Her Bad Mother

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Brother By Any Other Name

My brother, he has a name, a real name, a name that was given to him by the man and woman who became his true parents, a name that carried him through childhood and adolescence and high school and on into adulthood, a name that he probably learned to write by tracing its letters in pencil on lined scribblers, a name that he he probably scrawled on desktops and in the backs of math textbooks, a name that he has no doubt signed on countless cheques and contracts and letters. He has a name. It is not the name my mother gave him.

I know this name, now. Knowing this name makes feel both closer to him, and further away. Closer, because knowing his name will help me find him. Further away, because it is the name of a stranger, and sometimes I forget that it is a stranger I am looking for. A stranger who might have no idea that he has a birth sister (sisters), and a birth mother whose heart aches when she thinks of him. A stranger who might not care.

I have to remind myself that this story might not have a happy ending. I have to remind myself that, sometimes, an unhappy ending is better than no ending at all.

And so I press on.

I won't be sharing his name here. I had thought that I might, thinking that people publish classified ads all the time, looking for lost family, lost friends, lost strangers. But this space isn't a classified ad, and because he is a stranger - with name and a life that are all his own - I need to keep his name out of my story. If you have an opinion on this, either way, I'd love to hear it. The temptation to post his name was strong - someone, somewhere, knows him, and among the many visitors to this blog there must be some degree of connection to him - and although I believe that the decision to keep his name private is right, I'd love to hear what everybody else thinks. I want to do what is right. I also kinda want to talk it out.

Another question - because I am lost here, and your support and advice have done much to light my way so far - once one has narrowed down some possibilities - by name, and not just by the guesswork I was doing the other week - how does one approach a stranger with a story like this? How does one say, I found you by this name; were you once called by another name? Does one write? Does one call? Does one message via Facebook? Does one send word by carrier pigeon?

I'm lost.

(Note: if anyone is mean in the comments, like last time - and by mean I don't mean critical - you're allowed to give your honest opinion, even if you think I might not like it. I mean MEAN - I will close comments again. This topic is too sensitive for me. I want feedback, but don't tell me that you think I'm a selfish, insensitive attention-whore for telling this story.)

(Oh, and? My computer problems are soon to be rectified. HP thought that my circumstances represented a great opportunity - because they are interested in simplifying moms' lives, and I am a mom whose life became, with the death of her computer, very complicated - for me to roadtest, on a lending basis, one of their new notebooks. Which is kind of poetic, because it was an HP notebook that Jasper murdered. So it's kind of like getting a Labradoodle puppy to replace your old Labradoodle who died when the baby pushed him off the couch. Sort of. If that Labradoodle puppy were just on loan and was wireless compatible.)

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138 Comments:

Blogger Goddess in Progress said...

I wish you luck with your search, but I would agree that it's inappropriate to post his name on your blog until you have his express permission to do so. Just a straight privacy thing.

I hope the story has a happy ending for all involved. But in the meantime, his privacy needs to be protected from the general public.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

Just wanted to share an inspirational story with you. My husband's best friend was adopted as a baby, and recently decided to find his birth mother. He signed up with a registry, and as luck would have it, his mom was registered. Long story short, she was 16, never had any other kids, never married, and had been waiting all her life to re-connect with her son. They have a great relationship now, they celebrate holidays together as a family, they have so much in common that it is scary. I know not all adoptive parents and children are this lucky - but just know that there are a lot of happy endings out there. I hope your brother will be as excited to connect with your family.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I'm sure you have a lot of readers who have some sort of experience in this area and can give you advice about contacting your brother. From my perspective you are doing the right thing to keep his name off your blog. Adoption is a very strange thing and you never know how he will react to it. He might be fine with it, he might feel very violated if he knows you posted his story on a very popular blog that people who know him might read. I'd pursue all other avenues of finding him before publishing his name on your blog.

10:43 AM  
Blogger areyoukiddingme said...

I agree with the other commentors - don't put his name up until you are absolutely sure of two things. First, you need to know that you have the correct person. Second, you need to know that he wants it to be known that he has siblings and a birth mother. Otherwise, you are muddying the waters before you even get to meet him.

I'm glad you've gotten some information though, and I hope your search proves beneficial to your whole family.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Anna Marie said...

What a momentous thing - to find a brother you didn't know you have...I agree that you shouldn't post his name unless he is ok with it. Also, in answering your other question, I think to contact him you should write an honest-to-god letter and send it via snail mail. This seems to be a situation that calls for a real handwritten letter on nice stationery. I don't know why I feel so strongly about that, as it is not something I've ever thought about before...

Good luck with this. I hope your search goes well for everyone involved.

10:56 AM  
Blogger K.Line said...

Wow! Fabulous update. My friend found her birth mother after her half sisters saw a reference to her documentary film in which she searches for her birth mother (surreal, I know). They emailed her and then her mother called her! All was caught on film (as part of her follow up documentary - even more surreal.)

I think it's entirely respectful (and the right thing to do) to keep your brother's name out of your blog. While it may help you to make contact with him more quickly (which I"m confident you will have the opportunity to do, probably sooner than later), it could be construed by him as a major breech of privacy.

And everyone has to respond to being found in his or her own way. If it isn't all "textbook" happy negotiating a relationship with a new family member (who may not be as up for the ride as you are), in the long run you may prefer keeping some of the bigger details private at this time.

Of course, just my perspective. K

10:57 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anonymous - I read your comment in e-mail, and wish that you hadn't removed it, because it's valuable to me - I *NEED* to know those insights to keep perspective.

I will add this: there's no no-contact or non-disclosure veto on the records that provided his name, and adoptees in BC are permitted to do that if they do NOT want to be found. That's encouraging, I think.

11:03 AM  
Blogger j said...

I agree that it's best, if possible, to keep your brother's name off the blog. It's unclear from your post if you have his contact info. Personally I think writing is the best option - a call is so immediate; with a letter he will have time to process what you are saying and offering him.

Good luck with all this. I'm rooting for a happy ending!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

I think you're doing the right thing keeping his name off the blog. That is respectful, since you don't know his feelings.

That said, if you have the name but haven't confirmed the person yet (I'm not entirely clear on that from this post) it probably wouldn't hurt to give the name privately to a few trustworthy people who would be willing to help you search (and would promise not to initiate any contact themselves, but just send you any information they have found). You have a lot on your plate, and I imagine you don't have many hours to devote to search. Several people combing through the internet looking for confirming information would be better than one, right?

Anyway, good luck. I have a feeling this story will have a happy ending.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

Ditto about leaving his name off the blog until you get his OK - it seems like the right thing to do and respects his privacy.

I don't have any experience in this arena, but I think the gentler the first contact, the better. Someone suggested a letter and I agree that's probably the best way.

This is very exciting news, although it gives me that swoopy stomach thing. I can't imagine what it's doing to you and your mother.

11:12 AM  
Blogger litanyofbritt said...

okay so i was looking for my paternal family for YEARS! i ended up finding them by using those free internet people searches, and using what little i found in the yellow pages. eventually i whittled down a long list of wrong numbers to find my father's mother. i was so surprised to have reached the right person by phone that i just blurted "hi i am brittainy. i'm your grandaughter." and thus began a very surreal and internetty family reunion. turns out my dad wanted nothing to do with me, but the rest of his family had been waiting years for me to find them.
if you haven't already tried, do a facebook search with his full name, or just first and last. i would have found him ages ago if i had just put his middle name in a facebook search. who'd have thunk??
keep trying and good luck!!

11:16 AM  
Blogger Ella said...

a dear friend of mine was recently contacted by the son she gave up for adoption 27 years ago. she was thrilled that he had made the effort to locate and contact her but it was bittersweet as well. he wasn't the man she would have raised him to be, no is he someone who she would really want to be a part of her life now. i think there was dissapointment for both that it didn't have the fairytale happy ending that we have a tendancy to romanticize with situations like this.

i wish you good luck and God's blessings in your search. i hope that he is everything you and your family hope he is.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Mrs.Chattypants said...

I too would refrain from posting his name. At least until you have personally met him and spent some time with him. I would definitely write a letter and send it through the mail. It offers more credibility in a time when there are many things sent via email and sometimes phone calls, that we are reluctant to take at face value. A letter also allows for both him and you to kind of digest the information and if you make the initial contact, it will leave the ball in his court. As you mentioned, he is not opposed to finding his birth mother, but it will probably take him by surprise. Best to let him contact you at his readiness.
I wish you luck in your search and have my fingers,toes, legs and eyes crossed that everything will go smoothly for your family.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Cynthia Samuels said...

I'm with everyone else about keeping his name to yourself for now. I can't imagine how violated a person might feel, even if interested, at learning about his additional family that way. Any public version of his story should be told w/his permission only. I have a family member whom I used to quote - and she knows me - and I had to change her to "a friend" because even that much exposure was too much for her. She's just that private. Some people just want to keep their lives to themselves.
As to approach: I assume you are doing research about the nature of his life. If he has a wife and kids maybe a letter? Maybe enclose copies of a couple of your loveliest posts on the story? If he's kind of alone maybe a phone call? If he's not so far away maybe ask for a meeting?
It's a tough call. How wonderful though that you are far enough along to have to make these decisions! Thanks to the public library for keeping you online.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Krystle | Snarky Kisses said...

I agree with everyone else, until you know for sure it's him and have made contact at least once and he is okay for posting his name - then do it.

