A Brother By Any Other Name

May 1, 2009

My brother, he has a name, a real name, a name that was given to him by the man and woman who became his true parents, a name that carried him through childhood and adolescence and high school and on into adulthood, a name that he probably learned to write by tracing its letters in pencil on lined scribblers, a name that he he probably scrawled on desktops and in the backs of math textbooks, a name that he has no doubt signed on countless cheques and contracts and letters. He has a name. It is not the name my mother gave him.

I know this name, now. Knowing this name makes feel both closer to him, and further away. Closer, because knowing his name will help me find him. Further away, because it is the name of a stranger, and sometimes I forget that it is a stranger I am looking for. A stranger who might have no idea that he has a birth sister (sisters), and a birth mother whose heart aches when she thinks of him. A stranger who might not care.

I have to remind myself that this story might not have a happy ending. I have to remind myself that, sometimes, an unhappy ending is better than no ending at all.

And so I press on.

I won’t be sharing his name here. I had thought that I might, thinking that people publish classified ads all the time, looking for lost family, lost friends, lost strangers. But this space isn’t a classified ad, and because he is a stranger – with name and a life that are all his own – I need to keep his name out of my story. If you have an opinion on this, either way, I’d love to hear it. The temptation to post his name was strong – someone, somewhere, knows him, and among the many visitors to this blog there must be some degree of connection to him – and although I believe that the decision to keep his name private is right, I’d love to hear what everybody else thinks. I want to do what is right. I also kinda want to talk it out.

Another question – because I am lost here, and your support and advice have done much to light my way so far – once one has narrowed down some possibilities – by name, and not just by the guesswork I was doing the other week – how does one approach a stranger with a story like this? How does one say, I found you by this name; were you once called by another name? Does one write? Does one call? Does one message via Facebook? Does one send word by carrier pigeon?

I’m lost.

(Note: if anyone is mean in the comments, like last time – and by mean I don’t mean critical – you’re allowed to give your honest opinion, even if you think I might not like it. I mean MEAN – I will close comments again. This topic is too sensitive for me. I want feedback, but don’t tell me that you think I’m a selfish, insensitive attention-whore for telling this story.)

(Oh, and? My computer problems are soon to be rectified. HP thought that my circumstances represented a great opportunity – because they are interested in simplifying moms’ lives, and I am a mom whose life became, with the death of her computer, very complicated – for me to roadtest, on a lending basis, one of their new notebooks. Which is kind of poetic, because it was an HP notebook that Jasper murdered. So it’s kind of like getting a Labradoodle puppy to replace your old Labradoodle who died when the baby pushed him off the couch. Sort of. If that Labradoodle puppy were just on loan and was wireless compatible.)

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    planetnomad May 4, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I think you are absolutely right not to publish his name here. And I think that if you do find him, it’s best to let him know by letter so that he has time to process the information. I have no experience with this, but I am imagining how I would want to get such stunning news.

    I wish you all the best! I hope you get your happy ending!

    Kimberly May 4, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    >>>I think the possibility of birth relatives contacting someone is a risk parents knowingly take when adoptiong. And especialy if there's not a no-contact/closed clause.<<<

    40 some odd years ago, adoptive parents were assured that this would not happen. That the adoption was 100% sealed and closed and that there was no possibility of the birth family making contact.

    I was adopted 37 years ago. My mother recently told me that if she'd known then that the records would someday be laid bare, she would not have chosen to adopt.

    To those using "Well there's no Non-contact order" as a justification, two things: Neither the opening of the registries nor the existence of non-contact orders are necessarily widespread knowledge. And even if they are, it is only knowledge that is relevant should the person in question be aware that it applies to him.

    Oh, and violating a non-contact is not simply unethical. It's illegal and punishable by a fairly hefty fine.

    Finally, I've read a few times that Catherine has "every right" to do this. Why? What gives her that "right"? A handful of shared chromosomes and a burning desire? I'm not sure that's enough.

