Where do I begin my story Hi my name is Laura. I am thirty five years old and recently decided to contact my biological father, a man I have known about all my life. I am not sure why or when he and my Mom decided that he would not be a part of my life. I was raised by my Mom and a wonderful Step Father whom she married when I was 4, who later adopted me at the age of 16.
I always had a sincere interest in contacting my biological father someday but was honestly afraid of rejection or hurting my Step Father, after all wasn't he (my Step Father) doing a good job raising me, giving me everything I wanted. I toyed with the idea of contacting my biological father year after year, until on my birthday this year at the age of 35 I knew it was time... I was finally ready. I didn't want to hurt my Step Father but realized this time, I was doing this for me and if my biological father rejected me I could deal with it I hoped. So I contacted him by phone which was a big shocker... you can imagine! I later followed up with a letter expressing my sincere desire to meet him. This started the beginning of our new relationship. There were so many mysteries about my biological father that truly intrigued my interest... What did he look like? Did I have siblings? Did we have similar personality traits? All of these questions flooded my mind. What was so surprising to meŅ I never realized how much I cared about a man I didn't even know. (He held me when I was a baby and was around for a few monthsthat is the only contact we had.) How could this be, I questioned myself and how I was feeling. Could I have a bond to a man that did not raise me?
In July of this year, I finally met him in person. If you can have love at first site with your father then letגs calls it that. He was so kind and wonderful, and guess what we look alike. (No DNA test necessary.) There was an instant connection. Something I have been told by others is rare. Our relationship has continued to develop slowly through lots of emails and several more visits. The relationship between he and I could not be better in my opinion. We have definitely bonded.
Now for the reason I am posting to this forum the complications in this situation, first, his wife. She is struggling with the news and development of this relationship. And yes, she did know of my existence when they married 30 years ago. Secondly, I have learned that I have two beautiful sisters (seen in photos), 22 and 24 that do not know of my existence. My biological father whom I now affectionately call "Pops" already, is afraid to tell them... what will they think of him? Will they be open to meeting their œnew sister? I keep telling myself to be patient and thankful for the relationship I have developed with him, after all wasnԒt that my goal. Is so, why does it hurt so much? Maybe its knowing that I am a secret, and that his wife still hasn't met me nor do my sisters have any clue they have a sister in AZ who would love to meet them. Remember I am 35, have a successful careerҗI want nothing materially from their family.
Does anyone have some insight or advice I could share with my Father to possibly help him and his wife? They are both great people I know this is tough but it doesnŒt have to be. I have uncles and cousins I would also love to meet. (His brothers know that I was conceived 35 years ago but they do not know we have been in contact. He hasnt told them eitherҗhe wants his children to know first.) I do understand this situation is not just about me. Perhaps I am being selfish. I just want to be a part of my Fathers life now that I have found him. I am tired of being a secret.
Connecting with biological strangers ~ which is what "reunion" really is what we are attempting to do is difficult. Dr. Phil posted the following advice on his website. Perhaps it will help you put things into perspective.
by Dr. Phil
Reconnecting with a long lost loved one can be a powerful experience, and therefore you need to plan for it. Dr. Phil gives advice on preparing for both the reunion, and the relationship afterward.
Think about the reasons you want to reunite with your parent, child or sibling. Remember, they have a family and so do you. You can't turn the clock back or expect to fill the role that you have not played all these years. You are adults, strangers with genetic ties, coming together to build a relationship. Be realistic about the role that you feel you can play in their life and vice versa.
You must go into the reunion with realistic expectancies, not fanciful hopes. If you make someone out to be perfect, you are guaranteed to be disappointed. People get hurt when they have unrealistic expectations, and those expectancies are dashed. These unrealistic expectancies can set you up for failure. It is not what happens in people's lives that upsets them, it's whether or not what what happens in their lives is what they expected that upsets them. Don't allow yourself to think that everything in your life will suddenly be resolved overnight once you reunite, or you will be let down.
A reunion is an event, but the relationship is a process that needs time to unfold. You have to really work to build a relationship and you have to be patient. Start out with the goal of finding something that is comfortable for everybody, and don't put any pressure on yourself.
Allow a natural evolution of things to take place. Like all relationships, expect your relationship with the person you have reunited to go up and down. Your best chance for having a good relationship long term is to take it slow and move at a measured pace. This is a marathon and not a sprint. Be patient and let it unfold naturally, so that it will be lasting. You don't want to do anything that would cause this coming together to separate you again.
Forty years after being removed from her, the mother of my birth and first three years hired a professional searcher to find my two brothers and me. Her side of the story was much different than any of us had ever heard and frankly that which none of us truly believes. Nonetheless, this person is our mother and the homes in which we were raised taught us to honor and respect this person because of who God says she is since little on this earth makes sense outside His scriptural teaching. Her return required good communication and relationship skills and I praise God I had already been through years of counseling to help prepare me for the processes involved.