I hope this all has a happy ending - someone from our home town was adopted, I'll call her M, and her biological sister (let's call her K) knew she had a sister out there (kind of like you searching for your brother) and K ended up searching for M and finding her, and K and M met for a while and it turns out, K and M's mom never remarried, never had any more kids other than K, was pregnant at a young age and never knew where M was - also, the mom never had any grand kids and M had a daughter! Now they go on trips together, see each other regularily, etc.

It's fun to see pictures - they look so much alike - M, K and the mom!

11:22 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

See I understand what people are saying by keeping his name off the blog. It feels like the right thing in this situation. Except, part of me wonders, you know this internet world is very connected and who hasn't Googled their own name. And maybe it would lead to finding him. Or someone who reads this blog knows him and voila. Except, again, it feels like an invasion of his privacy. I think if time does not yield results, well, I personally would have a very difficult time keeping quiet.

I would say call. If you write, you never know if it reached him. I have only known a handful of adopted people but most of them are very open to at least knowing who their biological families are. Best of luck to you with your search!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Hi! It's my first time reading your blog and, my luck, I happen upon it when you've posted about something I have no good response to. :)

This is a tricky, delicate topic, it seems. I am trying to think about how your brother would feel if you posted his name. If he wanted to find you, I think he would be beyond elated that you posted his name on your blog. If he's a very private person, he might be furious. I don't know...I guess it's a risk/reward scenario that you have to weigh out. Maybe try other avenues then post his name as a last resort?

I think if he read your posts about him after finding his name on your blog, he'd understand that you have the right intentions. That much is very obvious.

I posted on my blog once about a person who died on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. It was a commemorative project where each blogger was given the name of one individual to write about. I posted the man's picture and stories I'd gathered about him. I posted the name of his wife and his children and wrote a poem about their loss.

About a year later, I got an email from this man's lovely wife. She wrote me to say thank you and told me how much the post meant to her. I later heard from her daughter, who wrote to say thank you as well. I have since kept in touch with them.

I know this isn't at all the same but I guess those people could have flipped out on me as well. You never know...

Anyway, sorry for the long comment. Best of luck with your search. I think it's great that you're doing this.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Woo hoo to free loaner computers!

Best of luck in finding your brother. I think it was right to not publish his name. Like you said, you don't know what or if he knows about the circumstances of his birth and subsequent adoption, so pulling him into the story so publicy might not go over so well.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I don't have any personal experience to lend advice but I did want to say that I'm glad you are finding answers and I hope that it continues to be a "happy" journey for you and that in the end you all get something good from this.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Joy said...

I would refrain from posting his name until permission has been given, simply, as the previous commenters have said, because of privacy rights. He might be rabid about protecting his personal space, or he could turn out to be incredibly open. As well, he may not want to pursue contact at this time depending on the feelings of his 'real' parents toward the often thorny issue of adoption and sharing with birth families...

I am somewhat inclined to take a tempered, but rosy, view toward adoption. My mother's two long-lost half-siblings, who are full siblings, have just been in contact with each other. On Saturday. After more than 15 years of looking. I don't know what their discussion was like, but my two Aunts connected by phone. And when my Aunt first made contact with my family, it was by phone, and was a short conversation verifying identities, and so on, and leaving contact information for my family to respond to.

ASK your brother, when you phone or write (depending on YOUR level of comfort with either method of communication), and you confirm he is indeed the person you are looking for, which method of communication he prefers to pursue. And then follow his lead. Personally, I would opt for the initial phone call if I knew I could get through the call without blubbering through the entire conversation.

If you want to converse about families, and feelings, and finding long-lost adoptive siblings, please feel free to email me, and I'll share my family's experience with you.

Good luck, and stay strong. I agree, the ending to the story is important, regardless of what that ending is, ultimately.

11:45 AM  
Blogger BoozleBox said...

I'm not sure what documentation you have but I know in the UK there is a register for adopted people and their birth families which means they can positively say they are happy to be contacted. Is there such a thing in the US?

My guess would be he would welcome contact from his birth family but that's not always true. I can't help thinking about what would happen if he doesn't even know he's adopted and then he gets a letter in the post saying 'Hi - I'm your half sister!' I don't want to put a downer on this but it's tough without knowing anything about him.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

You have to admit a wireless labradoodle would be very handy.

I wouldn't publish his name. This is a big deal, and I think respecting his privacy is important. Placing a classified ad without your name would be very different than publishing his name on a well-trafficked blog. I think you made the right call.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous bellaf said...

I don't think it's right to publish his name, specially without knowing of his situation. It may be he doesn't even know he is adopted. Even if he does know, he may not appreciate being exposed on the internet. I know I wouldn't. You have A LOT of readers. Readers who can google his name and find out about him and contact him. Imagine being inundated with things like that out of the blue.

Now you have his name and will soon find him. I sincerely hope all goes well. It's an interesting story for you to tell and for us to read, but the particulars of it are intimate. They concern your family, this man and this man's family only.

11:56 AM  
OpenID K said...

Wow, thank you for sharing the news.

I agree to keep his name off the blog for now. First, just for the sake of privacy, and second because what if he Googled himself and just found you, it seems like it would be more of a shock than hearing from you. but maybe that doesn't make sense. I don't know. Gut says you are right though.

If it were me, I would write. A letter (or email, although I like actual letters) he can read and re-read and come back to, and process it in his own time.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Annika said...

I think (and this is gut instinct, not based on any experience) that the how is by whatever means are available to you. So for instance, if you find him on Facebook, you send him a FB message or, if his profile is public and lists his phone number, you work up your courage and call.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't publish this name any where without his consent, and as far as contact with him? HE should be the one to initiate it by signing up for adoption information registries, and you and your mom should do the same. Your mom gave up her right to disrupt his life when he was put up for adoption. He may not even know he was adopted. No one has any right to create another huge disturbance in his life if he doesn't clearly choose it.

Sorry, i don't mean to be harsh, but some adoptions are meant to be kept secret, and it really should be HIS decision.

12:20 PM  
Blogger clueless but hopeful mama said...

Adding my voice to the chorus: I would NOT post his name (for privacy reasons) and I would write him a hand written letter. He deserves some time to process this and respond as he sees fit, without the pressure of a surprise phone call (or Google search) out of the blue.

Best of luck, Catherine. I, like many, am hoping for a happy ending for you and your mom. Whatever that might look like to you.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Hi! I agree with most people...not posting his name until you've been able to talk to him. I have two sides of the story. My father-in-law didn't know he was adopted until he was 35 and a slightly drunk and beligerent woman told him at a family gathering that he was her sister and was given up by her parents. (The adoption was in the family). He had no idea that he was adopted and it was initially shocking. So, you never know if someone was never told.

On the other side, one of my most favorite people in the world was found a few years ago by the daughter she gave up 36 years ago. The daughter tracked her down and said the most beautiful thing...something like, "I'm Susie Q and I'm your daughter. I wanted to call you and let you know that I had a wonderful adoptive and life and just hoped you've had a great life, too..." Needless to say, they have a special relationship and my friend was so happy to find out that the daughter she gave up was so loved. I think the daughter actually tracked down the birth father first and it was the birth father who called my friend to let her know they had "been found". So, she had a few minutes to digest and know she was about to call.

So many possibilities for his reaction, but I wish you and he the best of luck...

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Monica said...

I would absolutely not post his name until you've talked to him and have his approval.

As for contact, the most important part of it is giving him a way out if he doesn't want to be contacted. I recommend the first contact be via telephone/facebook. Somewhere you have a reasonable certainty that he has control of whether to continue contact or cut it off.

Although you're highly invested in this search now, he may not be at the same point and you need to be prepared for him to need time to process.

Good luck - I'm hoping for you.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Bekka said...

While I agree that you probably shouldn't post the name in the blog where it's linked directly to your entire search and life, you should absolutely post his name somewhere, in registries, in classified ads, so that if he's looking for you as well, it's an extra link.

12:46 PM  
Blogger caramama said...

I just started to wonder, what if he doesn't know he was adopted? I know if he was still a child, you would have to contact his parents. What does a person do in this case, with him as an adult? I guess just reach out to him (assuming you find him, and I am assuming that) and tell him if he doesn't know. Just wondering if you had thought about how to handle that.

I agree with keeping his name off the site. While your blog would be (and I think has been) a great tool to assist in finding him, I think that it should be up to him (when you find him) as to whether or not you put his name out there.

As always, I wish you the best of luck in this search! How exciting to have found the name he goes by!

1:23 PM  
Blogger daysgoby said...

I really, really, REALLY hope someday soon we'll see a picture of a smiling man holding Emilia and a blog post named 'Little boy found'


I guess posting his name here would be determinate on if you had a terrible time with leads. It could be a very useful tool, if need be.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Wow I wish you the best of luck finding your brother. I recently found my brother, whom I hadn't seen since I was 12, and it was a great reunion. I found him on MySpace of all places, and his kids didn't even know they had an aunt. It was a big shocker for a lot of folks.

I'm riding the fence on not publishing his name. We don't care about anyone else's privacy when we publish names on here, say locations or nearby places, events and personal business regarding these people. So why is it such a big thing to publish his name to find him? And if he finds it and deems it invasive and offensive, there's always the DELETE button.

But then again, the question still hits me that he might not know he was adopted... and this knowledge might disrupt his life.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best of luck! I was elated to find my brother and there's an emptiness that's been filled. You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers...

2:02 PM  
Blogger brenna said...