    Her Bad Mother May 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Kimberly – (I’m cross-posting this comment from our other discussion at facebook, because I think it serves the discussion here, too. Also, I need to write this through more, and the blog is the place for that, for me)

    Two things, mainly: I’m not on a quest to insert myself into his life, *at all*. I’m on a quest to know who he is. Maybe I’ll only ever know his name, but that’s something. Being in his life, bringing him into mine – that’s not the objective. For myself, I just want some sense of who this person is, even from a distance, this person who is my biological brother. But it’s mostly for my mother – I just want to be able to a) tell her that he’s alive (she’s always feared that he died in childhood; long story) and that he had a life, whatever that means. The ideal would be able to tell him, look, your birth mother loved you, and didn’t want to give you up, was pressured into giving you up, was just a child herself who was heartbroken at not being able to keep you. NOT to gain a brother for me, but to give my mother some peace in her heart about it. Which, maybe he doesn’t want. I can’t know that unless I make myself available to him, unless I make some contact.

    The other thing: there is always more than one person involved in an adoption story. The adoptee, obviously. The adoptive parents. The birth parents. The families of each. It’s not totally clear to me why – in the case of adults, and in a case where guidelines have been set – there’s a presumed hierarchy of rights, wherein the adopted party has absolute and primary right to never be contacted by anyone, adoptive parents have secondary right to not have their child contacted, and birth families have no rights at all. (‘Rights’ is maybe the wrong word. Choice may be better Am struggling here.) You ask if I’d be outraged to be contacted myself, if I’d not known about him: my answer is absolutely not. I would want to know, and wouldn’t begrudge him his ‘right’ or choice to make himself known to me. It would certainly make me uncomfortable. But I’d still not say that he *shouldn’t* make himself known (‘insert’ himself into my life is another story, but that’s not my intention here. I just want to make contact, even passively.)

    I may have to write this through.

    Am grateful for the discussion; I hope you know that.

    Her Bad Mother May 4, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Also, to everyone who is concerned about me writing about this – now or at any point in the future – I would never share any personal details about him, or even about any communications we might have – if we get that far – without his permission. Maybe not at all.

    I will continue to write about my feelings about this search, and its place in my relationship with my mother, and how it bears upon my feelings about family and parenthood and other issues. On *my* side of the story. Because a good part of this *is* my story, and I want to tell it.

    velocibadgergirl May 4, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I was adopted as an infant and never had much interest in finding my birth family. As an adult, I still don’t. I’m not entirely sure how I would feel if they contacted me, but I will say that if they did, I’d much prefer a letter or email to a phone call. A phone call would make me feel VERY on-the-spot and if I didn’t think it was a prank or fall down from shock, I’d feel very pressured to say what the person wanted to hear. A phone call would give your brother NO time to process the info you’re handing him. My two cents, just thinking about how some people really don’t like surprises OR talking on the phone.


    Miss Grace May 4, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    I want to clarify that I’m all for leaving a letter with a contacting agency or something. I just think that ultimately, the decision to make contact should be left up to the adopted individual, who can choose to seek out those agencies if he wishes.

    Miss Grace May 4, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I also think it’s important to note that if he doesn’t know that he’s adopted, he would have no idea that he needed (or didn’t need, as the case may be) a no contact order.

    Catherine I do truly believe that your heart is in the right place, I just really want to make sure the feelings of your biological brother are being fully considered as you proceed.

    Joy May 4, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    1. pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

    2. moral, upright, honest, righteous, virtuous, honorable.

    To find out that one’s adopted brother is alive, is happy, and was loved as a child and into adulthood, is an honorable undertaking. To request the opportunity to tell him that he was loved by his biological mother, and never ever forgotten, is honest and honorable. (I totally get the whole, OMG, I hope/pray they did survive infancy/childhood/etc.) Going into a search with these expectations is honest (and all those other good synonyms posted above).

    I don’t think that there is a single ethical standard with respect to how one handles the aftermath of adoption. There is not one common, accepted way for people to feel and behave in similar sets of circumstances regarding adoption searches.

    I trust that however you choose to proceed in this search, you will remain sensitive to his, your, and your mother’s feelings in this. Good luck, trust yourself, and be gentle with yourself through this emotional search.

