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To contact long lost half sister?

(24 Posts)
MrsPCR Fri 29-Jan-16 23:05:39

I didn't really know where best to post this and will try to keep it short!

About 10 years before my parents married, my father had a girl (we'll call her Alice) with his previous wife. Initially after splitting with first wife, contact was maintained and until about the age of 8 Alice would regularly visit my parents; however apparently the mum upped and left suddenly with no forwarding address.

Since knowing about Alice for the past 15 years, I have been intrigued by her and know about 12 years ago dad found Alice's extended family, but for whatever reason didn't make contact.

I now have a pretty definite address for Alice, and want to make contact, but am scared of hearing nothing at all. As far as I know, she knows nothing of mine or my siblings' existence.

Do I contact her and risk her ignoring me? She's now 41 and I am pretty sure she could have found our dad with little difficulty. Where do I even begin?

Janeymoo50 Fri 29-Jan-16 23:12:07

Sorry to ask, but is your dad still alive?

MrsPCR Fri 29-Jan-16 23:13:19

No, he sadly passed away 5 years ago, so I know that would make a different 'contact' anyway.

cozietoesie Fri 29-Jan-16 23:20:04

I wouldn't bother - you have no common history or real bond. If you do, however - because it sounds as if it's eating at you - don't expect much if anything at all. I would just let it lie myself.

Enkopkaffetak Sat 30-Jan-16 00:13:27

There are agencies who aids you in doing this sort of contact. I think Barnadoes is one of them. Would be worth looking into as it is a big thing to do.

I think that it is worth doing she may have questions. May not even know they still wanted to see her etc. I just wouldnt do so without some help in how to do so.

Good luck.

FanDabbyFloozy Sat 30-Jan-16 00:16:16

I would get in touch but be ready that she may not want to know. I know that may be hard but at least you would have your answer.

pinkcan Sat 30-Jan-16 00:20:06

I'd be curious. Is the address nearby?
howecer. She might know of your existence and feel abandoned in favour of your family? Personally if it's near, I'd go and have a look but not probably knock the door.

Mmmmcake123 Sat 30-Jan-16 00:25:47

TV shows always make this sort of thing seem like glorious moments of being reunited.
In RL I think at the very most a short letter as introduction would be appropriate with a disclaimer saying it is unnecessary to reply if you feel it would unsettle your life.

AntiHop Sat 30-Jan-16 00:49:58

I think you should do it. Yes she might not respond but you won't know if you don't try.

ohjessie Sat 30-Jan-16 00:58:22

Which are you more likely to regret: trying to make contact and getting rejected, or never trying at all?

FastWindow Sat 30-Jan-16 01:07:04

At 41, if it were me, i would welcome the contact. She is a full grown adult. The problem you may face is seeming to be a cold caller with scant information (Heir hunters?)
Do you have a picture of your father that Alice would recognise? Maybe with you in it? Id post that to her with a return contact and give her the chance to respond. Maybe she'll be delighted.

SwearySwearyQuiteContrary Sat 30-Jan-16 01:11:48

If you do make contact (and if it was me, I would) you need to do it in a way that doesn't force her to make an immediate response. There are lots of emotions and history on her side that you won't be party to. I'd write a letter saying that you would like to be in contact, understand that she may not want this and, either way, that it might take a long time for her to decide. Give her a means of contacting you and then leave her alone to process things.
I hope it works out for you all. flowers

ChristineDePisan Sat 30-Jan-16 01:36:10

I agree with Sweary and others that if you want to take this step, do it in a low key way that gives her space to think about it and decide how to proceed. I also second seeking professional support from somewhere like Barnadoes or the Salvation Army.

Also, think through what you want to get from making contact. I know of an instance where after contact with a half sibling was made, it just sort of fizzled out after a couple of years, as they had nothing in common and there was no desire on either side to maintain the relationship after they had met a couple of times to pique their interest.

OzzieFem Sat 30-Jan-16 06:51:50

I would contact her. She may not be enthusiastic about continuing the relationship but may have some queries regarding your father. This may just be his medical history, however the fact that he cared enough to try and trace her may make her feel happier.

SolsburyHell Sat 30-Jan-16 07:38:47

My father, who was never in my life, went on to have two further children. They all had very common ordinary names and I know the county they lived in 30 years ago. Realistically I have no way of knowing where they are but I would love it if they found me and made contact. I don't think they know I exist though so not going to happen.

I agree with most of the other pp. definitely contact her but maybe by letter with your phone numbers, email, Facebook etc and leave it to her.

Ashhead24 Sat 30-Jan-16 09:25:07

My cousins have a half sister who they lost contact with, she put an article in the paper trying to find them and they got in contact. They were delighted to have contact with her, and through her have met a whole side of their family they didn't previously know. They regularly visit and Skype different members of the family and have young cousins to spoil. So her getting in contact was a great thing for them.