I guess I don't see why just posting his name would be that big of a deal, but I understand that you'd rather err on the side of caution. Could help him find you, though; people google themselves all the time.

2:16 PM  
Blogger April said...

i have no advice, but wanted to lend my support. ((hugs))

2:36 PM  
Blogger April said...

ok, i lied... a little bit of advice. if you do the letter route, send it certified return receipt so you're not forever wondering if he actually got it.

((more hugs))

2:39 PM  
Blogger Baby in the City said...

I'd go one step further than not publishing his name, I would say that you should not post about any details of your search. Emotions, sure, but writing about anything beyond your inner most thoughts and feelings might backfire. As you say, it is quite possible that someone in his life reads your blog and putting two and two together might not be so tough. Imagine if someone whom he would never tell his private business is reading about it publicly. If that were me, I'd be not only mortified, but angry.
Personally, I have VERY different ideas about the boundaries of privacy than those of my family. I am constantly hearing "it's my story too" and my reaction is always "well, I can fix that. Bye!"
So, I caution you, just because you think you've gone far enough in drawing the line, he might not agree. And remember, you are getting advice/comments from a chorus that engages in blogs, not from the legions who think blogging is weird and vain, etc. blah blah blah. But you know that opinion is out there.

If it were me, I think I'd register with the registry, make it possible for him to find your mom and you. Beyond that, a REGISTERED letter. Gotta make sure it actually gets delivered.

Good luck!! xoxo

2:47 PM  
Blogger just a kat said...

Agree with the majority - totally personal - may run him off to know his name and deets were on a blog.
I agree with April, if you send the letter, do it as she suggests - that way you know it WAS received and the ball is clearly in his court.
You have to be TOTALLY emotionally prepped for the reaction - be it positive or negative. As one above me stated "what if he doesnt know he was adopted?". That could TOTALLY knock his world off the axis. On the other hand - he could be waiting to see if someone is interested enough to pursue a "look see". You just never know with people. He could be gung ho, then have his feet get cold after 1 or 10 meetings. It's a VERY emotional undertaking for everyone involved and I wish you and mum all the luck in the world. I wish you good luck and happiness!!

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm reading your Blog since forever over here in germany. My mom gave me away when i was a baby. I met her and my sister she is only one year younger than me. I would never let them go again. I hope for you that you are gonna find your brother. He must be proud to have such a great sister.
The things you say make me understand my stranger mom and sister better, sometimes. Thanks

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm reading your Blog since forever over here in germany. My mom gave me away when i was a baby. I met her and my sister she is only one year younger than me. I would never let them go again. I hope for you that you are gonna find your brother. He must be proud to have such a great sister.
The things you say make me understand my stranger mom and sister better, sometimes. Thanks

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm reading your Blog since forever over here in germany. My mom gave me away when i was a baby. I met her and my sister she is only one year younger than me. I would never let them go again. I hope for you that you are gonna find your brother. He must be proud to have such a great sister.
The things you say make me understand my stranger mom and sister better, sometimes. Thanks

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Rhonda said...

I do not think you should publish his name, privacy being the main reason. However, I also had the thought that cruel people do exist on this planet, and I would hate to see you taken advantage of by someone who would read this story, take the name if you published it, and string you along trying to make you think that they either know your brother, have contact with him, or are him. Does that make sense?

Best of luck to you with your search.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous aqua said...

I wish you best of luck with the search!!
I agree that you should keep his name off the blog.
I have no experience whatsoever with this, so my opinion is completely irrelevant, but I would contact him by facebook or email, but not call him. An email he can ignore if he so chooses. Calls -- even voicemails -- are a little trickier, I would imagine.
Have you googled him? Do you have any idea where he lives, or what he does for a living?

4:39 PM  
Blogger Norm said...

I've never done anything like this before, so I can't help, really. But if it were me and my long lost sister appeared I'd be effin' delighted, no matter how she introduced herself. Particularly if she were someone as fantastically cool as you.

4:40 PM  
OpenID adjustmentdisorder said...

I agree with your decision not to publish his name... this way you will have a bit more control on how you communicate your story to him, and you will respect his privacy. If you are able to get some contact information for him, I would recommend writing to him (either by e-mail or in a letter) first... that will give him time to process this important information. I wish you the best of luck!

4:41 PM  
Blogger Catutes said...

I have to agree with your choice. It's a privacy issue. My husband's adopted and while we would like to know about his family, whether his married parents had other children, it would be shocking and terrifying to discover that in a public venue.

If you know his address, send a letter explaining the situation, your desire to connect and know him. If he reaches out, then he's interested. If not, then you know he might want to be left alone.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I think it could do a lot of damage to your future relationship if you publish his name on your blog. Ditto if you publish too many details of your search. And if you find him, I hope he will consent to being blogged about (because I want to hear the end of the story) - but if he doesn't -well that would be a completely reasonable position for him to take. Bloggers exist in a world where privacy has been sacrificed for other gains. However, there are plenty of people in the world that can't relate to the loss of privacy associated with blogging. Your brother may well be one of them.

Good luck.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

For everyone who is asking - I haven't found *him* yet, but I have found about a half dozen men who *could* be him. The question is how to narrow it down, approach people who might *not* be him...

6:15 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

And yeah, some of them are on Facebook. I've spent way too much time squinting at teeny little pictures.

6:16 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

You're doing the right thing by NOT publishing his name on your blog. Adoptions 40 years ago are not like adoptions today; many people 'hid' them, sometimes even from the children themselves... and even if he knows he was adopted, he has a right to not have that spread all over the web.

I contintue to wish you much luck in your search, and I hope it has a happy ending. For all of you.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

People have many different feelings about their name being out there on the internet. The birth father of the son I placed for adoption 23 years ago read me the riot act a couple of months ago when he was confronted by a business client about his name coming up on the adoption registry that I am on. He emailed me and demanded that I take all of his personal information off of there and told me that I had no right to do that. I have no problem with my name being out there because I want to be accessible to him if he wants to find me. You never know how somebody might take it, or who might be the one to tell him about it if somebody finds out before he does. Personally, if I ever find my son, I want to be the one to tell him that I've been looking for him or have found him, not the neighbor down the street that decided to google his name one night.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Merrily Down the Stream said...

I wish you well on this journey. I don't really have advice, my son wanted to find me and he did - it is all so amazing. Holding you in the light.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I'll tell you WHY it's a good idea to keep it off the blog. Dude, you're famous. There's a serious power differential that comes into play when you name him here: you are a well-known writer and he becomes the object of a quest narrative. You, subject; brother, object. You: the cellphone user with the Verizon network lined up behind you. Him: hapless guy who uses another carrier. It's just too asymmetrical

Objectifying your brother is not the best way to start.

So my advice is not new, but I thought I'd explain WHY.

Oh, and Catherine? God. Good luck. You must all be reeling from the new info, wondering what to do, what will happen. I wish you the best.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I think it's wonderful that you are trying to find your brother, and anyone who is judging you needs to look at themselves first.

As for publishing his name, I would think it might be much better to get his permission first...I know that's what I would want were I that person.

GOod luck!!

9:50 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

About not knowing whether he wants to be found (I think that I said this above) - there's no no-contact or non-disclosure order on his info, which all adoptees have the right (in that province) to demand, since it became law for that information to be open to families. So, it's not a *welcome* sign, but it does mean that (if he knows he's adopted) he didn't act to block contact.

Also, the government adoption registry itself? With search/find option it's expensive. Simply can't afford to do that right now.

10:07 PM  
OpenID abomo said...

I wish I had words of wisdom to share with you but all I've got is this - how could anyone be mean to you about this blog?! Seriously, I love reading your heart's internal workings on my laptop screen. It's your heart and you are sharing it with us and if people feel the need to judge you harshly from a digital distance, I say they can take their mean-ole selves to the land of crashing hard drives and slow internet connections.
Sorry, don't like to hear about meanness even to strangers I don't know.
It's your life, your journey and it will unfold exactly as it is supposed to you - you cannot mess it up. period.
peace to you...

10:41 PM  
Blogger TheFeministBreeder said...

I have nothing much to offer except this. You seem pretty awesome to me, and I would be so, very, very happy if a woman like you found me and told me that she was my sister.

I'm an only child, and I wasn't raised by my biological parents either. I'm sort of alone in the world, and an awesome blood relative showing up out of nowhere would be like every birthday and chrismtas present I'd ever need for the rest of my life.

That's all I have to offer. Good luck to you.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

As a birth mother, I would say don't put his name out there until after you have contact with him and he gives the approval. It is his life, too, and should have a say.

You are so right--they charge way too much money to do a search, when all they have to do is look in some files. Why does that need to cost over $300?

10:48 PM  
Anonymous kittenpie said...

Definitely you are right to leave his name out - if and when you talk to him, once it becomes comfortable, you could ask if it was okay, but until then, I think it wouldn't be fair to drag him out onstage in front of all your readers and the whole internet. I mean, besides not knowing if he wants to be found or what you will find or how you will be received, well, he may not even know he's adopted, and tripping across himself on someone's blog would not be the way to find out...

10:59 PM  
Blogger Monkey Girl said...

I'm an adoptee who was 'found' by my biological father when I was 32.
As others have stated there are many registries available for finding birth parents/adopted children to help find each other.

Here's my bit of advice. Please start some kind of therapy to help start processing what you are feeling. So you're ready when the meeting finally happens. When I was contacted (out of the blue, I wasn't looking for my birth parents) it was very hard for me and I immediately sought counseling. And as you've said it might not be a happy ending.