    Avalon May 5, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I have to agree with Miss Grace and with Kimberly. Catherine, while I appreciate your desire to help find some peace for your Mom, I also stand by a point that I made several months ago when you began this journey. If your Mom truly wanted to find him…….was not at all conflicted……she would be doing all of this footwork. Not you.

    With greatest respect, I do beleive that this has become your mission for reasons that have less and less to do with your Mom.

    I am not adopted, but my father left us when I was 2 and never looked back. Supposedly, he married again after divorcing my Mom and I have a brother out there in the great big world.

    If someone else in my family decided to hunt for my brother on my behalf, I would consider that an attempt, on their part, to invade something that is uniquely mine. If I really want to find him, I will.

    I understand that you want to do all that you can for your Mom, but maybe now is the time to provide her with all of the information and back away. See what she decides to do with it.

    Her Bad Mother May 5, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Avalon – it’s much more complicated than just, if my mom wanted this search she’d do it herself. So many people here have talked about the benefit of third parties doing the searching, making contact, to lessen the emotional burden – I’m her third party. The only person she trusts to do this thing that carries such emotional weight for her.

    You say that your brother is uniquely yours, and that no-one else has the right to search for him. Why, then, is not my brother uniquely mine, to search for, to wonder about? Families are more than just parents and children; there are more relationships at stake than just mother and child, or father and child. Is it wrong for me to wonder about my brother? If so, why so? If this has become more about me – and that’s not something that anyone can know for certain, I think, just through my writing – is there necessarily anything wrong with that?

    There would be no genealogy, no full family histories, no true biography, if families didn’t seek each other out, seek out their histories, their stories.

    anotherJasper'smommy May 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Catherine, I’ve been a lurker of your blog for a few months now. I find your blog interesting, funny, sad, and, sometimes annoying (my honesty here). However, I think what you’re trying to do to find your brother is wonderful. I think that families/people need to know where they came from, even if the end result isn’t what everyone wants.

    I don’t think you’re being unethical. I don’t think you should post your brother’s name and I think you’ve already agreed with that. But I do think you should continue your search and try to contact your brother, in one way or another.

    Everyone commenting has their stories and everyone’s history and personality are different. I think that you need to do what you feel in your heart is right.

    You know, some people have commented on whether or not your brother even knows he’s adopted and how this contact will affect him if he’s not. Maybe I’m harsh, but I believe that he SHOULD know – that everyone should know their history. And if you’re the one to tell him, so be it. He has the right to know and decide if he wants to know his family. So, as long as you’re willing to let him make that decision once contact has been made, I think you should go for it.

    Yes, this is long-winded, but I’ve been reading the comments for the last few days and finally decided I needed to post.

    Good luck with your search!

    LAVANDULA May 5, 2009 at 11:23 am

    oh catherine that is wonderful that you have a name to find your brother.and you are right not to publish it here as it is a sensitive and private issue.good luck and hopefully he will be open to meeting and having a relationship with you.

    Aurelia May 5, 2009 at 11:32 am

    You mentioned on twitter that some of the comments have been difficult and I wanted to come here to support you and just to say, that you should search for him and make contact, because he may not have access to the info to find you and it may be very difficult for him. And although many adoptees tell their families that they don’t want to know who their birth parents are–all of those same people privately say that they do want to search.

    That said, once you do make contact, you have to respect his boundaries. He may have some issues and need some time to process them. I care about my birth mom, but she has overwhelmed me with her disrespect for my feelings. She literally just wants to run me over and consume me….which is very sad. But I’m still glad I met her because one way or the other at least I know what happened.

    But it is never unethical to contact a birth parent or a child given up and i have no idea why anyone would ever say that! Insecurity perhaps? Frankly, he is an adult, and can make his own choices.

    Anyway, please know that there are lots and lots of adoption trolls out in the blogosphere, some so vicious that many adoptees I know, never ever blog about how they really feel. They have just been attacked too many times. Same for birth moms. So it’s very important that keep a thick skin on this issues if you intend on blogging about it.

    Take care, and if you ever need anything, just email or dm me on twitter.

    Kat May 5, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Oh, Catharine, I’m so glad you’re one step closer in your journey!

