it is similar in ways as well. My father had a son from a previous marriage and he was around periodically until I was a toddler. (I have no memories of him then, but have pictures of us when I was a baby.) He and my dad had a falling out (he was a teenager at the time) and he disappeared out of our lives. I learned of him once I was older and always had this “wonder” of him and what he was like and if he was married and had kids or just what happened to that boy, my brother. I have 1 younger sister and I was always wondering how my life would have been different if I had grown up with a big brother–I still wonder that sometimes! Several years ago, I started doing some searching for him without even mentioning it to anyone else. I think that I didn’t want to disappoint my family if I wasn’t able to find him. I was able to find an address for him in a nearby town and just decided to take a trip one day, with my 2 boys in tow, hoping for the best. To my surprise, he was there and he was pleasantly surprised to see me, once I told him who I was. I hope you are able to find him and hope that it fills that “void” that you feel in your heart now that you are aware of his existence.

    SiMoNe April 3, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Thank you for telling your family’s story. My mother had also given up two children on two separate occasions in the early 60′s, in very much the same way your mother did. And like your mother, she did not tell anyone until much later – I was in my 20′s – and she never did tell our father out of some strange shame she had been carrying for 25 years. It’s a very crazy mixed painful thing, I know.

    The Kellys April 3, 2009 at 12:32 am

    I wish I had a resource or information that could help you. It’s amazing the things that you have been able to find out. I was adopted when I was born and when I turned 18 I found my birth mother. I’ve been amazingly blessed to have such a wonderful “extended family” that includes 4 half brothers, a half sister, grandparents, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins who accepted me immediately and have since embraced my husband and son. I hope that you find him soon and are blessed with an amazing experience as well.

    Angela April 3, 2009 at 12:45 am

    I don’t know, I think emails would be ok. Carefully worded ones that wouldn’t be confused for funky spam or something. You might get lucky and find him!

    I sent emails once to a whole slew of folks with the same name as an old highschool friend of mine looking for him. I received several nice emails back letting me know they weren’t the right people, but wishing me luck.

    I’m excited that you’ve found this many leads so far. Hopefully with all the info out there you can find more!

    JCK April 3, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Good luck in your quest to find your brother. It sounds like you’ve got some good leads.

    It feels from your words that it is important to find him.

    Roshni Mitra Chintalapati April 3, 2009 at 1:06 am

    what a sweet sad story! I hope and pray that you find him and that you are not disappointed when you do!
    I will eagerly follow your story and hope to rejoice with you soon!

    anon April 3, 2009 at 5:14 am

    I have an unknown and unfindable half sibling. Through adoption. I just found out about this in January.

    I think the reason this doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers you is there really is no way that I can find anything out or find this person. My half brother, I guess you’d say.

    It’s kind of eerie because I used to DREAM of a big brother. I even had this feeling that such a person really existed! And it turned out this person did exist. It’s just strange but there was no way I could have known.

    I guess I’m still in the denial stage because I put this out of my mind and now that I’m thinking about it, it causes me a bit of turmoil.

    It seems like–from reading what you say–that you do have to pursue this lead. It sounds like you need to do this. To be honest, I think I would do the same if the opportunity arose. But it never will. It’s such a strange feeling. And yes, this would have changed everything if different choices had been made…and perhaps yes, I might not have been born.

    Lu April 3, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Have you thought about looking on Facebook for him? I looked up “William Larsen” and there are quite a few on there. Some of them looking the age group your brother would be in.

    It’s a long shot, but maybe one of them is him, or may know him or of him.

    Try “William Sutherland” as well.

    You never know your luck! =)

    philologia April 3, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Follow your heart.

    I am someone’s long lost sister. I would give quite a lot to know if I were wanted, if they wanted me in their lives.

    Anonymous April 3, 2009 at 8:22 am

    When you do find him, maybe you could write about about how you did it? I have a sister I haven’t seen since I was 6, and I’ve been looking for her. So far no luck, and I know her full name!

    Marin April 3, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Maybe, eventually, you can send him the posts you’ve written. I think they tell the story better than anything else could.

    Schmutzie April 3, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I have no idea how you would approach the subject with people you’ve never met who don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sure that you and your ability with words will do just fine.
    I’m so thrilled that you have some leads!