Mine was neither happy or sad. My birth father is very different from my adopted father and it's difficult to relate.

As far as the names go...here's my two cents. My birth father (and his new wife) still screw up and call me by my birth name, which isn't my name now. It hurts every time they do it. Please be mindful of this...it's a very touchy issue. I'm not sure they understand how it feels to be called something different...even though I've reminded them many times what my new name is.

Good luck and wish you the very best.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous FormerGFS said...

I've never been in your situation, so I can't speak from experience.

However, I am a genealogist who volunteered for many years as a host in a genealogy chat room. I can't count the number of times that an adoptee came in, begging for help in finding missing birth parents -- and vice versa. The stories were all different but the feeling of the birth family member or the adoptee was the same -- longing. I can identify with it to a certain extent, as I have been searching for some of my elusive ancestors for over 30 years!

In my case, though, the people I am searching for passed away long ago. I have facts and records about them, but few stories to make them come alive again.

In your case, you are dealing with someone whose story is still being written. You don't know what it has been to date, or what he might think or feel about having his story disrupted and made public. Living people have the right to privacy.

The chances are, if he knows he is adopted, he will feel that longing to KNOW the circumstances, to have the chance to meet his birth family, to experience that sense of connection -- those were the common themes of the stories I heard in the chat rooms. Bear in mind that those were people who sought the help of others, who made the conscious effort to look for the missing family member. It should be your brother's choice if he wants others to know his story. ("Your brother" -- isn't that so cool? Aren't you just jittery with excitement and kinda sick to your stomach at the same time? I would be!)

Heaven knows, your blog is so popular that his story wouldn't stay private for long if you posted it.

My curiousity is killing me. I hope he gives his permission, when you finally get a chance to ask him. I want to know the rest of the story! Oh, I love this stuff...

1:28 AM  
Blogger Christie D. said...

I agree you shouldn't post his name, and also I don't think you should ask his permission to post his name later, unless you get to know him well and he is the sort that is very open about having his name and/or photo on the internet. Even asking him "can I put your name on my blog" might be freaky to someone who is a bit more private. Or maybe you could ask to just put his first name up, after you know him?

A letter is nice too, but the advantage of a call is that you can make sure you are talking to the right person within that household - a letter may be opened by his wife or child, for example.

I found out while doing family history research that my grandfather had remarried (after my grandmother divorced him), and that he had had 3 more children. We never had known that he had more children after my mom. I finally got up the nerve to tell my mom (she never liked talking about her father), and after several months we agreed that I would call one of them. I was so nervous!! I called and said, "I am the daughter of -soandso- and I think we might be related..." He immediately said excitedly, "That's my sister!!" He and his 2 siblings had grown up knowing they had an older half-sister in the next state, but as she had married in the 1960's and changed her surname, they couldn't really find her. We all ended up having a nice reunion, 4 years ago.

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. Wilson said...

Wow. Progress! Baby steps, right? I do hope that you find him.

I had a friend who was adopted and was exctatic (sp?) to meet her birth parents. It was a good reunion. She now keeps in contact with her birth mother.

Have you already tried to look him up on Facebook? What am I saying, probably. Wow. I'm so excited for you to finally meet him, if that's what is supposed to happen.

I grew up in BC. I didn't mention this earlier, because I didn't want to get your hopes up (because there's no hope in this), but my dad's name is William Frederick. But he was definitely NOT adopted and is four years older than your brother. And, obviously, your brother was given a new name by his adoptive parents. I just thought it was a weird coincidence that someone had the same name as him.

I will hope for you that this story has a very happy ending!

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Rebekah said...

I hope you find him and that it is a joyous reunion for your whole family. I imagine he will be thrilled to learn he has a sister like you! You're terrific!

9:14 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I agree with Mimi about not making him an object of your quest. I would find that overwhelming and a violation - even if I were sitting around waiting to be found. I'm sitting here in a library and imagining the difference between being approached as I sit by myself by one stranger with a bit of life changing news or a marching band with confetti and a banner and trumpeting elephants. You must feel like you want the information RIght Now. I know I would and it must be so tempting because of the power of your blog to send up the flare, skywrite the question and possibly receive the answer much sooner than going and knocking door to door on your own. That said I don't think there is anything wrong with a benign friend request on FB. A simple, I am looking for someone and I think you may be him, sorry to bother you otherwise. It's awkward but it's not awful and it's free and he can always decline should he choose.
Good luck. I wish you a happy ending.
And congrats on the new tester labradoodle. May it and Jasper get along better this time. :)

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Chickiedoodle said...

I only skimmed the responses but didn't see this suggestion: I think having a third person contact him would be the least threatening way to do it. He would be able to answer honestly about whether he wanted further contact without having to worry about hurt feelings on your end, and you wouldn't have to hear directly from him if he is hesitant to start a relationship.

Maybe I watch too much tv (just flipped past a repeat of The Locator (http://www.wetv.com/the-locator/index.php)), but having a person not directly connected facilitate it would protect both sides from the most serious negative outcomes.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Banteringblonde said...

I know I asked this before but I can't remember if you mentioned whether he knew he was adopted? I still think the best approach is to find the adoptive parents and talk to them first. This could really be damaging to him and his family if it is not handled carefully. My husband is adopted and has no desire to ever find his birth parents - he feels that his parents are his parents and that they are his family, without them he would not be who he is. This is about HIM not you... I think the recommendation for counseling is a good one regardless of whether you ever find him. Exploring why it is so important to you to find a stranger could be beneficial.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous gurukarm (@karma_musings) said...

Well, pretty much everyone said already what I think too - no, don't put his name here *yet*. There are so many variables about what might happen if you do, and so many of them might not be good.

I hope and pray for you and your mom that your brother is indeed looking for you (her) too, or at the very least, will be happy to know about you and meet you all.

I'm having so many other thoughts in response to the comments too; some of my story as a birth mom I've mentioned to you in email. Here is not appropriate though. So maybe I'll just wander on over to my own blog and actually write about this too.

Best to you!

3:08 PM  
Blogger Burgh Baby said...

I can't tell you what works, but I can tell you what does not work.

My mom gave up her first-born for adoption and never mentioned it. Ever. A month after she passed away, the story came to light that he had been trying to find her, but she had refused to meet him (I suppose she did that because she was dying of cancer at the time).

Anyway, he found me after hiring a private detective. He then called, out of nowhere, and just started yammering. Less than ten minutes after I learned he really did exist, he was naming dates and inviting himself to my house to visit. He was all sorts of pushy, assertive, and generally overbearing during the call, and showed up at our airport a month later. I never had a chance to even think about the whole thing, and it really made it hard to accept him into our lives. I'm still struggling with it.

So, be yourself, but remember to let things progress naturally. Maybe some people would be OK with a total stranger inviting themselves into their home, but I wasn't ready for it. Rushing things more than I was comfortable with has strained things in a very odd way.

Good luck!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

I don't think that there is a right/wrong answer here. It's unchartered territory. Be kind to yourself.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Just me... said...

Good luck.. And I hope it turns out wonderfully for you.. If you need any help, let me know.. I've been pretty good at finding the past... :):):)

7:30 PM  
Blogger Momily said...

How exciting and wonderful that you have gotten this far in your search for your brother! I agree with most commentors that keeping his name off your blog is the appropriate thing to do.

I'm not sure how you should contact him . . . phone seems to invasive somehow, but snail mail or a facebook message, etc. at least gives him an opportunity to respond on his own terms if he even wants to respond.

I can only imagine how scary and exhilirating and nerve-wracking the next steps will be. We're all "with" you!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Picture it... my husband and I were tramping around the world... we would load up photos to our website to let our families know where we were and that we were alive. Middle of the Outback - red desert stretching for miles around us - we find a gas station with an internet connection. $2 per minute. We could upload one or two pics and pay $10. As we are doing this, my husband says... Ashley, come here right now. I peer over his shoulder. He reads an email that says... "I think I might be your birth mother." And in fact, it was her. Only 2 boys born in that hospital on that day, and she had already contacted the other one. 8 years later and they are still in contact. They have visited at holidays and they exchange cards.

My advice, just start at the beginning. If he is open, he will respond. If he had the empty hole of unanswered questions, he will want to fill it. [My husband's brother does not and will not, despite also being adopted.]

Best wishes in your hunt.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Heather @ Domestic Extraordinaire said...

I didn't read the comments, but I did want to say that I think it was wise that you didn't publish his name here. People google names of people all the time and while he may know that he was adopted, he might not want others to know.

As for communicating with him. Maybe a short letter. I have no idea but I will be thinking of you.

HUGS!

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

I'm just drunk and laughing about the poor Labradoodle, which no doubt Oliver would help push off the sofa. Remind me that O and J are not to meet again until they reach university, okay?

x0

1:39 AM  
Blogger Bianka said...

Don't publish his name, it might offend him and turn him off to meeting before you even have the chance. I'd use it as a very very last resort.

Write to him! Be prepared for the worst, as cliche as it sounds. Assume that he doesn't want to meet. Then write to him and leave the ball in his court. Best would be email I think.. it's the least intimidating form of communication I think.

Best of luck.. I am keeping my fingers crossed for your mother to see her baby boy again.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Breenette said...

I have a friend who went through this from the opposite side. She was the sister to a man whom she had no idea even existed. Her story was that she received an email one day at work - completely out of the blue and unexpected.

