adopted brother

(11 Posts)
gazzagee Fri 25-Oct-13 02:05:34

right so just found out that i have an adopted brother, i'm 38 now have a brother that is 40, and my mother has just told me I have a brother older still, was maybe to drunk/emotional to really get the impact of the truth at the time... my older brother knew but lives in the US..... as i'm writing this I wonder weather i should keep on......
I feel I should find my half brother.... not sure why may be anger and before you say it i know that is not the reason .......
should i look? should I not......... just writing this is helping calm me down.... I just can't put myself in his position.. would I want to be found by me??

passedgo Fri 25-Oct-13 02:19:44

Blimey what a shock to find this out at your age. People are stupid sometimes. How do you feel? Betrayed? Interested? Hopeful? Angry?

EBearhug Fri 25-Oct-13 03:04:29

I found out I had a half sister when I was 26. I sort of coped with that bit of news, but 15 years on, I still have major trust issues - what else hadn't my parents told me? Could I believe in anything else I'd ever been told? If my own family could keep something that big from me, how could I trust anyone? Then my full sister was furious I made her know about it (as I assume she would have been if she had later found out I knew already if I hadn't told her.) It was a very, very lonely time. Do you have someone for support?

Don't make any decisions yet. Sleep on it for a day or two or more (if you can sleep with all that will be in your head.) You may well experience all sorts of emotions and you need some time for things to settle a bit, so you can tell which feelings are coming out strongest, because you may feel some emotional extremes as it works into your head and your brain starts considering the ramifications. Plus it's not all down to you. Does your American brother know about you? Would he want to meet? If you wanted to meet and he didn't, how would you handle that rejection? There will be an awful lot to think about in the days to come, and you may find you swing from one view to another and back again. Take the time you need.

If you find you really can't get your thoughts straight after some days, it may be worth seeing a counsellor to help you work through it all and untangle some of the threads.

Just remember you do not need to make a decision now. You haven't known for 38 years. Taking some time to work out how you feel and what you want is quite reasonable and no time compared with all those years.

I suspect there are quite a few of us, around our ages and older, with known or unknown half siblings from before the legalisation of abortions.

Take care of yourself. It is massive, massive shock.

passedgo Fri 25-Oct-13 09:15:57

Lovely post ebearhug. This is why I get so annoyed when threads come up where people want to keep a father's id from their child. The children miss out on opportunities to form relationships. Hopefully though, you can find something positive in this, potentially a new extended family.

It is selfish of parent to do this, they don't tell because they don't want the fallout, others have to deal with it instead, much later.

EBearhug Fri 25-Oct-13 13:53:59

This is why I get so annoyed when threads come up where people want to keep a father's id from their child. The children miss out on opportunities to form relationships.

I'm not going to judge anyone, because there can be good reasons for keeping fathers out of the picture, and every case will be different.

In any case, 40+ years ago, things were different - there was still a lot of shame associated with having a child out of wedlock, and abortion was still illegal, so to take that option, you had to break the law and risk your life, and many young women weren't given a choice.

My mother apparently had a massive falling out with her parents about the baby, but apparently she really went for the whole hippy "turn on, tune in, drop out" thing, with heroin and everything, so I've no idea whether her getting pregnant was just one more thing to add to the list, or what. In any case, I think she carried massive resentment about it all through the rest of her life, and never really dealt with it. She was clean by the time she met my father, but she had problems with alcohol at various points, and I think that was partly so she didn't have to face up to how she felt about these things. I think when we were small, though, she was just getting on with her new, settled life and putting the past behind her, and trying not to let that shape the way she now was. I don't know, because as far as I'm aware, in the 11 years between me finding out and her death, I don't think she was aware that I knew about it.

However, on a purely practical level, when would have been a good time to bring it up? If you haven't been mentioning it from day 1, so you grow up always knowing about having a half-sibling, when do you tell? Clearly we (my younger full sister and I) needed to be old enough to have some understanding that we could have another sister who didn't live with us, but it's something which would probably cause loads of questions and knock-on effects, because you don't know how people will react - and once you've told others, you can't control them not telling their friends, their parents' friends, other family members, possibly people you don't want knowing, because you remember the shame and difficulty. And what if your children react badly when you tell them? You don't want that to coincide with starting school, changing school, having to deal with that alongside one of them having to have hospital treatment, your own hospital treatment, starting secondary school, approaching GCSEs, A-Levels, university, settling into first jobs - there's always going to be something for one or both of them, and over the years, it might not even be something you think about that often. We didn't have a very great relationship when I was a teenager, and telling me something like that then, I don't know how I'd have taken it, but probably a lot worse than 10 years later when I did find out, and at a more critical time in my life, educationally speaking. It was bad enough at 26.

So if you don't tell children from the outset, then I can see how it's never really going to be the right time. It has all made me think honesty and openness is the best way forward, even when it's about bad stuff, but I can also see how it's never quite the right time, and if you're not good at handling emotional stuff in the first place, it's easier to put it off ... again.

(Not that I am completely forgiving of my mother, and I have had a lot of counselling/therapy to try and straighten some things out in my brain, but equally, some of it is just down to being human.)

EBearhug Fri 25-Oct-13 13:56:27

P.S. I hope gazzagee did get some rest last night, and things are a bit clearer today.

Kewcumber Fri 25-Oct-13 14:11:46

This is why current adoption practice is always to be honest with children.

But you have to bear in mind that this may not be what your mother was told at the time your brother was relinquished.

If ti was the UK there are places you can contact to put your name forward to be contacted if your brother looks for you but I'm not sure how it would work in the US.

I can imagine this is a real shock to you particularly given your ages are quite close.

EBearhug what a really understanding and kind-hearted post.

gazzagee I am so sorry you have had this shock. I have no experience of this but I do feel it is much easier in our current time to talk about these issues and it must have been very hard over 40 years ago. I don't know the circumstances of the birth of your half brother and it may be that these are very sensitive and your mum may find it really hard to talk about it. Whether you decide to try and find your brother or not is probably a decision best made with some time to think about it.

All the best.

Bandwagonesque Thu 14-Nov-13 21:29:41

I've just found this thread. I too found out about my adopted brother, nearly 3 years ago. He is a full brother. I have 3 other siblings, 2 of whom still do not know about him as my parents refuse to tell them. This is driving me to despair. I am now considering counselling as I can't cope for much longer. I appreciate his adoption was a product of the time etc but the secrecy and refusal to acknowledge is unreal. He's a fantastic guy and I have bonded well with him, but I just want my other siblings to know. Does anyone know of support groups which might exist for those in a similar position? Hope Gazzagee has moved forward with her knowledge, it can take a while to sink in.

passedgo Thu 14-Nov-13 23:37:23

Bandwagon that must be very hard for you, and an unreasonable pressure for your parents to put on you. Do you know why they are preventing you from telling them?

Kewcumber Fri 15-Nov-13 13:20:07

Bandwagon - they can't actually stop you telling your siblings although I understand that might make things very uncomfortable with your parents. Have you considered being very blunt with your parents and telling them that you aren't prepared to keep the secret anymore and they either have the choice of telling them or if its easier, that you can do it sanctioned or unsanctioned and it would be better for them if it were sanctioned.

Sorry I don;t know any support groups - I don;t think its a common enough problem. You might try Norcap for advice though they may have changed their name.

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