    Now is the tricky part. What to say and how to say it? No clue. It will be much harder to talk to the one who actually is HIM rather than the ones who aren’t.

    Maybe for the ones on facebook you could do a generalized letter or something like “I’m looking for a man by this name who could have possibly been adopted in (insert date here).” and so on.

    It will be hard, but I love hearing about it, because as you know I just finished a journey almost the same.

    But yes, keeping his name off is a good idea. Letting close friends in on it isn’t.


    Katie May 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    My cousins found their younger brother who was put up for adoption many, many years ago. They have argued ever since over whether to approach him or not, whether to let him know who they are. One really wants to. The other wants to let him have his own life, thinking it’s better he not know how different theirs was from his. Adoption is indeed a strange thing. I don’t know what to tell you.

    Avalon May 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm


    The biggest difference between the comparison to my story and yours?
    I don’t have another interested party in my family who has a greater stake in find vs leave alone. If I go about searching for my brother, it would be because I chose to, not because I am doing it for someone else.

    If you were to follow that same train of thinking, then, in fact, you are finding your brother for you. Not your mother. And that takes a bit of her story, her control, away from her.

    If it was my Mom who was searching, I would help as best I could to find the pertinent info, and then back away and allow her to decide what to do with it. If she trusts me, she knows that I will be there to support her in whatever she decides to do, or not do with that information.

    I don’t fault you for having an interest in finding your brother. That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say. And I do respect the fact that you are trying to help your Mom in any way you can. But ultimately, this was your Mom’s story with her baby for many years before it ever became intertwined with your story.

    I honestly don’t mean to appear dismissive of what you feel is important. I just worry that the story has somehow been morphed from ” my Mom has sometimes thought about finding him, but never decided to pursue it”
    ” I will find him for her”.

    To me, there is a vast difference.

    alice May 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I just wanted to chime in – I am completely dismayed that you were even considering publishing this man’s name on your blog.

    From what I understand, you have his name – you haven’t located him through a mutual adoption find. This means there is a very very very real possibility that this man does not even know he was adopted, or has absolutely zero desire to ‘connect’ with you, your mother, or anyone in your family.

    You could be opening up a festering can of worms here. I am assuming that you have read stories of adoption reunions that have not gone well at all.

    Publishing his name would be an incredible invasion of his privacy (not to mention anyone else who shares his name). I understand that you use your blog to be very open and honest about what is going on your life, but this is someone else’s life. Someone you have never met, don’t know, and are only connected by biology.

    I think that this search you are doing is intensely private, and it has the potential to cause serious damage in not only your life, but his life, your family’s life….I’m not so sure if discussing this in such a public way is such a good idea, at all. Sometimes it is way better to write about something after the proverbial dust has settled.

    And yes, my life has been negatively affected by a “well-meaning” adoption search…. some mysteries are better left unsolved, and telling the tale of this story unfolding (though gripping, I’m sure, to regular readers) is incredibly disrespectful to this man who is biologically related to you, but is certainly not your brother, yet. (It may turn out very well, but I implore you to please consider the privacy of this man. Not everyone wants to live their life in blogland!)

    Her Bad Mother May 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Avalon – she asked me to look for her. Please trust that there are hours and hours of conversation that go on between my mom and I about this issue, and that there is much to this story that I don’t lay bare on the blog.

    Her Bad Mother May 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Alice – I considered publishing his name briefly, fleetingly. And decided against it, for all the reasons that everyone has reviewed here.

    The search itself is private. I have no intention of revealing anything about this man, if I do indeed ever learn anything other than his name. My own experience of the search itself, however, and how it bears upon my relationship with my mother and my understanding of family – this is my own story (and my mother’s, for which I have permission) to tell.

    And I am well, well aware the risks. I think about this constantly. I don’t share all of my thoughts about it, but I think about it *constantly*, from every angle. To say that I am proceeding with caution is an understatement.

    Barbara May 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I think that you are making a well thought out choice. There is no way to know his reaction, but your path seems well intentioned and well thought out.

    Best of luck to you, your mom and the unnamed, unknown brother. I hope that he has been wondering about the mother you share, and if he has siblings.