Her brother emailed and said something simply along the lines of. My name is xx and I believe you may be my sister. If your father is xx and was born xx then I believe you and I could be brother and sister and I would like to get to know you, if that is something you are interested in pursuing, you may contact me back and we can talk more about this.

He left the ball in her court. She did some soul searching, talked to her father - discovered that this was in fact her brother and they now have a relationship and have gotten to know each other - including him coming for visits and seeing his father and having a relationship with him as well. I won't say it has all been roses - but they connected and questions were answered on both sides.

Every situation is different and you will have a difficult road ahead as you determine what is best for you and your family as well as him and his possible family. I wish you luck and offer my prayers as you make these decisions.

1:14 PM  
Blogger jenB said...

I would want to be contacted by email or letter. Or phone call. I also had another name for 2 months. I wish my paternal half siblings would try and find me. Gah, I dunno Catherine, but I do get what you are going through. I got a letter from my bio-mom by registered letter so she knew that I got it and when.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know if I'm adding anything new to the comments, but I would agree not to post his name here. I put myself in his position, and thought that I would want it to be my choice whether or not my name was shared in an open public forum, for any reason, let alone a reason that for many can hold very mixed emotions. I think not sharing his name, while it may delay you somewhat in finding him, will possibly provide a more neutral ground on which to build a relationship in the future, because you just don't know how he might feel about his name being posted. I think it's great that you're searching him out, and I wish you all the best. One of my dear friends has a tremendous relationship with both her birth mother and adoptive parents. I wish the same for you...

6:17 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

I so hope you find him and that he is receptive and the relationship becomes something that gives you all peace.

The issue of his privacy has been well covered (and I agree, for what it's worth).

I just thought I'd give my thoughts, as an adoptive mom, about approaching him. Gently. Give him time, to think and to process and to respond. A certified letter seems lovely (b/c it would kill me to wonder if he had received something or not, if it were me, through email, etc.)

It's not likely that my daughter's birth family would contact me, but if they did, I would be terrified first, I know. Even though I know that love is endless and it multiplies. Even though I strongly believe that the more people that love a child, the better. I would be so scared. I would be open to it too, but I would want to reach that place in my own time.

This is different, of course, because he is an adult and he gets to make his own choices. Maybe he'll be thrilled and he'll call you that day! Maybe his mom and/or Dad are his best friends and he'll want to let them work through their feelings? As hard as it is, I would say that however you contact him, it's then up to him. I can only imagine how hard it will be if he doesn't answer. Hugs.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Llyn said...

I found my birthdaughter on the "adoption.com" registry...you might want to check there, and search some of the forums for discussions on contacting adoptees. I wish you all the best on this emotional journey.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Olivia said...

i agree that should keep his name off the blog. What if he doesn't know he's adopted, then he finds out from the Internet?

12:20 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Bantering Blonde - I don't know if he knows that he's adopted. I kind of assumed, if only because in the province of his adoption, adoption info is open unless the adoptee requests otherwise: I'd expect that his parents would have at least told him when that change came into effect, because the possibility of his being found has been very real since that information was opened up.

But I could be wrong. Food for thought.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Kari said...

I was adopted at 3 months old and shortly after my 30th birthday I received an email from Birth Mother out of the blue, at least that is what if felt like to me at the time (she had gotten my name and googled me and my work email came up) I strongly feel you should not post your brothers name as you are correct he probably does not know you are his sister and may not want the world to know before he does, ("hello random coworker that i hardly like...what? I need to read this total strangers blog right now why...?") NOT COOL I needed time to process check in with my Mom and Dad and even talk to my brother before I replied to the email I received, please do not post his name here.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

Bantering Blonde - I have been mulling over your comment about seeking counseling to, among other things, explore "why it is so important to you to find a stranger". As someone whose family has recently been reunited with adopted siblings, I must reply that these long-lost siblings are not, and have never been, considered strangers, but always family. True, it is family that we didn't know how they were doing, or what they look like, but there has always been a place for them in our family, whether they wanted it or not, in addition to the place they have in their forever family. As it turns out, they wanted their place in our family. And we are happy to know them on their terms.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

I'm honestly not convinced that it's ethical for you to contact him at all.

Does he know that he's adopted?

Have you considered the possibility that he does not know, and that there might be a great deal of fallout with his adoptive family if you contact him?

I know that this is your family, and that you're emotionally attached to the idea of meeting your brother for both yourself and your mom, but you have to consider the ethics at hand of contacting someone without invitation. I think it should generally be up to the adopted child to reach out to contact his birth family, and that the best the birth family can do is register with sites that allow for this connection.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Miss Grace: I see your point, but I'm not entirely convinced of the argument that it would be *unethical* to contact an adoptive family member when there's been no no-contact order placed on the information. The possibility exists that *he* has been wondering why his birth mother never sought him out. He might not want to know his birth family; on the other hand, he might have wondered his whole life about his birth family and wondered whether they would ever try to find him; I have no way of knowing.

If he wants no contact, he *probably* would have put a 'no contact' order on the adoption records, which have been open in BC for over a decade. Unless he doesn't know. Which I *think* is unlikely, but still - there are arguably ethical quandaries on all sides. If his birth family knows about him, knows his name, who he is, but never reaches out in any way - might one not construe that as hurtful? As evidence of not caring?

I don't know. All I know is that I must proceed with caution and consideration. The rest is guesswork.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

If there is no 'do not contact' order attached to his file I absolutely consider it ethical to contact him.

If you were to contact him and push a relationship he does not want or inform other people in his life of this adoption/familial connection, THAT would be unethical.

Personally, where there is no specific notation in his file to the contrary I would consider it unethical to NOT contact him at least once to give him information and the choice of what to do with it.

6:26 PM  
Blogger badassdad05 said...

I don't buy the idea of it being unethical to contact him. Emotionally risky? Sure. But unethical? No. You have every right to reach out. He has every right to accept or reject you. Once contact is made, you both have choices. If his parents never told him he's adopted I think they owe him an explanation. He has a right to know. And you have a right to seek him out.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Karen (agentninety9) said...

I have a half brother somewhere. I know the name my mother gave him at birth, but that's it. I'm sure I'll never find him.

However, if I were lucky enough to find him, I'd like to believe he'd at least be interested in knowing a little about me and his birth family.

As for being unethical? I don't think so, unless as you said there were a no-contact order. I think the journey you're on will be charged with emotion to say the least. I wish you luck...

6:33 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:34 PM  
OpenID thedailysnark said...

Just something to consider. I am adopted and I never knew that I could place a No Contact order on my information. In fact, I've never even tried to contact the organization I was adopted through.

I sort of have to agree with Miss Grace on this one—it should be up to the child. I can't even imagine how earth-shaking it would be if someone contacted me out of the blue. If I were you, or your mother, I'd write a lovely letter, send it to the agency and if he ever looks for her, he'll know where to find her.

Just my two cents...

I wish you luck.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gray said...

You're not forcing him into a relationship. You're opening a door. He's a middle-aged adult man and presumably can decide if he wants to walk through it. Not contacting him would simply be cowardly, would deny him the option, would be selfish.

I appreciate that Miss Grace is thinking of the man on the other end of this whose life will be forever changed, but I trust that you, Catherine, to do this right. You'll open a door, slowly, let him peek inside as he's ready, and take it one step at a time. I imagine this could be a process, a story, that may unfold over many, many years. Or I not. And that's just it: you won't know this journey until you start it. I think it's a risk worth taking.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

I wish you luck on this journey and I feel that no matter what the outcome is, the truth is better than living in the dark.
It is every humans right to know where they came from and the people connected.
If the outcome is a negative one, be strong and know that you reached out and that's all you could do.
Good Luck,
Angie Yeager
http://www.EducatedMoms.com

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Hi! Long time lurker, love your blog. Now for my two cents. I just recently adopted my twin daughters,it was the greatest day ever. As much as I wish I could say the mother was great for giving the child to us, the state had to fight to terminate her rights because of the severe abuse she did. So, right there our two stories are totally different but somewhat similar. I know one day I will have to tell my daughters they were adopted, I see no other way around it, but my biggest fear is someone from their biological family searching for them and finding them. What if he doesn't know hes adopted? What if it causes problems in his family? What if he's angry because he's adopted? I would definitely post it on some adoption search engines, put the name out there to see if he is searching too but I wouldn't hunt him down. I hope I haven't hurt your feelings or made you mad, each person and each story is different. Good luck in your adventures! :)

6:42 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Just adding - and this is a touch beside the point... When I was given my dad's address because he had written to my mom so I could have it, I was 18 and had not seen him since I was five. I had wondered about him always, but even so, it took me 3 years to contact him. I waited until I felt more centered about it and knew what I hoped for and that my expectations were such that I wouldn't be devastated if things didn't match some ideal.

My point being - if you find him and contact him, he might need some time absorb and process before he responds. I just thought it might be worth pointing out that if you don't hear right away, it may be tough to wait, but it is not necessarily the end of the road, either. He may just be protecting himself a bit so that when/if you do meet, it can be an okay experience. Knowing that's a possibility might just help you feel a bit better about it, too.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Trueself said...

Knowing how much my son (who is adopted) wants to know everything he possibly can about his birth family, I can only imagine that your brother, even as an adult, probably wonders about his birth family too.

I think it would be good to contact him, maybe just a letter explaining who you are and why you are contacting him, and giving him your contact information, leaving it up to him to decide if and/or when he might be ready to reach out.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous ljpock said...