    Meg April 3, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Wow, Larsen is a pretty prominant name in BC (at least from what I’ve seen online).

    I have no basis for anything I’m saying here, other than the fact that I keep Googling Larsens up there and narrowing them down by age. Have you looked at Karl Larsen, a professor at Thompson Rivers University? I can’t find a birth date anywhere, but he looks like he could be in the right range. He might be a little younger, though.

    Oh how I wish I could help you…..

    sleepynewmommyblog[at]yahoo[dot]com

    maya April 3, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I watch the locator every week- a man by the name of troy dunn. He reunites families. Here is his website, maybe you can reach out to him?

    http://www.troythelocator.com/Main.asp

    Her Bad Mother April 3, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Anonymous – yes, I will definitely write about the process of finding him, if I find him!

    Her Bad Mother April 3, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Meg – I saw Karl Larsen. Have been trying to see if I could better figure out his age. He *could* be forty-six! His academic CV has him starting publishing at about the right time…

    Meg April 3, 2009 at 10:13 am

    That’s what I thought when I looked at all of his publishing. Plus he’s smart and he looks nice. I’ll keep my fingers crossed…

    Katia / Crazy for trying April 3, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I have a friend who works @ Thompson Rivers… maybe she can do some digging! ha. Let me know.

    [crazyfortrying] AT gmail

    Domestic Extraordinaire April 3, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Good luck.

    just Joy April 3, 2009 at 11:26 am

    The story of Loss is a funny thing. Once it has been shared, there are many people that it touches, and it can continue through the generations of a family, as well. My maternal grandfather, during WWII, had two daughters in England. Through a sad set of happenings, he was not to remain with them, nor they with their mother, ultimately. I know he missed them desperately, and loved his lost daughters all of his life. Growing up, I have known of these girls, older than my mother and her three brothers, and felt some vague duty to try to find them, later. One of the girls, the older one, found us instead. She is (and always has been) a part of our family. She is looking for her younger (full) sister, and has been for many many years, still without luck. And the Hurt, and the Loss, are still there, and very real, for my Aunt, and the rest of my family.

    I think that when you acknowledge a previously unknown someone as family, as being loved (desperately) by a member of your family, then that love and loss and hope diffuses through others in the family, as well. Because they care so much, we do, too, even if we do so blindly, for the time being.

    Good luck with your quest. I do hope that your mother gets to hug her son.

    Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com April 3, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I think that’s what telephones are for. You may not always read an e-mail, but you’ll generally pick up the phone or listen to your voicemail.

    J.Danger April 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    seems like you are on the right track!

    Karen MEG April 3, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Good luck with this… I can just feel the nervous excitement in this post…and a very good feeling.

    Anonymous April 3, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Oddly enough I do remember a college friend with the last name Larson (definitely O and not E, though) who is adopted and probably either 45 or 46 now. But I don’t think his parents were either Canadian or ever faculty anywhere. I will look into it.

    Lisa Mom of 2 Boys April 3, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    My uncle (age 74) found out last year (20 years after his dad passed and 5 years after his mom passed) that my grandpa wasn’t his biological dad. He met his real brother in January for the first time.
    Good luck!

    Tom April 3, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    This may be a long shot as well, but are you sure on the spelling of Larsen? Could it be Larson? My cousin married a Larson from BC, he’s about 40, and we think he has brothers; no idea about adopted or not adopted or what, but they’d be around the right age, so I thought I’d pass it along. Let me know if you want their contact info, I’d be glad to set up an introduction. You can contact me at tomhadley at me dot com (or I do follow you on Twitter as well :P ).

    Good luck!

    Redneck Mommy April 4, 2009 at 2:39 am

    I wish I was brave enough to look for my half sister Debbie.

    You inspire me, friend.

    Good luck.

    Sara April 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    http://www.wetv.com/the-locator/index.php

    I saw that man on Dr Phil. He – Troy – Has a heart of gold. It couldn’t hurt. Could it? He might be able to help.

    Sara

    Karen April 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    This is an amazing thing your doing. Even through the fights little brother and I get into, I couldn’t imagine not ever knowing him. Your putting a piece of you out there to find a piece of you. I am hoping and praying that it happens for you. You are such a strong woman to do this.

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