For those who experience a steep climb associated with your reunion, all I can say is, "No kidding!" One of my favorite quotes I look at when I start feeling sorry for myself is this:
"Character cannot be developed in piece and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision be cleared, ambition insured and success achieved." Helen Keller
I know for myself, I expect others to have high character. I see myself as someone with high character. But I constantly find myself writing under the very influences that will bring about this trait in myself. Stuff happens and we are not comfortable, our peace is shattered, and we are faced with behaviors comeing from ourselves and others we don't like. Sometimes these behaviors are hurtful and maybe even down right abusive. Instead of accept these behaviors as normal grief processes that when worked through well build strong enduring relationships we bail out pointing our victimized fingers at anyone or anything.
That's too bad. There are character flaws in us all. Maybe there are character flaws in the personalities of a child or parent lost to adoption that will not allow close interpersonal relationships to happen. Scriptural mandates to honor parents is not only for the sake of the parent. It is for the sake of ourselves and our society as a whole. I love gravity when it holds my feet safely to the earth. I'm sorry it's so effective when it pulls me down so precisely when I trip and fall. Honoring does not mean giving in, it means showing proper respect . . . for the sake of true strong character.
A biological parent (or parent of my birth and first three years in my case) who does not behave the way you want them to is only being true to the reality of who they are. If I'm looking for some way to divert the real responsibility for my actions on someone or something else, then I suppose a biological parent is as good as any other mark.
I actually learned a good way to handle unhappy folks while dealing with my overly protective adoptive father. After a while his care for me became oppressive. Now, daddy didn't have a mean bone in his body, but his love for me became obsessive and excessive. Finally I learned this way of helping both he and myself get out of that. First I had to realize the behaviors I had adopted in response to his behaviors. Mainly, myself and lots of other people in the family gave in to daddy rather than face his tyrades. So, I had to face that if I was going to work for a stronger relationship between us, I had to face my own reactions to his strong personality. Second I had to decide if I loved him or not. If I did not love him, all this work would be stupid and futile. Of course I determined that I do love him and my primary goal was to have a stronger relatinoship with him. That was my foundation! Next I had to decide ahead of time how I was going to handle his barbed behaviors. Here's what I came up with . . . When daddy started up I simply began to back toward the door (if we were on the phone I simply gave the statment) "Daddy, I love you and I want a good relationship with you. This isn't it. I've let it go on far too long. I think I need to back up for a few days and give this some time to cool off. I love you, I'll be back (call back if on the phone) but for the next three days, I'm going to stay away." Then I hung up or left.
Now, the moment I hung up the phone or got into my car I had a genuine can't-breath, heart racing, head throbbing, I'm-going-to-die panic attack nervous breakdown! But I just kept saying to myself, I love him. I want a good relationship with him. The stuff I've tried in the past didn't work. I'm going to give this time to work. Then after I calmed down I went home and for the next three days went through DTs because my brain was USED to the adranaline fix I got from fighting with him. But little by little I detoxed from the adranaline and he began to get it that I wasn't going to fight with him anymore. It took a full two years to teach daddy that I wasn't going to fight with him . . . but after that . . . we truly began to have a closer happier relationship.
NOW, flash forward a bunch of years . . here comes my natural mother. After the roller coaster of emotions during the first year of the reunion, there began to surface hard feelings unaddressed in any of our lives. We started bashing against one another, similarly to the way daddy and I used to bash against one another. After a while I remembered the tactic that helped daddy and me. I began working it out with the mother of my birth and first three years. It's been about two years and this last week she came for a visit and we had the best visit ever! Yes, we were obviously walking cautiously when talking about those hot topics that set us off before. But that's okay. We laughed, cried, played games, ate good food, sat together, watched movies, and grew closer. We parted on a good standing and our relationship is strenghtened. Will there come a time when we will be tempted to bash against one another again? Of course! And when that happens the answer is always the same, "I love you. I want a good relationship with you. This isn't it. I'm going to back off a few days and let this cool off. Then I'll come back and we can try again. I love you . . .see you in a few days. Bye."
Actually, now I don't have to get past, "I love you and I want a good relationship." When that part comes out, the forward motion of hard words stops because she knows that I mean what I say. I do love her. I do want a good relationship with her. I am not going to let things get so far out of control that we separate forever again. I will be back and it will be better. After two years, they learn that you are telling them the truth, you have proven your love by hanging in there, you have kept your word by always comgin back, and you have laid one more stone toward building a bridge between your very different worlds.
I hope this helps.
Suzanne Besser in Texas