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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    { 133 comments }

    Mimi May 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I’ll tell you WHY it’s a good idea to keep it off the blog. Dude, you’re famous. There’s a serious power differential that comes into play when you name him here: you are a well-known writer and he becomes the object of a quest narrative. You, subject; brother, object. You: the cellphone user with the Verizon network lined up behind you. Him: hapless guy who uses another carrier. It’s just too asymmetrical

    Objectifying your brother is not the best way to start.

    So my advice is not new, but I thought I’d explain WHY.

    Oh, and Catherine? God. Good luck. You must all be reeling from the new info, wondering what to do, what will happen. I wish you the best.

    Mary@Holy Mackerel May 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I think it’s wonderful that you are trying to find your brother, and anyone who is judging you needs to look at themselves first.

    As for publishing his name, I would think it might be much better to get his permission first…I know that’s what I would want were I that person.

    GOod luck!!

    Her Bad Mother May 1, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    About not knowing whether he wants to be found (I think that I said this above) – there’s no no-contact or non-disclosure order on his info, which all adoptees have the right (in that province) to demand, since it became law for that information to be open to families. So, it’s not a *welcome* sign, but it does mean that (if he knows he’s adopted) he didn’t act to block contact.

    Also, the government adoption registry itself? With search/find option it’s expensive. Simply can’t afford to do that right now.

    abomo May 1, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I wish I had words of wisdom to share with you but all I’ve got is this – how could anyone be mean to you about this blog?! Seriously, I love reading your heart’s internal workings on my laptop screen. It’s your heart and you are sharing it with us and if people feel the need to judge you harshly from a digital distance, I say they can take their mean-ole selves to the land of crashing hard drives and slow internet connections.
    Sorry, don’t like to hear about meanness even to strangers I don’t know.
    It’s your life, your journey and it will unfold exactly as it is supposed to you – you cannot mess it up. period.
    peace to you…

    TheFeministBreeder May 1, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I have nothing much to offer except this. You seem pretty awesome to me, and I would be so, very, very happy if a woman like you found me and told me that she was my sister.

    I’m an only child, and I wasn’t raised by my biological parents either. I’m sort of alone in the world, and an awesome blood relative showing up out of nowhere would be like every birthday and chrismtas present I’d ever need for the rest of my life.

    That’s all I have to offer. Good luck to you.

    Karen May 1, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    As a birth mother, I would say don’t put his name out there until after you have contact with him and he gives the approval. It is his life, too, and should have a say.

    You are so right–they charge way too much money to do a search, when all they have to do is look in some files. Why does that need to cost over $300?

    kittenpie May 1, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Definitely you are right to leave his name out – if and when you talk to him, once it becomes comfortable, you could ask if it was okay, but until then, I think it wouldn’t be fair to drag him out onstage in front of all your readers and the whole internet. I mean, besides not knowing if he wants to be found or what you will find or how you will be received, well, he may not even know he’s adopted, and tripping across himself on someone’s blog would not be the way to find out…

    Monkey Girl May 1, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    I’m an adoptee who was ‘found’ by my biological father when I was 32.
    As others have stated there are many registries available for finding birth parents/adopted children to help find each other.

    Here’s my bit of advice. Please start some kind of therapy to help start processing what you are feeling. So you’re ready when the meeting finally happens. When I was contacted (out of the blue, I wasn’t looking for my birth parents) it was very hard for me and I immediately sought counseling. And as you’ve said it might not be a happy ending.

    Mine was neither happy or sad. My birth father is very different from my adopted father and it’s difficult to relate.

    As far as the names go…here’s my two cents. My birth father (and his new wife) still screw up and call me by my birth name, which isn’t my name now. It hurts every time they do it. Please be mindful of this…it’s a very touchy issue. I’m not sure they understand how it feels to be called something different…even though I’ve reminded them many times what my new name is.

    Good luck and wish you the very best.

    FormerGFS May 2, 2009 at 1:28 am

    I’ve never been in your situation, so I can’t speak from experience.

    However, I am a genealogist who volunteered for many years as a host in a genealogy chat room. I can’t count the number of times that an adoptee came in, begging for help in finding missing birth parents — and vice versa. The stories were all different but the feeling of the birth family member or the adoptee was the same — longing. I can identify with it to a certain extent, as I have been searching for some of my elusive ancestors for over 30 years!

    In my case, though, the people I am searching for passed away long ago. I have facts and records about them, but few stories to make them come alive again.

