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To feel really uncomfortable that visiting uncle is the only

(68 Posts)
minifingerz Thu 01-Sep-16 10:57:02

... member of my elderly mum's extended family who doesn't know he's adopted?

EVERYONE else knows - all my family, both my aunts' families. My mum's sisters live in the same country as my uncle. Years ago they made decision to keep this from him, and my mum had a falling out not long before my younger aunt died when my mum suggested that he should be told. My mum won't tell him now because she says it's not up to her. I think she's scared of falling out with her last remaining sister.

He's in his 60's now. He was adopted as a newborn when my mum and her sisters were teenagers.

I just feel so uncomfortable about the fact that his adoption is being kept from him while all of the rest of us know. It just seems so wrong. sad

DangerousBeanz Thu 01-Sep-16 11:01:39

I'm adopted.
He has a right to know. And to be fair probably has his suspicions, when you are adopted ypu don't have a birth certificate, only an adoption certificate and I can't believe he's reached the age of 60 without ever having needed to produce it.

Maudlinmaud Thu 01-Sep-16 11:03:58

Im adopted too.
If he has ever had a passport he surely must know.

minifingerz Thu 01-Sep-16 11:06:28

Dangerousbeanz - it really helps to know that.

I just wonder why my aunts think he doesn't know in that case.

Ikeatears Thu 01-Sep-16 11:10:09

But you wouldn't know from your adoption certificate that that is what it was? I'm adopted and my certificate pretty much looks like dh's.
My friend has travelled the world and only found out she was adopted in her forties.
I would want to know, although I can understand everyone's reluctance to tell after all this time.

LurkingHusband Thu 01-Sep-16 11:16:50

You're going back to a different era ...

MrsLH has a family mystery concerning her Uncle ... adopted, but the circumstances are shrouded in a mystery her GPs took to their graves (which seems to be a common theme for people born in the early 20th century). He is aware of this ... it wasn't a secret when he grew up, and indeed wasn't an unusual situation (sadly there were a lot of adoptions - formal and informal as a result of the war). However neither he - nor his sisters (MrsLHs mother, and aunt) know anything about why.

Even when I was growing up 1970s, it was a mini neighbourhood scandal when a neighbours daughter got pregnant at 15 and decided to keep the baby.

ChuffMuffin Thu 01-Sep-16 11:25:40

Probably a stupid question, but are you sure that he doesn't know? He might have found out on his own accord and not said anything because he didn't want to upset his family, or maybe he thought bringing it up with his mum would upset her? As others have said, if he's got a passport he'd definitely know.

I know it seems really wrong, but sadly it's not your family's place to talk to him about it. You just can't be sure what he actually knows. Plus if he doesn't, finding out in his 60s will turn his world completely upside down. It's really tough for other family members though, my family had the same situation so I totally understand. flowers

minifingerz Thu 01-Sep-16 11:31:11

I hate family secrets. sad

minifingerz Thu 01-Sep-16 11:33:25

No, not sure he doesn't know, but it's never been acknowledged or spoken of in his presence by my mum or her sisters. My mum's sisters seemed to think that he didn't know and shouldn't be told.

SoupDragon Thu 01-Sep-16 11:37:45

I can't believe that he doesn't know. As others have said, surely he has had to produce his birth certificate at least once in his lifetime.

trafalgargal Thu 01-Sep-16 11:42:39

What difference would him knowing make ?
His birth parents will be dead and possibly any half siblings (even assuming they want to know him)
Assuming he doesn't know (and he may know but simply not think it's any of the extended family's business) then what possible benefit would there be to him discovering that his birth parents didn't want him, his siblings have lied to him all his life as well as his parents and the rest of the family all knew so have been gossiping about him behind his back (and on the Internet)

Mind your own business and leave him in peace. It's not your place to decide and you could cause a lot of trouble.

Maudlinmaud Thu 01-Sep-16 11:46:31

Maybe he is aware, but acknowledging or bringing it up would be very painful for him.
When I was at school a child who knew my family told my friends. It was intrusive and extremely unpleasant. I think it would be better to leave the issue. He is still your uncle nothing changes that fact.

trafalgargal Thu 01-Sep-16 11:47:00

You are obviously really young (sixty is hardly elderly , most men of sixty are still working full time) and perhaps have never seen the unhappiness that revealing a family secret can cause, it's often painful and rips families apart ....unlike the reunions you see on TV. You really need to listen to your Mum and respect her wishes .

