After Scott’s tirade from my initial correspondence with him, here’s how I responded:

Thank you for your candid response. I agree with much of what you said, and there are some points I’d also like to clarify and respond to.

First, I agree that blood doesn’t equal family. I’m not trying to replace my family by reaching out to you, and I’m not asking to become part of yours. I can say many of the same things about my own family that you have said about yours. There are some who I have chosen not to have in my life for certain reasons, and whether or not they were related to me by blood or by adoption didn’t lead me to that decision.

As an adoptee, I know what it feels like to wonder all your life about who your biological parents are and whether or not you had any biological siblings. I can tell you from my own experience and from talking with other adoptees that these are very natural feelings, and most adoptees I know have a strong desire to know. I don’t believe this is inconsistent at all with the love I have for my parents, and they are fully supportive of my search and desire to know about my roots in a deep way. I guess I’m saying that your best friend’s aunt and uncle didn’t do anything wrong—it’s natural for their son to want to know. It doesn’t mean by any stretch that as adoptees we are trying to replace our families or insert ourselves into someone else’s family if we try to learn all we can about our biological families. It just means we have a desire to know, and to potentially connect to our roots in some way.

The unconditional love and support from my parents has given me confidence to proceed in my search without worrying about whether or not they would continue to love me. It is true that it’s not the most comfortable thing for them, but we understand each other’s point of view and talk about it in an open and loving way. From my perspective, secrets can be toxic, which is why I am glad my parents chose to tell me I was adopted from as far back as I can remember.

You talked about how in my initial note that I said I didn’t have a desire to cause a disturbance in your life, and I’m sorry that you disagree with my sincerity in that. When I reached out to your father for the first time three years ago, I was very careful to proceed in a delicate way, and when Jerry reached out to me to ask that I correspond through him, I did. When we last met in November 2012, I agreed that I would hold off on reaching out to the three of you, but that I would connect back with Jerry about it after some time passed. I gave it over a year and reached back out to Jerry, and he never returned my call, so I decided to proceed. I could have reached out to everyone three years ago all at the same time, but I didn’t. You may not believe me, but I was trying to be sensitive to Stuart’s desires while not abandoning my own desire to connect with my half siblings.

I’m sorry that you think that reaching out to you and your siblings is an attack on you and your family. I disagree. You mention that your opinion is that love is the most important thing in life. I agree that it’s one of the most important things in life, but I believe that truth is another. Sometimes the truth is painful, and sometimes it’s shocking, but I could never agree that by telling the truth I am perpetuating an attack on another human being.

I’m not asking you or your siblings to make my demons disappear. I know well enough that anything I need to resolve in my life needs to come from within. I also believe that my desire to connect with my half siblings is a natural one, and it’s something I won’t apologize for. But I completely understand that in any relationship, both parties have to want in. While I am disappointed that you’ve closed the door on that, I respect your decision. At the same time, I will have you know that on my end I will always be open if you ever change your mind, even just to have a chat or get a beer sometime.

Finally, Scott, it is clear to me from your response that your mother taught you so much in your life and shaped the person you are today. As a fellow human being, I am so sorry you had to endure that loss, especially in such a horrific way. I hear you that there is no such thing as enough time to alleviate the pain, and am sorry if I implied that there was in my initial letter.

Thank you again for your candid response. Even though it wasn’t the one I was hoping for, it is helpful to me to know where you’re coming from. When I mentioned above that I believe truth is one of the most important things in life, my ultimate decision to reach out to you and your siblings after three years of trying to navigate that path with Jerry and Stuart was because I needed to know—I needed to know the truth about how you would feel about having me as a half sibling, and now I do. It wasn’t the result I was looking for, but it helps me to be at peace, and I am thankful for that. I wish you and your family the best, and hope you might change your mind someday.