I think the possibility of birth relatives contacting someone is a risk parents knowingly take when adoptiong. And especialy if there's not a no-contact/closed clause.

One of my best friends and her brother are adopted. They both knew they were adopted but neither had the desire to seek out their birth partent. Out of the blue her brother was contacted by his birth mother when he 25 years old. It was a bit tense at first but he found out he had other sibliings and has since been able to develop a healthy friendship with them. His sister especially was quite leary, but even she had to admit that his other siblings had every right to know their brother as she did because it wasn't their choice that they hadn't met until now.

I don't believe her brother has any substantial contact with his birth mother, just his siblings. But I think it showed great courage and strength on my friends family to accept this new part of his life so that he could know others who wanted to be part of his family.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

i tend to agree with miss grace.

i am adopted. in 1991 my birth mother contacted the agency she used to put me up for adoption back in 1969. she was able to send them a letter for me and they forwarded it to me. i responded through them as well. by doing that neither of us had the others contact information. in her letter to me she told me that she was registered with a finding agency if i ever wanted to find her. at that time i wasn't really interested. i had been married a year and was newly pregnant. i just didn't feel like it was something i should do. i knew how to contact her if i ever needed her. in 1998, after my 3rd child was born i felt like i should give my birth mother the same privilege she had given me. i registered with the same organization and they were great. they called me on one line and her on the other. they checked with me to make sure i was ok with her having my phone number before they ever gave it to her. we talked on the phone after we both agreed to it.

so my opinion is that you should find someone to be a go between if you are able to figure out who he is. instead of you calling him let someone else feel him out and see what he's comfortable with. maybe a lawyer friend or an agency. i can tell you that if i had gotten a letter or phone call directly from my birth mom it would have freaked me out. i had some time to mull over the idea before actually having contact.

feel free to email me if you have any questions about my story. nagdalie@aol.com

6:49 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

Hi there,
My father, who found out he was adopted in his early 40's, contacted his birth parents via letter. He detailed who he was and why he wanted to establish contact. (Medical history, meet his birth parents, etc.) Unfortunately neither of his birth parents wanted to reconnect. His birth father had no knowledge of his existence, and his birth mother was embarrassed. I know that this hurt my father, but it was important for him to reach out to them.
I wish you well in contacting your brother!

Ally

6:50 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

In reading some of the followup comments here,I want to clarify my comment.

I think he should be given the information about you and your mom but there are a lot of ways to go about that. I think if you contact via 3rd party or leave a letter with the information or registering with an organization that you want to make contact are all good ideas.

I just think that the information and thus option to act or not should be put out there for him to access.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Paulanz said...

Yes, keep his name private; no question.

Also have a think about how HE will feel finding out that you've been blogging about him (even without listing his name) and making this process public.

Your readers are going to want to know when you find him, what you write to him, what he says back, what he looks like, what happens at the first encouner, etc.

He may be VERY uncomfortable knowing he's been the topic of hundreds of conversations without even knowing about it. It's one think having a coffee with your best friend and telling her all about it; it's another thing to blog it and have it live in print forever :)

So when you do meet him, ask if he's OK with you blogging about it, regardless of whether you ever share his hame or not.

Or at the very least, tell him about it and let him see it so it's not some shock later on.
And write every post expecting that he will read it, because he will

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

So many variables to consider. I think the best you can do is just move forward slowly and be honest with every intention.

And don't publish his name. Not yet at least.

I wish I could find my half sister. And I wish she would find me.

If anyone who is 39, has blonde hair and is named Debbie and was born in Alberta to a mom named Eloise wants to be my sister, give me a shout.

Heh.

You may not use your blog for blatant sibling search but there are no rules that I can't. Wink.

7:26 PM  
OpenID planetnomad said...

I think you are absolutely right not to publish his name here. And I think that if you do find him, it's best to let him know by letter so that he has time to process the information. I have no experience with this, but I am imagining how I would want to get such stunning news.

I wish you all the best! I hope you get your happy ending!

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

>>>I think the possibility of birth relatives contacting someone is a risk parents knowingly take when adoptiong. And especialy if there's not a no-contact/closed clause.<<<

40 some odd years ago, adoptive parents were assured that this would not happen. That the adoption was 100% sealed and closed and that there was no possibility of the birth family making contact.

I was adopted 37 years ago. My mother recently told me that if she'd known then that the records would someday be laid bare, she would not have chosen to adopt.

To those using "Well there's no Non-contact order" as a justification, two things: Neither the opening of the registries nor the existence of non-contact orders are necessarily widespread knowledge. And even if they are, it is only knowledge that is relevant should the person in question be aware that it applies to him.

Oh, and violating a non-contact is not simply unethical. It's illegal and punishable by a fairly hefty fine.

Finally, I've read a few times that Catherine has "every right" to do this. Why? What gives her that "right"? A handful of shared chromosomes and a burning desire? I'm not sure that's enough.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Kimberly - (I'm cross-posting this comment from our other discussion at facebook, because I think it serves the discussion here, too. Also, I need to write this through more, and the blog is the place for that, for me)

Two things, mainly: I'm not on a quest to insert myself into his life, *at all*. I'm on a quest to know who he is. Maybe I'll only ever know his name, but that's something. Being in his life, bringing him into mine - that's not the objective. For myself, I just want some sense of who this person is, even from a distance, this person who is my biological brother. But it's mostly for my mother - I just want to be able to a) tell her that he's alive (she's always feared that he died in childhood; long story) and that he had a life, whatever that means. The ideal would be able to tell him, look, your birth mother loved you, and didn't want to give you up, was pressured into giving you up, was just a child herself who was heartbroken at not being able to keep you. NOT to gain a brother for me, but to give my mother some peace in her heart about it. Which, maybe he doesn't want. I can't know that unless I make myself available to him, unless I make some contact.

The other thing: there is always more than one person involved in an adoption story. The adoptee, obviously. The adoptive parents. The birth parents. The families of each. It's not totally clear to me why - in the case of adults, and in a case where guidelines have been set - there's a presumed hierarchy of rights, wherein the adopted party has absolute and primary right to never be contacted by anyone, adoptive parents have secondary right to not have their child contacted, and birth families have no rights at all. ('Rights' is maybe the wrong word. Choice may be better Am struggling here.) You ask if I'd be outraged to be contacted myself, if I'd not known about him: my answer is absolutely not. I would want to know, and wouldn't begrudge him his 'right' or choice to make himself known to me. It would certainly make me uncomfortable. But I'd still not say that he *shouldn't* make himself known ('insert' himself into my life is another story, but that's not my intention here. I just want to make contact, even passively.)

I may have to write this through.

Am grateful for the discussion; I hope you know that.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Also, to everyone who is concerned about me writing about this - now or at any point in the future - I would never share any personal details about him, or even about any communications we might have - if we get that far - without his permission. Maybe not at all.

I will continue to write about my feelings about this search, and its place in my relationship with my mother, and how it bears upon my feelings about family and parenthood and other issues. On *my* side of the story. Because a good part of this *is* my story, and I want to tell it.

9:16 PM  
Blogger velocibadgergirl said...

I was adopted as an infant and never had much interest in finding my birth family. As an adult, I still don't. I'm not entirely sure how I would feel if they contacted me, but I will say that if they did, I'd much prefer a letter or email to a phone call. A phone call would make me feel VERY on-the-spot and if I didn't think it was a prank or fall down from shock, I'd feel very pressured to say what the person wanted to hear. A phone call would give your brother NO time to process the info you're handing him. My two cents, just thinking about how some people really don't like surprises OR talking on the phone.

**HUGS**

9:55 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

I want to clarify that I'm all for leaving a letter with a contacting agency or something. I just think that ultimately, the decision to make contact should be left up to the adopted individual, who can choose to seek out those agencies if he wishes.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

I also think it's important to note that if he doesn't know that he's adopted, he would have no idea that he needed (or didn't need, as the case may be) a no contact order.

Catherine I do truly believe that your heart is in the right place, I just really want to make sure the feelings of your biological brother are being fully considered as you proceed.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

ETHICAL
–adjective
1. pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

Synonyms:
2. moral, upright, honest, righteous, virtuous, honorable.

To find out that one's adopted brother is alive, is happy, and was loved as a child and into adulthood, is an honorable undertaking. To request the opportunity to tell him that he was loved by his biological mother, and never ever forgotten, is honest and honorable. (I totally get the whole, OMG, I hope/pray they did survive infancy/childhood/etc.) Going into a search with these expectations is honest (and all those other good synonyms posted above).

I don't think that there is a single ethical standard with respect to how one handles the aftermath of adoption. There is not one common, accepted way for people to feel and behave in similar sets of circumstances regarding adoption searches.

I trust that however you choose to proceed in this search, you will remain sensitive to his, your, and your mother's feelings in this. Good luck, trust yourself, and be gentle with yourself through this emotional search.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Avalon said...

I have to agree with Miss Grace and with Kimberly. Catherine, while I appreciate your desire to help find some peace for your Mom, I also stand by a point that I made several months ago when you began this journey. If your Mom truly wanted to find him.......was not at all conflicted......she would be doing all of this footwork. Not you.

With greatest respect, I do beleive that this has become your mission for reasons that have less and less to do with your Mom.

I am not adopted, but my father left us when I was 2 and never looked back. Supposedly, he married again after divorcing my Mom and I have a brother out there in the great big world.

If someone else in my family decided to hunt for my brother on my behalf, I would consider that an attempt, on their part, to invade something that is uniquely mine. If I really want to find him, I will.