    In your case, you are dealing with someone whose story is still being written. You don’t know what it has been to date, or what he might think or feel about having his story disrupted and made public. Living people have the right to privacy.

    The chances are, if he knows he is adopted, he will feel that longing to KNOW the circumstances, to have the chance to meet his birth family, to experience that sense of connection — those were the common themes of the stories I heard in the chat rooms. Bear in mind that those were people who sought the help of others, who made the conscious effort to look for the missing family member. It should be your brother’s choice if he wants others to know his story. (“Your brother” — isn’t that so cool? Aren’t you just jittery with excitement and kinda sick to your stomach at the same time? I would be!)

    Heaven knows, your blog is so popular that his story wouldn’t stay private for long if you posted it.

    My curiousity is killing me. I hope he gives his permission, when you finally get a chance to ask him. I want to know the rest of the story! Oh, I love this stuff…

    Christie D. May 2, 2009 at 3:06 am

    I agree you shouldn’t post his name, and also I don’t think you should ask his permission to post his name later, unless you get to know him well and he is the sort that is very open about having his name and/or photo on the internet. Even asking him “can I put your name on my blog” might be freaky to someone who is a bit more private. Or maybe you could ask to just put his first name up, after you know him?

    A letter is nice too, but the advantage of a call is that you can make sure you are talking to the right person within that household – a letter may be opened by his wife or child, for example.

    I found out while doing family history research that my grandfather had remarried (after my grandmother divorced him), and that he had had 3 more children. We never had known that he had more children after my mom. I finally got up the nerve to tell my mom (she never liked talking about her father), and after several months we agreed that I would call one of them. I was so nervous!! I called and said, “I am the daughter of -soandso- and I think we might be related…” He immediately said excitedly, “That’s my sister!!” He and his 2 siblings had grown up knowing they had an older half-sister in the next state, but as she had married in the 1960′s and changed her surname, they couldn’t really find her. We all ended up having a nice reunion, 4 years ago.

    Mrs. Wilson May 2, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Wow. Progress! Baby steps, right? I do hope that you find him.

    I had a friend who was adopted and was exctatic (sp?) to meet her birth parents. It was a good reunion. She now keeps in contact with her birth mother.

    Have you already tried to look him up on Facebook? What am I saying, probably. Wow. I’m so excited for you to finally meet him, if that’s what is supposed to happen.

    I grew up in BC. I didn’t mention this earlier, because I didn’t want to get your hopes up (because there’s no hope in this), but my dad’s name is William Frederick. But he was definitely NOT adopted and is four years older than your brother. And, obviously, your brother was given a new name by his adoptive parents. I just thought it was a weird coincidence that someone had the same name as him.

    I will hope for you that this story has a very happy ending!

    Rebekah May 2, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I hope you find him and that it is a joyous reunion for your whole family. I imagine he will be thrilled to learn he has a sister like you! You’re terrific!

    Andrea May 2, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I agree with Mimi about not making him an object of your quest. I would find that overwhelming and a violation – even if I were sitting around waiting to be found. I’m sitting here in a library and imagining the difference between being approached as I sit by myself by one stranger with a bit of life changing news or a marching band with confetti and a banner and trumpeting elephants. You must feel like you want the information RIght Now. I know I would and it must be so tempting because of the power of your blog to send up the flare, skywrite the question and possibly receive the answer much sooner than going and knocking door to door on your own. That said I don’t think there is anything wrong with a benign friend request on FB. A simple, I am looking for someone and I think you may be him, sorry to bother you otherwise. It’s awkward but it’s not awful and it’s free and he can always decline should he choose.
    Good luck. I wish you a happy ending.
    And congrats on the new tester labradoodle. May it and Jasper get along better this time. :)

    Chickiedoodle May 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I only skimmed the responses but didn’t see this suggestion: I think having a third person contact him would be the least threatening way to do it. He would be able to answer honestly about whether he wanted further contact without having to worry about hurt feelings on your end, and you wouldn’t have to hear directly from him if he is hesitant to start a relationship.

    Maybe I watch too much tv (just flipped past a repeat of The Locator (http://www.wetv.com/the-locator/index.php)), but having a person not directly connected facilitate it would protect both sides from the most serious negative outcomes.