    Life is not always Hallmark moments, but they do happen. I hope they happen to your family.

    Mama G May 6, 2009 at 12:57 am

    I would contact him in writing. I’d suggest making sure the letter is more factual and less emotional – just in case he’s not ready. Share with him that he has two half sisters, perhaps some general information about his birth mom, and let him know how to reach you.

    And as some of the other comments have indicated, not all of these meetings have happy endings so I would only caution you to make sure your expectations aren’t set too high so as to keep from disappointment.

    Elisabeth May 6, 2009 at 10:11 am

    “The search itself is private. I have no intention of revealing anything about this man, if I do indeed ever learn anything other than his name. My own experience of the search itself, however, and how it bears upon my relationship with my mother and my understanding of family – this is my own story (and my mother’s, for which I have permission) to tell.”

    I don’t think the above distinction is at all as clear cut
    as you seem to think it is. Your search for him (how you feel about it, how your mother feels about it) is also something he might well regard as ‘his story’ I am afraid. Consequently, I am worried for you and what blogging will do for your potential future relationship with your brother.

    I hope this doesn’t fall into the category of a ‘mean comment’ – I love to write and I do understand the way it can be used to process feelings and to work through something. It’s just that the longer I read blogs, the more I think the potential consequences of writing about real life events in a public forum can be very serious indeed.

    Her Bad Mother May 6, 2009 at 10:30 am


    That’s potentially true of any relationship for a writer – children, spouses, parents, co-workers, neighbors, passers-by. I absolutely adhere to the principle that permission is needed before I tell anyone else’s story. But I need to draw the line somewhere, I need to be able to say, here is where someone else’s story ends and mine begins, otherwise I have no room to move. Of course it’s not clear cut. But I have to make a choice. Some might believe that the only reasonable choice is to write nothing that touches upon the lives of others. I happen to not believe that.

    I’m a memoirist of sorts. Whether I write here or in a magazine or in a book, it makes no difference: it’s what I do. That carries risks, obviously, which is why I proceed carefully when I write about things that involve other people. But carefully is the best that I can do. To stop writing stories that involve other people would mean that I would have to stop writing entirely.

    So, I’ve made my call, and my call is this: that it’s reasonable to regard my mother’s experience as *her* story, and my feelings and ideas about it, as well as my feelings and ideas about the process of searching – the person being searched for here remains only a spectre, not even a name – are my own. I would hope that if he and I ever connect, he would understand that. The possibility that he might not is a risk that I’ve decided to take – it’s a risk that I take with writing about my children (which is miles and away more transgressive of the boundaries between ‘owned’ stories) and so I’ve already made my peace with it.

    Miss Grace May 6, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Catherine I’ve been keeping up with the comments on this post, because I find your journey fascinating, and because I am genuinely interested in hearing all sides of this debate.

    The more I think about it, the more strongly I feel that it is no one’s right but your half brother’s to initiate contact or to search out his biological family, and that at most, you and your mother should leave letters at agencies designed to initiate this contact.

    And yes, despite what I genuinely believe to be your very best intentions and desires, I believe it is unethical to violate your half-brother’s privacy by way of direct contact.

    I disagree with the notion that you are your mother’s third party, as you are also a member of his biological family, and also emotionally invested in the outcome. If you do end up at a point where you are able to contact your half-brother, I strongly suggest that you do so by way of an unrelated third party, perhaps even a lawyer.

    I know you’re in Canada, and adoption laws are different, but in the U.S., unless it is a case of open adoption, contact with the biological family is designed to be strictly at the discretion of the adopted party.

    And Catherine, I just want to reiterate that your motivations and desires are not suspect to me. I believe that even if we disagree on this (and I believe we do), and you go forward with making contact with your brother, you will do so with sensitivity and caution.

    I wish your family the very best in this process.

    Joy May 6, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Miss Grace – There is a distinction between unethical intrusion into a person’s life, and contacting a person, for any reason. Any form of contact with anyone else, for any reason, is an invitation to discourse, which said person may or may not reciprocate. It is not unethical to initiate contact – it would be unethical to pester and bother and browbeat and attempt to emotionally blackmail a person into a response not of their choosing.