I understand that you want to do all that you can for your Mom, but maybe now is the time to provide her with all of the information and back away. See what she decides to do with it.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Avalon - it's much more complicated than just, if my mom wanted this search she'd do it herself. So many people here have talked about the benefit of third parties doing the searching, making contact, to lessen the emotional burden - I'm her third party. The only person she trusts to do this thing that carries such emotional weight for her.

You say that your brother is uniquely yours, and that no-one else has the right to search for him. Why, then, is not my brother uniquely mine, to search for, to wonder about? Families are more than just parents and children; there are more relationships at stake than just mother and child, or father and child. Is it wrong for me to wonder about my brother? If so, why so? If this has become more about me - and that's not something that anyone can know for certain, I think, just through my writing - is there necessarily anything wrong with that?

There would be no genealogy, no full family histories, no true biography, if families didn't seek each other out, seek out their histories, their stories.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous anotherJasper'smommy said...

Catherine, I've been a lurker of your blog for a few months now. I find your blog interesting, funny, sad, and, sometimes annoying (my honesty here). However, I think what you're trying to do to find your brother is wonderful. I think that families/people need to know where they came from, even if the end result isn't what everyone wants.

I don't think you're being unethical. I don't think you should post your brother's name and I think you've already agreed with that. But I do think you should continue your search and try to contact your brother, in one way or another.

Everyone commenting has their stories and everyone's history and personality are different. I think that you need to do what you feel in your heart is right.

You know, some people have commented on whether or not your brother even knows he's adopted and how this contact will affect him if he's not. Maybe I'm harsh, but I believe that he SHOULD know - that everyone should know their history. And if you're the one to tell him, so be it. He has the right to know and decide if he wants to know his family. So, as long as you're willing to let him make that decision once contact has been made, I think you should go for it.

Yes, this is long-winded, but I've been reading the comments for the last few days and finally decided I needed to post.

Good luck with your search!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous LAVANDULA said...

oh catherine that is wonderful that you have a name to find your brother.and you are right not to publish it here as it is a sensitive and private issue.good luck and hopefully he will be open to meeting and having a relationship with you.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Aurelia said...

You mentioned on twitter that some of the comments have been difficult and I wanted to come here to support you and just to say, that you should search for him and make contact, because he may not have access to the info to find you and it may be very difficult for him. And although many adoptees tell their families that they don't want to know who their birth parents are--all of those same people privately say that they do want to search.

That said, once you do make contact, you have to respect his boundaries. He may have some issues and need some time to process them. I care about my birth mom, but she has overwhelmed me with her disrespect for my feelings. She literally just wants to run me over and consume me....which is very sad. But I'm still glad I met her because one way or the other at least I know what happened.

But it is never unethical to contact a birth parent or a child given up and i have no idea why anyone would ever say that! Insecurity perhaps? Frankly, he is an adult, and can make his own choices.

Anyway, please know that there are lots and lots of adoption trolls out in the blogosphere, some so vicious that many adoptees I know, never ever blog about how they really feel. They have just been attacked too many times. Same for birth moms. So it's very important that keep a thick skin on this issues if you intend on blogging about it.

Take care, and if you ever need anything, just email or dm me on twitter.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Oh, Catharine, I'm so glad you're one step closer in your journey!

Now is the tricky part. What to say and how to say it? No clue. It will be much harder to talk to the one who actually is HIM rather than the ones who aren't.

Maybe for the ones on facebook you could do a generalized letter or something like "I'm looking for a man by this name who could have possibly been adopted in (insert date here)." and so on.

It will be hard, but I love hearing about it, because as you know I just finished a journey almost the same.

But yes, keeping his name off is a good idea. Letting close friends in on it isn't.

Kat

11:51 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

My cousins found their younger brother who was put up for adoption many, many years ago. They have argued ever since over whether to approach him or not, whether to let him know who they are. One really wants to. The other wants to let him have his own life, thinking it's better he not know how different theirs was from his. Adoption is indeed a strange thing. I don't know what to tell you.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Avalon said...

Catherine,

The biggest difference between the comparison to my story and yours?
I don't have another interested party in my family who has a greater stake in find vs leave alone. If I go about searching for my brother, it would be because I chose to, not because I am doing it for someone else.

If you were to follow that same train of thinking, then, in fact, you are finding your brother for you. Not your mother. And that takes a bit of her story, her control, away from her.

If it was my Mom who was searching, I would help as best I could to find the pertinent info, and then back away and allow her to decide what to do with it. If she trusts me, she knows that I will be there to support her in whatever she decides to do, or not do with that information.


I don't fault you for having an interest in finding your brother. That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say. And I do respect the fact that you are trying to help your Mom in any way you can. But ultimately, this was your Mom's story with her baby for many years before it ever became intertwined with your story.

I honestly don't mean to appear dismissive of what you feel is important. I just worry that the story has somehow been morphed from " my Mom has sometimes thought about finding him, but never decided to pursue it"
to
" I will find him for her".

To me, there is a vast difference.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous alice said...

I just wanted to chime in - I am completely dismayed that you were even considering publishing this man's name on your blog.

From what I understand, you have his name - you haven't located him through a mutual adoption find. This means there is a very very very real possibility that this man does not even know he was adopted, or has absolutely zero desire to 'connect' with you, your mother, or anyone in your family.

You could be opening up a festering can of worms here. I am assuming that you have read stories of adoption reunions that have not gone well at all.

Publishing his name would be an incredible invasion of his privacy (not to mention anyone else who shares his name). I understand that you use your blog to be very open and honest about what is going on your life, but this is someone else's life. Someone you have never met, don't know, and are only connected by biology.

I think that this search you are doing is intensely private, and it has the potential to cause serious damage in not only your life, but his life, your family's life....I'm not so sure if discussing this in such a public way is such a good idea, at all. Sometimes it is way better to write about something after the proverbial dust has settled.

And yes, my life has been negatively affected by a "well-meaning" adoption search.... some mysteries are better left unsolved, and telling the tale of this story unfolding (though gripping, I'm sure, to regular readers) is incredibly disrespectful to this man who is biologically related to you, but is certainly not your brother, yet. (It may turn out very well, but I implore you to please consider the privacy of this man. Not everyone wants to live their life in blogland!)

2:15 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Avalon - she asked me to look for her. Please trust that there are hours and hours of conversation that go on between my mom and I about this issue, and that there is much to this story that I don't lay bare on the blog.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Alice - I considered publishing his name briefly, fleetingly. And decided against it, for all the reasons that everyone has reviewed here.

The search itself is private. I have no intention of revealing anything about this man, if I do indeed ever learn anything other than his name. My own experience of the search itself, however, and how it bears upon my relationship with my mother and my understanding of family - this is my own story (and my mother's, for which I have permission) to tell.

And I am well, well aware the risks. I think about this constantly. I don't share all of my thoughts about it, but I think about it *constantly*, from every angle. To say that I am proceeding with caution is an understatement.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I think that you are making a well thought out choice. There is no way to know his reaction, but your path seems well intentioned and well thought out.

Best of luck to you, your mom and the unnamed, unknown brother. I hope that he has been wondering about the mother you share, and if he has siblings.

Life is not always Hallmark moments, but they do happen. I hope they happen to your family.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Mama G said...

I would contact him in writing. I'd suggest making sure the letter is more factual and less emotional - just in case he's not ready. Share with him that he has two half sisters, perhaps some general information about his birth mom, and let him know how to reach you.

And as some of the other comments have indicated, not all of these meetings have happy endings so I would only caution you to make sure your expectations aren't set too high so as to keep from disappointment.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"The search itself is private. I have no intention of revealing anything about this man, if I do indeed ever learn anything other than his name. My own experience of the search itself, however, and how it bears upon my relationship with my mother and my understanding of family - this is my own story (and my mother's, for which I have permission) to tell."

I don't think the above distinction is at all as clear cut
as you seem to think it is. Your search for him (how you feel about it, how your mother feels about it) is also something he might well regard as 'his story' I am afraid. Consequently, I am worried for you and what blogging will do for your potential future relationship with your brother.

I hope this doesn't fall into the category of a 'mean comment' - I love to write and I do understand the way it can be used to process feelings and to work through something. It's just that the longer I read blogs, the more I think the potential consequences of writing about real life events in a public forum can be very serious indeed.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Elisabeth,

That's potentially true of any relationship for a writer - children, spouses, parents, co-workers, neighbors, passers-by. I absolutely adhere to the principle that permission is needed before I tell anyone else's story. But I need to draw the line somewhere, I need to be able to say, here is where someone else's story ends and mine begins, otherwise I have no room to move. Of course it's not clear cut. But I have to make a choice. Some might believe that the only reasonable choice is to write nothing that touches upon the lives of others. I happen to not believe that.

I'm a memoirist of sorts. Whether I write here or in a magazine or in a book, it makes no difference: it's what I do. That carries risks, obviously, which is why I proceed carefully when I write about things that involve other people. But carefully is the best that I can do. To stop writing stories that involve other people would mean that I would have to stop writing entirely.

So, I've made my call, and my call is this: that it's reasonable to regard my mother's experience as *her* story, and my feelings and ideas about it, as well as my feelings and ideas about the process of searching - the person being searched for here remains only a spectre, not even a name - are my own. I would hope that if he and I ever connect, he would understand that. The possibility that he might not is a risk that I've decided to take - it's a risk that I take with writing about my children (which is miles and away more transgressive of the boundaries between 'owned' stories) and so I've already made my peace with it.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

Catherine I've been keeping up with the comments on this post, because I find your journey fascinating, and because I am genuinely interested in hearing all sides of this debate.