    Banteringblonde May 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I know I asked this before but I can’t remember if you mentioned whether he knew he was adopted? I still think the best approach is to find the adoptive parents and talk to them first. This could really be damaging to him and his family if it is not handled carefully. My husband is adopted and has no desire to ever find his birth parents – he feels that his parents are his parents and that they are his family, without them he would not be who he is. This is about HIM not you… I think the recommendation for counseling is a good one regardless of whether you ever find him. Exploring why it is so important to you to find a stranger could be beneficial.

    gurukarm (@karma_musings) May 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Well, pretty much everyone said already what I think too – no, don’t put his name here *yet*. There are so many variables about what might happen if you do, and so many of them might not be good.

    I hope and pray for you and your mom that your brother is indeed looking for you (her) too, or at the very least, will be happy to know about you and meet you all.

    I’m having so many other thoughts in response to the comments too; some of my story as a birth mom I’ve mentioned to you in email. Here is not appropriate though. So maybe I’ll just wander on over to my own blog and actually write about this too.

    Best to you!

    Burgh Baby May 2, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I can’t tell you what works, but I can tell you what does not work.

    My mom gave up her first-born for adoption and never mentioned it. Ever. A month after she passed away, the story came to light that he had been trying to find her, but she had refused to meet him (I suppose she did that because she was dying of cancer at the time).

    Anyway, he found me after hiring a private detective. He then called, out of nowhere, and just started yammering. Less than ten minutes after I learned he really did exist, he was naming dates and inviting himself to my house to visit. He was all sorts of pushy, assertive, and generally overbearing during the call, and showed up at our airport a month later. I never had a chance to even think about the whole thing, and it really made it hard to accept him into our lives. I’m still struggling with it.

    So, be yourself, but remember to let things progress naturally. Maybe some people would be OK with a total stranger inviting themselves into their home, but I wasn’t ready for it. Rushing things more than I was comfortable with has strained things in a very odd way.

    Good luck!

    Marinka May 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t think that there is a right/wrong answer here. It’s unchartered territory. Be kind to yourself.

    Just me... May 2, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Good luck.. And I hope it turns out wonderfully for you.. If you need any help, let me know.. I’ve been pretty good at finding the past… :) :):)

    Momily May 2, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    How exciting and wonderful that you have gotten this far in your search for your brother! I agree with most commentors that keeping his name off your blog is the appropriate thing to do.

    I’m not sure how you should contact him . . . phone seems to invasive somehow, but snail mail or a facebook message, etc. at least gives him an opportunity to respond on his own terms if he even wants to respond.

    I can only imagine how scary and exhilirating and nerve-wracking the next steps will be. We’re all “with” you!

    Ashley May 2, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Picture it… my husband and I were tramping around the world… we would load up photos to our website to let our families know where we were and that we were alive. Middle of the Outback – red desert stretching for miles around us – we find a gas station with an internet connection. $2 per minute. We could upload one or two pics and pay $10. As we are doing this, my husband says… Ashley, come here right now. I peer over his shoulder. He reads an email that says… “I think I might be your birth mother.” And in fact, it was her. Only 2 boys born in that hospital on that day, and she had already contacted the other one. 8 years later and they are still in contact. They have visited at holidays and they exchange cards.

    My advice, just start at the beginning. If he is open, he will respond. If he had the empty hole of unanswered questions, he will want to fill it. [My husband's brother does not and will not, despite also being adopted.]

    Best wishes in your hunt.

    Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire May 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    I didn’t read the comments, but I did want to say that I think it was wise that you didn’t publish his name here. People google names of people all the time and while he may know that he was adopted, he might not want others to know.

    As for communicating with him. Maybe a short letter. I have no idea but I will be thinking of you.

    HUGS!

    Julie @ The Mom Slant May 3, 2009 at 1:39 am

    I’m just drunk and laughing about the poor Labradoodle, which no doubt Oliver would help push off the sofa. Remind me that O and J are not to meet again until they reach university, okay?

    x0

    Bianka May 3, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Don’t publish his name, it might offend him and turn him off to meeting before you even have the chance. I’d use it as a very very last resort.

    Write to him! Be prepared for the worst, as cliche as it sounds. Assume that he doesn’t want to meet. Then write to him and leave the ball in his court. Best would be email I think.. it’s the least intimidating form of communication I think.

    Best of luck.. I am keeping my fingers crossed for your mother to see her baby boy again.

    Breenette May 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I have a friend who went through this from the opposite side. She was the sister to a man whom she had no idea even existed. Her story was that she received an email one day at work – completely out of the blue and unexpected.

    Her brother emailed and said something simply along the lines of. My name is xx and I believe you may be my sister. If your father is xx and was born xx then I believe you and I could be brother and sister and I would like to get to know you, if that is something you are interested in pursuing, you may contact me back and we can talk more about this.