    Just because adoption is fraught with so many strong emotions, does not mean that the ADULT adoptees should not ever be contacted. I completely agree that minor adopted children should not be contacted except through their guardians, but I do not believe that we have the same strict burden of care with adults. I think that regular social mores should apply, in that people should be respectful of the others wishes, feelings, etc. It should be safe to assume that as a person grows a couple decades into adulthood, that that person is fully capable of saying no, or not now, or I am so glad you took the time to check on me, but I’ll get back to you when I am ready. And it is safe to assume that the adult initiating the contact will accept the stated wishes.

    (I also don’t think that older adults are in the same category as 21 year old children. At 21, many of us were still in that precarious blend of adult responsibilities, and mulch of childlike and adult emotional reactions to the adult world, all at once.)

    To say that searching for an adopted family member is unethical seems far too strong, and very harsh. I am curious as to why you make such a strong statement… In my family, the fact that my grandfather’s two oldest children were adopted out was due to a very sad set of circumstances. There was nothing black or white about the choice, indeed there was not a real choice, to give these girls to other homes. They have always been acknowledged as family, even when they were not present, even when we didn’t know if they were alive or not. If they hadn’t found us, we would have indeed found them. Even if just to know that they were well, or where their graves were.

    Elisabeth May 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    “Some might believe that the only reasonable choice is to write nothing that touches upon the lives of others. I happen to not believe that.”

    I don’t believe that either, I promise (despite my own recent ‘to blog or not to blog angst’ :-) ). I think we just draw the lines between our stories and other people’s stories in slightly different places and define risky categories of people to blog about somewhat differently. I suppose all I was saying was I hope your brother shares your views.

    By way of background, I considered adopting (am still considering it actually) and so I’ve spent a lot of time lurking on the blogs of adult adoptees – and some birth parents too. Their blogs often contain intense emotion and lots of confusion and don’t make for comfortable reading – particularly for a potential adopter.

    Consequently, whilst intimate potraits of children’s lives on the internet give me some pause for thought, I think any aspect of an adoption reunion story on the internet not written by the adoptee gives me even greater pause for thought.

    It sounds like you’ve thought about your decision on this issue very carefully though and I wish you the best of luck with it.

    (BTW, lurking in your comments box and angsting about the nature of blogging in general is really a back handed compliment to you. Well written blogs create this angst for me because of the conflict between liking the intimate potrait painted by the writer and my personal worry over privacy issues. Whilst the solution to the privacy issues seem simple re the mediocre blogger (ie *please* just hit delete! ;-) ), it doesn’t in your case. Hope that makes sense…:-))

    Take care.

    Her Bad Mother May 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Elisabeth – I appreciate you sharing your angst. It helps me to work through my own ;)

    Lynn May 6, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think you are wrong in searching him out. Two of my brother-in-laws are adopted…one knows his birth family and sees him regularly. The other doesn’t, but I think if they ever searched him out (once he was an adult – he’s only 5 right now) no one would be offended, especially not if it was a sibling.

    It’s a natural curiosity, to want to know your siblings. I would tread carefully in case he didn’t *know* he was adopted but I can tell you, if I was adopted and my birth siblings found me, I’d want to know it.

    Besides…maybe he IS making the search but can’t find you, or doesn’t know enough TO find you.

    I also disagree that you are taking away from your mother by looking for him. Why can’t this be “your thing” too?

    mrs. r May 6, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    whaaaaaat? people were mean to you? why is it selfish to want to know your biology?

    as an adoptive mother, i love that you are on a quest to find him to offer him more people to love him.

    this is exactly why i love open adoption so much. so grateful. i know that my oldest (2 yrs old) has 4 siblings out there and that they are all about the same age–give or take a few months. (holy fertile 6 months for his birth father. we wish we had that kind of sperm power at r house. lol.)

    because we write to my 2 year old’s birth father in prison, we have learned their names and where they live and their mothers’ names. they each have a different mother. he doesn’t have a relationship with any of them, but he has shared what he knows because he knows that my (our) son will want to know. bless him. (under that gansta’ attitude, he really is a sweetheart that loves “one tree hill.” darling, right?)

