Following up with My Birth Father

Would he give me his blessing to contact my half-siblings?

Tom Andriola October 23, 2014
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What an emotionally draining first meeting with my birth father.  I was relieved it was over, and I had some hope.  Better than I thought I might get.  But I wasn’t finished.  I had done the research on my half-siblings.  There were three–two half-brothers and a half-sister.  But I hadn’t let him know that I knew he even had children, and he never offered the information.

It seemed that Ryan was the oldest, Scott was in the middle, and Brooke was the youngest.  At least that’s what I could tell from my searches.  Scott and Brooke had gone to Bentley University in Massachusetts, but I couldn’t find much out about Ryan.

Brooke was a realtor in Manhattan, and the other two seemed to be somehow connected to real estate as well.  I know that’s where Stuart, my birth father, had made his money.  All three were on Facebook, but I wasn’t yet ready to reach out.  I wanted to see how far I could get with Stuart, my goal being to connect with my half-siblings with his blessing.

I thought about it all the time, and it was hard to maintain the discipline I needed to just wait.  There were many times I wanted to just click “Add Friend” and see what happened.  There were times I wanted to call the phone numbers I had found, or write to the addresses I had located.  But I didn’t.  I waited it out.

I had met Stuart in August 2011 at his cousin Jerry’s law office in Manhattan, and I held my ground through the holiday season.  I figured he would need some time to digest the situation, and I didn’t want to follow up at the wrong time.  I also didn’t know a lot about the Jewish holidays and what the appropriate customs were.  So I waited.

When the New Year came, I decided it was time.  I had promised to continue any correspondence through his cousin Jerry.  So I gave him a call and told him I just wanted to check in, see whether there had been any conversation between him and Stuart since our meeting in August.  Then I heard what I somehow knew the response would be all along.  “He doesn’t want a relationship.  I didn’t want to call you during the holidays and tell you that.”  My heart sank.

I asked Jerry if I could follow up with him after a few more months, and he said I could.  I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, and I desperately wanted to meet my half siblings, but I didn’t want to reach out to them on my own, and I wasn’t ready for that conversation with Jerry yet.

So I decided to give it some more time.  I poked around to see what else I could find, if anything.  I looked for more on my half-siblings.  What were they like?  Were they married?  Did they have families?  I looked for more on Stuart.  I looked for more on his wife.  Then one day I saw it.  There was an obituary for his wife.  She had passed away only a few months before I had written my first letter to him.  I felt terrible.  What horrible timing.  And he had never even mentioned it in that first meeting.  It was time once again to rethink my approach.  The emotional roller coaster was nowhere near over, and somehow I knew it wouldn’t be for quite some time to come.

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.


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