I returned to the reply from my half sibling, Scott, after having stepped away for a while and settling my emotions. The first few paragraphs of his reply were negative, and I was disappointed. While it was something I expected, since I didn’t believe my half siblings were aware of my existence prior to receiving my message, I still had hope, to that point, that the response would be more positive and upbeat.
But the tone was raw. And when I resumed reading the following paragraphs, the reason became clearer to me. I had tracked down and met my biological father, Stuart, a few years before, and subsequently found out that his wife had battled an aggressive form of cancer and passed away shortly before I had made first contact.
In my correspondence to Scott and my other two half siblings, I had noted that I found out that his mom had passed away shortly before I had first reached out to Stuart. I acknowledged that my timing had been unfortunate and that I was truly sorry for his loss.
But even the mere mention of his mother’s death seemed to spark anger. In reference to my mention of it, he wrote, “I will give you a little bit of advice. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ENOUGH TIME when that that person is taken from you.” While I knew his anger was misplaced, I got the sense that he had been extremely close with his mom and that perhaps his anger was meant for Stuart. In fact, throughout his response, he interestingly referred to his mother as “my mother,” but when he mentioned his father, he wrote “Stuart.”
He went on to reveal a glimpse of the pain that he, and I’m guessing his other two siblings, had been through over the previous few years. He mentioned the life lessons she had taught him, and the fact that she never had the chance to experience the birth of her first grandchild, or see two of her three children get married, including her only daughter.
Scott then went on to explain that he didn’t understand the need for someone like me, who was adopted, to reach out to my biological father and half siblings in the first place if I had parents who loved me and raised me. He admitted, however, that he didn’t know what it meant to be me and that he wouldn’t judge that.
But then he went into a tirade about my mention in the initial correspondence to him that I had no desire to cause a disturbance in his life. He said that it was completely disingenuous, and that had his mother still been alive, it COULD have caused drama in his life—that reaching out was an attack on his life and his family. In fact, he then went on to say that if I had said something like, “I know this is going to cause a disturbance in your life, but I don’t care because I need this for myself,” that I may have gotten his attention—that he would have seen that I was different than all of the other blood relatives that he does not speak to today.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, he wrote a stellar closing paragraph as a final piece of advice to me. He suggested that I go give my wife and kids a big hug and kiss and let them know how much I love them every single day, and to talk to them about what family means to me. He then posed the question, “What difference does it make if you look like anyone else,” and expressed that in his opinion, love was the most important thing in life.
Scott’s final thought was that reaching out to a stranger such as himself or his siblings was never going to make my demons go away, and that my two other half siblings were not even going to entertain any kind of response. He indicated that he would not be responding to any future correspondence.
I finished reading the response, and I felt numb. But as everything continued to sink in, I realized that he was just angry and had no idea what it was like to be adopted and wonder throughout your entire life about your biological roots. And while I would have much preferred and open arms, positive reaction, I was pleased that I at least got a reply. My next task, and perhaps my final one in this endeavor, would be to get him to understand the perspective of an adoptee.