I couldn’t wait to get home to read the reply I had received from Scott, my biological half brother. I had seen the message come through in the middle of a meeting at work, and my emotions started fluctuating wildly just by the sight of the notification as I wondered whether the response would be positive or negative.

The meeting ended, but I was not about to read the message in my office for fear that it would render me useless for the rest of the day. Not reading it didn’t totally prevent that, but I made the effort to put it out of my mind and remain somewhat productive.

The workday finally ended, and I made my way home. I decided to go up to my bedroom to read the message in a quiet space. I sat on the bed and opened it. The first sentence read, “I am going to start my response with I am not your normal person which will not end up in the result you are looking for.”

My heart sank. All the work I had done to carefully navigate the process over a three-year period seemed to disappear in one fell swoop. I read on. He talked about how he didn’t believe in blood equaling family, not even a little bit, and that he has zero blood ties to most people in his life that he considers family. He went on to say that most of the people he does have blood ties with he chooses not to have in his life.

He then explained his experience with adoption. It turns out that his best friend’s aunt and uncle adopted two children, one of which had begun a search to find his biological parents. And while the parents expressed support for their son’s search, in reality, they were crushed and “are now looking in the mirror and asking questions about what they did wrong.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Scott went on to give me some unsolicited advice. “Go home, give the people who did raise and love you a big hug and say thank you and then apologize to them.” Wow! In all of my years dealing with my adoption issues, I had never had someone say something like that to me. I knew that some folks were of that mindset, but I personally have never felt as though it would be shameful to have a desire to learn about my biological roots.

I scrolled down the page and saw that there was a lot more to the response, but I had had enough for the time being. It was clear that I was only going to be able to deal with this in small doses, and I was disappointed that this was how the response was starting out. I knew the risks when I decided to reach out, and I was fairly certain the chances of a negative reply were stronger than the chances of a positive one based on the interactions I had had with my biological father. But, unfortunately, understanding the risks is one thing, and confirming the reality of situation when you find out for sure is quite another.