MatildaTheCat Thu 01-Sep-16 11:47:46

It does seem wrong that everyone else knows something so important about your uncles whilst he is unaware but as you know it's never going to be your secret to tell. I would think if he is the sort to be interested in his background he might well have an inkling or even be fully aware but if it's never been discussed that's up to him.

Shame as I agree that family secrets are awful, especially when one person doesn't know what several others do. We have such a situation here and I hate it.

KurriKurri Thu 01-Sep-16 11:48:58

It does seem wrong - I think everyone has the right to know where they come from. Do you know the full story of his adoption - families in the past hid a lot of secrets (for example my father discovered as a child that the person he thought was his older sister was in fact his mother and his 'mother' was his grandmother. I have a friend in her seventies who refers to two middle aged men as her 'nephews' when they are in fact her sons and have been brought up by extended family)

Obviously I don't know your family circumstances - but it could be very complicated. And although I agree he should be told, it needs to be very sensitively done - it will affect his whole identity and his view of his family and his past - and he will have all sorts of emotions about why this information was kept from him for so long.

ChuffMuffin Thu 01-Sep-16 11:50:31

The other side of the coin is if he didn't know, and you told him, he could be furious with you all for keeping it from him for so long. sad

I know how you feel. I wish I'd never been told either about my family member. As far as I know they were removed as a v young baby from their parent/s. I have never asked about it. I do know however that family member definitely does not know they are adopted. Although I feel guilty for knowing, I would and could never ever tell my family member. Not my place at all and whatever family member's parents decide to or to not tell them is none of my business.

trafalgargal Thu 01-Sep-16 11:52:25

My OH always knew he was adopted and met his birth mum in his fifties. Her later kids knew about him, she was happy to meet him but even without secrecy it hasn't been easy and apart from satisfying his curiosity it hasn't made him a happier or different person. I don't understand your insistence that he must be told. Why exactly ?

Floggingmolly Thu 01-Sep-16 11:55:49

it's never been acknowledged or spoken of in his presence
He's in his sixties; why on earth would people continue to refer to it in everyday conversation? confused
I'll bet he does know, but it really isn't an issue after all these years.
Neither is it any of your business, btw...

RebelRogue Thu 01-Sep-16 12:01:12

I'm adopted. My birth certificate has my parents name on it,the only hint is that it was done two months after i was born but never questioned it.
Also i was asked twice by authorities (once for passport,once for dbs in my home country) if i was married before,i found it ridiculous and never questioned it. So no,he wouldn't necessarily know from needing official documents.

minifingerz Thu 01-Sep-16 12:03:52

" I don't understand your insistence that he must be told"

I've not 'insisted that he must be told! Yikes!

I've said I'm uncomfortable about EVERYONE in the family except him knowing (if he doesn't know!). Not the same thing!

Chippednailvarnishing Thu 01-Sep-16 12:06:52

I'm not sure if I believe this, but I had to produce my BC to get my student loan.
The person processing the paperwork told me that she'd had someone who had never seen their BC and their parents only gave it to her so she could get her student loan and that was when she realised she was adopted...

minifingerz Thu 01-Sep-16 12:10:26

"You are obviously really young"

I wish! I'm 50.

I found out in my 20's that my dad had been married for many years before he married my mum, and that this had been deliberately kept quiet. It's not a massive secret but it still shocked and actually angered me when I found out.

My uncle is in his early sixties and it's not unfeasible that his mother could still be alive. His adoptive mother (my nan) died when he was a teenager.

I would never go against my mothers wishes,, and as posters have said, it's not my place to say anything. I just wish I didn't know when I suspect that he doesn't.

hesterton Thu 01-Sep-16 12:11:45

The sisters had no right to tell everyone else when they weren't prepared to tell him. It's disgusting that you and others know and not him. I'd loathe being in your situation too and would be very angry about it.

hesterton Thu 01-Sep-16 12:13:16

And sorry but I can't offer advice. I would want to know if I were him I think. But how do we know what he'd prefer?

TaterTots Thu 01-Sep-16 12:15:38

Your mum really shouldn't have told you. If your uncle genuinely doesn't know, you certainly shouldn't - and it isn't your place to tell him.

I know you think you're being considerate, but you're actually thinking about yourself, not him. YOU feel uncomfortable and think it's unfair. YOU hate family secrets. What about him? If you tell him, you get to feel better for a while. He, on the other hand, gets to find out 60 years of his life has been a lie.

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