A few months had passed since I spoke with Jerry, my birth father’s cousin, and he had told me that Stuart was not interested in pursuing a relationship with me. Then, in May 2012, I was scheduled to be in New York City for a meeting not too far from Jerry’s office. I would have about a half hour to kill between the time my train arrived and the time of my meeting, so I decided to give Jerry a call to see if I could stop in to chat for a few minutes. He agreed.

When the train arrived, I began the trek across town to my meeting site, knowing that Jerry’s office was on the way. I was with Joe, one of my colleagues who was going to the same meeting, and I asked him if he wanted to wait for me while I went in. He said he would, and I told him to come find me if I took longer than fifteen minutes.

Jerry invited me into his office and was very cordial. He started by reiterating that Stuart was not interested in a relationship, and then began hedging again by saying he wasn’t even sure he was the right guy. I took the printout of the DNA results I had received, which was consistent with Stuart’s Eastern European, Jewish ancestry, and told him that I had no doubts he was my birth father. He didn’t push back. He knew.

He asked what I wanted, and I said that I was interested in meeting my three half-siblings but that I wanted to do it with Stuart’s blessing. Not surprisingly, Jerry said that wouldn’t be a good idea. He indicated that it would cause unnecessary pain to the family and that the kids were loyal to their father. They would want nothing to do with me, he said.

I didn’t know what loyalty had to do with the situation, quite honestly, but I had also learned since the last time we had spoken that Stuart’s wife had passed away shortly before I had originally reached out. I told Jerry what I knew and expressed my condolences and my understanding that the family had been through a difficult time recently. He said that the kids were not in a very good place, having recently lost their mother, and I said that I understood and would give it some more time.

I asked him if he would tell Stuart about our conversation, and he said he wasn’t sure. I thought that was odd, and asked myself why it was necessary for there to be a go-between in my communications with Stuart. After I left, I wondered what message, if any, was being passed along to him. I knew that if I wanted my message to come across without being diluted or altered, I would have to reach out to Stuart directly.

But I was also conflicted because I had agreed to communicate through Jerry. My emotions were stirred once again. Would I ever have a chance to connect with my half siblings? I felt like I was just being strung along and that their hope was that I’d just give up. But I wasn’t giving up. I would let some more time pass, but in no way was I going to stop in my pursuit of truth and in ending this toxic secret.