    He left the ball in her court. She did some soul searching, talked to her father – discovered that this was in fact her brother and they now have a relationship and have gotten to know each other – including him coming for visits and seeing his father and having a relationship with him as well. I won’t say it has all been roses – but they connected and questions were answered on both sides.

    Every situation is different and you will have a difficult road ahead as you determine what is best for you and your family as well as him and his possible family. I wish you luck and offer my prayers as you make these decisions.

    jenB May 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I would want to be contacted by email or letter. Or phone call. I also had another name for 2 months. I wish my paternal half siblings would try and find me. Gah, I dunno Catherine, but I do get what you are going through. I got a letter from my bio-mom by registered letter so she knew that I got it and when.

    Anonymous May 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Well, I don’t know if I’m adding anything new to the comments, but I would agree not to post his name here. I put myself in his position, and thought that I would want it to be my choice whether or not my name was shared in an open public forum, for any reason, let alone a reason that for many can hold very mixed emotions. I think not sharing his name, while it may delay you somewhat in finding him, will possibly provide a more neutral ground on which to build a relationship in the future, because you just don’t know how he might feel about his name being posted. I think it’s great that you’re searching him out, and I wish you all the best. One of my dear friends has a tremendous relationship with both her birth mother and adoptive parents. I wish the same for you…

    anymommy May 3, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I so hope you find him and that he is receptive and the relationship becomes something that gives you all peace.

    The issue of his privacy has been well covered (and I agree, for what it’s worth).

    I just thought I’d give my thoughts, as an adoptive mom, about approaching him. Gently. Give him time, to think and to process and to respond. A certified letter seems lovely (b/c it would kill me to wonder if he had received something or not, if it were me, through email, etc.)

    It’s not likely that my daughter’s birth family would contact me, but if they did, I would be terrified first, I know. Even though I know that love is endless and it multiplies. Even though I strongly believe that the more people that love a child, the better. I would be so scared. I would be open to it too, but I would want to reach that place in my own time.

    This is different, of course, because he is an adult and he gets to make his own choices. Maybe he’ll be thrilled and he’ll call you that day! Maybe his mom and/or Dad are his best friends and he’ll want to let them work through their feelings? As hard as it is, I would say that however you contact him, it’s then up to him. I can only imagine how hard it will be if he doesn’t answer. Hugs.

    Llyn May 4, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I found my birthdaughter on the “adoption.com” registry…you might want to check there, and search some of the forums for discussions on contacting adoptees. I wish you all the best on this emotional journey.

    Olivia May 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    i agree that should keep his name off the blog. What if he doesn’t know he’s adopted, then he finds out from the Internet?

    Her Bad Mother May 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Bantering Blonde – I don’t know if he knows that he’s adopted. I kind of assumed, if only because in the province of his adoption, adoption info is open unless the adoptee requests otherwise: I’d expect that his parents would have at least told him when that change came into effect, because the possibility of his being found has been very real since that information was opened up.

    But I could be wrong. Food for thought.

    Kari May 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I was adopted at 3 months old and shortly after my 30th birthday I received an email from Birth Mother out of the blue, at least that is what if felt like to me at the time (she had gotten my name and googled me and my work email came up) I strongly feel you should not post your brothers name as you are correct he probably does not know you are his sister and may not want the world to know before he does, (“hello random coworker that i hardly like…what? I need to read this total strangers blog right now why…?”) NOT COOL I needed time to process check in with my Mom and Dad and even talk to my brother before I replied to the email I received, please do not post his name here.

    Joy May 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Bantering Blonde – I have been mulling over your comment about seeking counseling to, among other things, explore “why it is so important to you to find a stranger”. As someone whose family has recently been reunited with adopted siblings, I must reply that these long-lost siblings are not, and have never been, considered strangers, but always family. True, it is family that we didn’t know how they were doing, or what they look like, but there has always been a place for them in our family, whether they wanted it or not, in addition to the place they have in their forever family. As it turns out, they wanted their place in our family. And we are happy to know them on their terms.

    Miss Grace May 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I’m honestly not convinced that it’s ethical for you to contact him at all.

    Does he know that he’s adopted?

    Have you considered the possibility that he does not know, and that there might be a great deal of fallout with his adoptive family if you contact him?

    I know that this is your family, and that you’re emotionally attached to the idea of meeting your brother for both yourself and your mom, but you have to consider the ethics at hand of contacting someone without invitation. I think it should generally be up to the adopted child to reach out to contact his birth family, and that the best the birth family can do is register with sites that allow for this connection.