    i want to have a relationship with these people–all of them, especially with these children.

    why? because were i in your shoes, or in my oldest son’s shoes, i would desperately want to know my siblings, half siblings, biology, family …whatever you want to call them.

    i think you feel a craving to do this because IT IS RIGHT. it’s not like you are forcing him to have a relationship, he can say no …but i doubt he will. it’s natural to want to seek out your family.

    can’t wait to watch this journey unfold.

    besos and suerte.

    kudos to the adoption world for moving towards open adoption 10ish years ago. i don’t know if i could have closed adoptions. much, much love and repsect to the members of the adoption triad who did/do.

    Laurie/MobileMommy May 7, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I think you definitely should not publish the name of the man who is your brother on your blog. You are right – it is your story, not his, not unless he chooses to claim it as part of his if you find him. I know too many people who are so private and would dislike having such a thing displayed too publicly.

    As for first contact, I think email/letter/even facebook are good choices if possible. People need time to absorb such news – and interestingly this happened to my DH recently. He was contacted on FB by someone who is likely his half-brother. He appreciated having the chance to respond in his own time, a phone call would have been difficult for him.

    Good luck in your search.

    The Kellys May 7, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I was adopted when I was born, and I’m very lucky to now know my biological mom and my half brothers.

    Adoption is a beautiful thing and deciding to find someone is a seriously personal choice. I weighed the pros and cons…what I would feel like if I never tried against how I would feel if I was rejected. I decided I had to try. Like I said, I was lucky.

    Good luck!!! We are all anxious to hear a happy ending to your story!

    (A link to my adoption story, which includes the adoption story of my friends: http://ok-state-kellys.blogspot.com/2008/10/when-its-just-meant-to-be.html)

    Silicon Valley Diva May 16, 2009 at 12:46 am

    oh gosh, in a small way I can relate. I also have a family member (let’s just say a VERY close relative–or at least he was at one time). He too changed his name, his life. You are very fortunate you found out your brother’s new name.

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t harbor a similar fantasy–throwing this person’s birth name out there. Of course, I don’t though. I don’t wish to cause pain to my mother. And, I figure if he really really wants to find me, he will, I guess.

    Anyhow, you and your mother have my deepest sympathies. I would suggest, go for it. Go look for him. Good luck

    Anonymous June 1, 2009 at 4:44 am

    I have a half-sister I have never met. My father didn’t meet her until she was 19. He’d left his country before she was born, and her birth mother disappeared. This half-sister I never met found him through the obituary he posted of his father. She never knew she herself had been searched for.

    I still haven’t met her, as she is in a foreign country. I don’t have a burning desire to meet her either, as I have many half-siblings and am not close to any of them. I grew up close to my full siblings, and they are my family.

    But I also didn’t inherit my father’s longing for her, since my parents divorced when I was young and he returned to his country. I learned to live without my father, and so missing a sibling I never met never was an issue when life becomes about missing your parent.

    I think that you should post his name. Unless he has an extremely unique name, it is likely that many people have his name (http://howmanyofme.com). You would not be disrupting his life because if he didn’t want to be found, he could simply deny that he was the right “John Doe” you were searching for.

    On the other hand, like my half-sister, he may not know anyone is searching for him. If he sees his name, he can choose to contact you. He can choose to ignore you. He can choose to disrupt his life. The internet is the most powerful tool you have to find him, and whether you post his name or not, you will disrupt his life if you ever do contact him.

    If someone with the same name gets contacted about this, if it isn’t him, it would only be a minor annoyance at worst, well wishes to find who you’re looking for at best. If your true half-brother does get notified by your countless internet detectives, he has forewarning and won’t be blindsided by a call one day. He can read the backstory, be moved, recognize himself in a story, decide he wants answers too. He can then choose to contact you first, what to say, or he can even prepare a statement for you saying he doesn’t want to be contacted.

    No matter what you do, if you find him his life will be altered. The only difference in using the internet will be whether you find him at all and how quickly it will happen.

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