So I would say it is definitely worth doing, even if nothing comes of it you're no worse off than you are now. A letter that leaves the return contact up to her means that you aren't being too intrusive. I'd say go for it, but fully expect that nothing may come of it.

Dawndonnaagain Sat 30-Jan-16 10:17:26

I have a half sister. I'm in contact with her mother. I do hope that one day she'll show an interest in contacting the rest of us. Go for it, but as others have said, if you hear nothing don't get too upset.

Trickydecision Sat 30-Jan-16 10:34:02

DS2 had a relationship with a girl when he was 19; after their split she became pregnant. They decided not to remain in contact. I won't go into DH and my feelings about all this.

A couple of years ago when he was 20 this DGS got in touch with his Dad, our DS2. To say it has all worked out brilliantly is an understatement. DS2 has two small children, they adore their big brother and he dotes on them, new DGS comes on holiday with us, visits regularly for meals etc. It has been an unqualified success; I try not to dwell on the 'might have been' of not being part of his childhood,

His mum and his stepfather have done a fantastic job in bringing up this wonderful young man and we are very grateful.

Finding longlosts can work and bring much happiness.

Penfold007 Sat 30-Jan-16 10:52:28

I have been in a similar situation mrsPCR and following an aunts death found the missing information that meant I could find definite contact details.

After much thought I wrote to them giving a few details, saying I would like contact but fully respected they might not, gave email, phone and address details for me. Nervously posted my letter and waited.

Then I got a phone call, umknown to me they had been searching as well. We haven't physically met but we are slowly getting to know each other. Acknowledging that the action of others wasn't our 'fault' has been important.

MrsPCR Sat 30-Jan-16 10:59:40

Thank you so much for people's advice. I know if I did write, it could easily be 6 months before I heard anything. It's been years I've known where she is!

Fastwindow good idea about the photo. I'll include one of my sister as they probably look more similar. I saw photos of Alice as a 3 year old and was convinced they were photos of my sister. You could not tell them apart!

Ohjessie I suppose I have nothing to lose. I'm just a very impatient person and thought of endlessly waiting and hoping scares me! I'd prefer a yes you've found me, you can stop looking but I'm not interested over endless waiting.

Maybe I'll start writing that letter.... I would imagine that's going to take me another 6 months!

MrsPCR Sat 30-Jan-16 11:00:43

Thank you Penfold. That's how I hope she will see it.

PotOfYoghurt Sat 30-Jan-16 11:21:48

I'll share my similar story if it helps.

My father had two children from a previous marriage, and for one reason or another hasn't had any contact with his son since he was two. The son has his step-father's surname and is estranged from the rest of the family.

I've known about him all my life, but I didn't know if he knew about us although I expected his sister would have told him.

I decided to write a letter to his workplace, I knew his name and what his job roughly was and when I saw his picture on linked in there was a family resemblance so I took a gamble and wrote to him.

I was over the moon to receive an email back and we eventually met and spent the day together after emailing back and forth for a short while. We stayed in touch and I travelled up to his city to meet his family and stay with them for NYE. We got along really well and were quite similar in a lot of respects.

Shortly after this he stopped replying to my texts and letters. I didn't have any warning, or reason, and for a time I deluded myself that perhaps his mobile was broken or had a new email address or maybe something had happened to him. After he popped up on 'you may know' on Facebook I decided to send him a final message, to ask if I had done anything wrong and that while I was upset at his lack of contact I respected bah decision and if he ever wanted to get back in touch I would be here. The message has never been opened.

When I was visiting him he did say that his mother would be hurt if he were to pursue getting back in touch with my father etc, so whether that is the reason or it's something else I don't know.

But I'm still very hurt by it, and feel rejected, so while I hope everything works out well for you I would suggest to take it slow and try and protect yourself in case it doesn't. All the best.

stumblymonkey Sat 30-Jan-16 11:22:39

I'm now in touch with my half sister and we're starting to build a real relationship. I would say...nothing ventured...nothing gained...

I would, as previous posters have said, write to her with some background, say that you'd love to meet (if that is what you want?) but that you understand she may not want the same. I would ask her to reply either way so that you at least know the letter reached her.

In my experience it's true that you won't necessarily have very much in common (like any other stranger you meet) but that doesn't mean you can't build a relationship if you're both willing to put the effort in...

mintoil Sat 30-Jan-16 11:40:17

I had this situation OP - I have two half sisters from my fathers first marriage.

I contacted them by letter and they were absolutely bloody delighted to hear from me, despite not having any idea I existed.

I have had a fabulous relationship with them both, one in particular, for many years now and we are very close. We go on holidays together, look after each others DC, the cousins all go out together.

It's lovely.

I know not everyone will have had such a positive outcome, but I would say don't put it off any longer. She might move and you could lose your point of contact. Just write that letter and see what happens. Good luck.

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