    Her Bad Mother May 4, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Miss Grace: I see your point, but I’m not entirely convinced of the argument that it would be *unethical* to contact an adoptive family member when there’s been no no-contact order placed on the information. The possibility exists that *he* has been wondering why his birth mother never sought him out. He might not want to know his birth family; on the other hand, he might have wondered his whole life about his birth family and wondered whether they would ever try to find him; I have no way of knowing.

    If he wants no contact, he *probably* would have put a ‘no contact’ order on the adoption records, which have been open in BC for over a decade. Unless he doesn’t know. Which I *think* is unlikely, but still – there are arguably ethical quandaries on all sides. If his birth family knows about him, knows his name, who he is, but never reaches out in any way – might one not construe that as hurtful? As evidence of not caring?

    I don’t know. All I know is that I must proceed with caution and consideration. The rest is guesswork.

    Loralee Choate May 4, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    If there is no ‘do not contact’ order attached to his file I absolutely consider it ethical to contact him.

    If you were to contact him and push a relationship he does not want or inform other people in his life of this adoption/familial connection, THAT would be unethical.

    Personally, where there is no specific notation in his file to the contrary I would consider it unethical to NOT contact him at least once to give him information and the choice of what to do with it.

    badassdad05 May 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t buy the idea of it being unethical to contact him. Emotionally risky? Sure. But unethical? No. You have every right to reach out. He has every right to accept or reject you. Once contact is made, you both have choices. If his parents never told him he’s adopted I think they owe him an explanation. He has a right to know. And you have a right to seek him out.

    Karen (agentninety9) May 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I have a half brother somewhere. I know the name my mother gave him at birth, but that’s it. I’m sure I’ll never find him.

    However, if I were lucky enough to find him, I’d like to believe he’d at least be interested in knowing a little about me and his birth family.

    As for being unethical? I don’t think so, unless as you said there were a no-contact order. I think the journey you’re on will be charged with emotion to say the least. I wish you luck…

    thedailysnark May 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Just something to consider. I am adopted and I never knew that I could place a No Contact order on my information. In fact, I’ve never even tried to contact the organization I was adopted through.

    I sort of have to agree with Miss Grace on this one—it should be up to the child. I can’t even imagine how earth-shaking it would be if someone contacted me out of the blue. If I were you, or your mother, I’d write a lovely letter, send it to the agency and if he ever looks for her, he’ll know where to find her.

    Just my two cents…

    I wish you luck.

    Katherine Gray May 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    You’re not forcing him into a relationship. You’re opening a door. He’s a middle-aged adult man and presumably can decide if he wants to walk through it. Not contacting him would simply be cowardly, would deny him the option, would be selfish.

    I appreciate that Miss Grace is thinking of the man on the other end of this whose life will be forever changed, but I trust that you, Catherine, to do this right. You’ll open a door, slowly, let him peek inside as he’s ready, and take it one step at a time. I imagine this could be a process, a story, that may unfold over many, many years. Or I not. And that’s just it: you won’t know this journey until you start it. I think it’s a risk worth taking.

    Angie May 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I wish you luck on this journey and I feel that no matter what the outcome is, the truth is better than living in the dark.
    It is every humans right to know where they came from and the people connected.
    If the outcome is a negative one, be strong and know that you reached out and that’s all you could do.
    Good Luck,
    Angie Yeager
    http://www.EducatedMoms.com

    Jennifer May 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Hi! Long time lurker, love your blog. Now for my two cents. I just recently adopted my twin daughters,it was the greatest day ever. As much as I wish I could say the mother was great for giving the child to us, the state had to fight to terminate her rights because of the severe abuse she did. So, right there our two stories are totally different but somewhat similar. I know one day I will have to tell my daughters they were adopted, I see no other way around it, but my biggest fear is someone from their biological family searching for them and finding them. What if he doesn’t know hes adopted? What if it causes problems in his family? What if he’s angry because he’s adopted? I would definitely post it on some adoption search engines, put the name out there to see if he is searching too but I wouldn’t hunt him down. I hope I haven’t hurt your feelings or made you mad, each person and each story is different. Good luck in your adventures! :)

    kittenpie May 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Just adding – and this is a touch beside the point… When I was given my dad’s address because he had written to my mom so I could have it, I was 18 and had not seen him since I was five. I had wondered about him always, but even so, it took me 3 years to contact him. I waited until I felt more centered about it and knew what I hoped for and that my expectations were such that I wouldn’t be devastated if things didn’t match some ideal.

    My point being – if you find him and contact him, he might need some time absorb and process before he responds. I just thought it might be worth pointing out that if you don’t hear right away, it may be tough to wait, but it is not necessarily the end of the road, either. He may just be protecting himself a bit so that when/if you do meet, it can be an okay experience. Knowing that’s a possibility might just help you feel a bit better about it, too.

    Trueself May 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Knowing how much my son (who is adopted) wants to know everything he possibly can about his birth family, I can only imagine that your brother, even as an adult, probably wonders about his birth family too.

    I think it would be good to contact him, maybe just a letter explaining who you are and why you are contacting him, and giving him your contact information, leaving it up to him to decide if and/or when he might be ready to reach out.

    ljpock May 4, 2009 at 6:49 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.

    One of my best friends and her brother are adopted. They both knew they were adopted but neither had the desire to seek out their birth partent. Out of the blue her brother was contacted by his birth mother when he 25 years old. It was a bit tense at first but he found out he had other sibliings and has since been able to develop a healthy friendship with them. His sister especially was quite leary, but even she had to admit that his other siblings had every right to know their brother as she did because it wasn’t their choice that they hadn’t met until now.

    I don’t believe her brother has any substantial contact with his birth mother, just his siblings. But I think it showed great courage and strength on my friends family to accept this new part of his life so that he could know others who wanted to be part of his family.

    Natalie May 4, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    i tend to agree with miss grace.

    i am adopted. in 1991 my birth mother contacted the agency she used to put me up for adoption back in 1969. she was able to send them a letter for me and they forwarded it to me. i responded through them as well. by doing that neither of us had the others contact information. in her letter to me she told me that she was registered with a finding agency if i ever wanted to find her. at that time i wasn’t really interested. i had been married a year and was newly pregnant. i just didn’t feel like it was something i should do. i knew how to contact her if i ever needed her. in 1998, after my 3rd child was born i felt like i should give my birth mother the same privilege she had given me. i registered with the same organization and they were great. they called me on one line and her on the other. they checked with me to make sure i was ok with her having my phone number before they ever gave it to her. we talked on the phone after we both agreed to it.

    so my opinion is that you should find someone to be a go between if you are able to figure out who he is. instead of you calling him let someone else feel him out and see what he’s comfortable with. maybe a lawyer friend or an agency. i can tell you that if i had gotten a letter or phone call directly from my birth mom it would have freaked me out. i had some time to mull over the idea before actually having contact.

    feel free to email me if you have any questions about my story. nagdalie@aol.com

    Ally May 4, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Hi there,
    My father, who found out he was adopted in his early 40′s, contacted his birth parents via letter. He detailed who he was and why he wanted to establish contact. (Medical history, meet his birth parents, etc.) Unfortunately neither of his birth parents wanted to reconnect. His birth father had no knowledge of his existence, and his birth mother was embarrassed. I know that this hurt my father, but it was important for him to reach out to them.
    I wish you well in contacting your brother!

    Ally

    Loralee Choate May 4, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    In reading some of the followup comments here,I want to clarify my comment.

    I think he should be given the information about you and your mom but there are a lot of ways to go about that. I think if you contact via 3rd party or leave a letter with the information or registering with an organization that you want to make contact are all good ideas.

    I just think that the information and thus option to act or not should be put out there for him to access.

    Paulanz May 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Yes, keep his name private; no question.

    Also have a think about how HE will feel finding out that you’ve been blogging about him (even without listing his name) and making this process public.

    Your readers are going to want to know when you find him, what you write to him, what he says back, what he looks like, what happens at the first encouner, etc.

    He may be VERY uncomfortable knowing he’s been the topic of hundreds of conversations without even knowing about it. It’s one think having a coffee with your best friend and telling her all about it; it’s another thing to blog it and have it live in print forever :)

    So when you do meet him, ask if he’s OK with you blogging about it, regardless of whether you ever share his hame or not.

    Or at the very least, tell him about it and let him see it so it’s not some shock later on.
    And write every post expecting that he will read it, because he will

    Redneck Mommy May 4, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    So many variables to consider. I think the best you can do is just move forward slowly and be honest with every intention.

    And don’t publish his name. Not yet at least.

    I wish I could find my half sister. And I wish she would find me.

    If anyone who is 39, has blonde hair and is named Debbie and was born in Alberta to a mom named Eloise wants to be my sister, give me a shout.

    Heh.

    You may not use your blog for blatant sibling search but there are no rules that I can’t. Wink.

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