The more I think about it, the more strongly I feel that it is no one's right but your half brother's to initiate contact or to search out his biological family, and that at most, you and your mother should leave letters at agencies designed to initiate this contact.

And yes, despite what I genuinely believe to be your very best intentions and desires, I believe it is unethical to violate your half-brother's privacy by way of direct contact.

I disagree with the notion that you are your mother's third party, as you are also a member of his biological family, and also emotionally invested in the outcome. If you do end up at a point where you are able to contact your half-brother, I strongly suggest that you do so by way of an unrelated third party, perhaps even a lawyer.

I know you're in Canada, and adoption laws are different, but in the U.S., unless it is a case of open adoption, contact with the biological family is designed to be strictly at the discretion of the adopted party.

And Catherine, I just want to reiterate that your motivations and desires are not suspect to me. I believe that even if we disagree on this (and I believe we do), and you go forward with making contact with your brother, you will do so with sensitivity and caution.

I wish your family the very best in this process.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

Miss Grace - There is a distinction between unethical intrusion into a person's life, and contacting a person, for any reason. Any form of contact with anyone else, for any reason, is an invitation to discourse, which said person may or may not reciprocate. It is not unethical to initiate contact - it would be unethical to pester and bother and browbeat and attempt to emotionally blackmail a person into a response not of their choosing.

Just because adoption is fraught with so many strong emotions, does not mean that the ADULT adoptees should not ever be contacted. I completely agree that minor adopted children should not be contacted except through their guardians, but I do not believe that we have the same strict burden of care with adults. I think that regular social mores should apply, in that people should be respectful of the others wishes, feelings, etc. It should be safe to assume that as a person grows a couple decades into adulthood, that that person is fully capable of saying no, or not now, or I am so glad you took the time to check on me, but I'll get back to you when I am ready. And it is safe to assume that the adult initiating the contact will accept the stated wishes.

(I also don't think that older adults are in the same category as 21 year old children. At 21, many of us were still in that precarious blend of adult responsibilities, and mulch of childlike and adult emotional reactions to the adult world, all at once.)

To say that searching for an adopted family member is unethical seems far too strong, and very harsh. I am curious as to why you make such a strong statement... In my family, the fact that my grandfather's two oldest children were adopted out was due to a very sad set of circumstances. There was nothing black or white about the choice, indeed there was not a real choice, to give these girls to other homes. They have always been acknowledged as family, even when they were not present, even when we didn't know if they were alive or not. If they hadn't found us, we would have indeed found them. Even if just to know that they were well, or where their graves were.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"Some might believe that the only reasonable choice is to write nothing that touches upon the lives of others. I happen to not believe that."

I don't believe that either, I promise (despite my own recent 'to blog or not to blog angst' :-)). I think we just draw the lines between our stories and other people's stories in slightly different places and define risky categories of people to blog about somewhat differently. I suppose all I was saying was I hope your brother shares your views.

By way of background, I considered adopting (am still considering it actually) and so I've spent a lot of time lurking on the blogs of adult adoptees - and some birth parents too. Their blogs often contain intense emotion and lots of confusion and don't make for comfortable reading - particularly for a potential adopter.

Consequently, whilst intimate potraits of children's lives on the internet give me some pause for thought, I think any aspect of an adoption reunion story on the internet not written by the adoptee gives me even greater pause for thought.

It sounds like you've thought about your decision on this issue very carefully though and I wish you the best of luck with it.

(BTW, lurking in your comments box and angsting about the nature of blogging in general is really a back handed compliment to you. Well written blogs create this angst for me because of the conflict between liking the intimate potrait painted by the writer and my personal worry over privacy issues. Whilst the solution to the privacy issues seem simple re the mediocre blogger (ie *please* just hit delete! ;-)), it doesn't in your case. Hope that makes sense...:-))

Take care.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"Some might believe that the only reasonable choice is to write nothing that touches upon the lives of others. I happen to not believe that."

I don't believe that either, I promise (despite my own recent 'to blog or not to blog angst' :-)). I think we just draw the lines between our stories and other people's stories in slightly different places and define risky categories of people to blog about somewhat differently. I suppose all I was saying was I hope your brother shares your views.

By way of background, I considered adopting (am still considering it actually) and so I've spent a lot of time lurking on the blogs of adult adoptees - and some birth parents too. Their blogs often contain intense emotion and lots of confusion and don't make for comfortable reading - particularly for a potential adopter.

Consequently, whilst intimate potraits of children's lives on the internet give me some pause for thought, I think any aspect of an adoption reunion story on the internet not written by the adoptee gives me even greater pause for thought.

It sounds like you've thought about your decision on this issue very carefully though and I wish you the best of luck with it.

(BTW, lurking in your comments box and angsting about the nature of blogging in general is really a back handed compliment to you. Well written blogs create this angst for me because of the conflict between liking the intimate potrait painted by the writer and my personal worry over privacy issues. Whilst the solution to the privacy issues seem simple re the mediocre blogger (ie *please* just hit delete! ;-)), it doesn't in your case. Hope that makes sense...:-))

Take care.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Elisabeth - I appreciate you sharing your angst. It helps me to work through my own ;)

3:21 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

For what it's worth, I don't think you are wrong in searching him out. Two of my brother-in-laws are adopted...one knows his birth family and sees him regularly. The other doesn't, but I think if they ever searched him out (once he was an adult - he's only 5 right now) no one would be offended, especially not if it was a sibling.

It's a natural curiosity, to want to know your siblings. I would tread carefully in case he didn't *know* he was adopted but I can tell you, if I was adopted and my birth siblings found me, I'd want to know it.

Besides...maybe he IS making the search but can't find you, or doesn't know enough TO find you.

I also disagree that you are taking away from your mother by looking for him. Why can't this be "your thing" too?

8:38 PM  
Blogger mrs. r said...

whaaaaaat? people were mean to you? why is it selfish to want to know your biology?

as an adoptive mother, i love that you are on a quest to find him to offer him more people to love him.

this is exactly why i love open adoption so much. so grateful. i know that my oldest (2 yrs old) has 4 siblings out there and that they are all about the same age--give or take a few months. (holy fertile 6 months for his birth father. we wish we had that kind of sperm power at r house. lol.)

because we write to my 2 year old's birth father in prison, we have learned their names and where they live and their mothers' names. they each have a different mother. he doesn't have a relationship with any of them, but he has shared what he knows because he knows that my (our) son will want to know. bless him. (under that gansta' attitude, he really is a sweetheart that loves "one tree hill." darling, right?)

i want to have a relationship with these people--all of them, especially with these children.

why? because were i in your shoes, or in my oldest son's shoes, i would desperately want to know my siblings, half siblings, biology, family ...whatever you want to call them.

i think you feel a craving to do this because IT IS RIGHT. it's not like you are forcing him to have a relationship, he can say no ...but i doubt he will. it's natural to want to seek out your family.

can't wait to watch this journey unfold.

besos and suerte.

kudos to the adoption world for moving towards open adoption 10ish years ago. i don't know if i could have closed adoptions. much, much love and repsect to the members of the adoption triad who did/do.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Laurie/MobileMommy said...

I think you definitely should not publish the name of the man who is your brother on your blog. You are right - it is your story, not his, not unless he chooses to claim it as part of his if you find him. I know too many people who are so private and would dislike having such a thing displayed too publicly.

As for first contact, I think email/letter/even facebook are good choices if possible. People need time to absorb such news - and interestingly this happened to my DH recently. He was contacted on FB by someone who is likely his half-brother. He appreciated having the chance to respond in his own time, a phone call would have been difficult for him.

Good luck in your search.

11:24 AM  
Blogger The Kellys said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I was adopted when I was born, and I'm very lucky to now know my biological mom and my half brothers.

Adoption is a beautiful thing and deciding to find someone is a seriously personal choice. I weighed the pros and cons...what I would feel like if I never tried against how I would feel if I was rejected. I decided I had to try. Like I said, I was lucky.

Good luck!!! We are all anxious to hear a happy ending to your story!

(A link to my adoption story, which includes the adoption story of my friends: http://ok-state-kellys.blogspot.com/2008/10/when-its-just-meant-to-be.html)

1:46 PM  
Blogger Silicon Valley Diva said...

oh gosh, in a small way I can relate. I also have a family member (let's just say a VERY close relative--or at least he was at one time). He too changed his name, his life. You are very fortunate you found out your brother's new name.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't harbor a similar fantasy--throwing this person's birth name out there. Of course, I don't though. I don't wish to cause pain to my mother. And, I figure if he really really wants to find me, he will, I guess.

Anyhow, you and your mother have my deepest sympathies. I would suggest, go for it. Go look for him. Good luck

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a half-sister I have never met. My father didn't meet her until she was 19. He'd left his country before she was born, and her birth mother disappeared. This half-sister I never met found him through the obituary he posted of his father. She never knew she herself had been searched for.

I still haven't met her, as she is in a foreign country. I don't have a burning desire to meet her either, as I have many half-siblings and am not close to any of them. I grew up close to my full siblings, and they are my family.

But I also didn't inherit my father's longing for her, since my parents divorced when I was young and he returned to his country. I learned to live without my father, and so missing a sibling I never met never was an issue when life becomes about missing your parent.

I think that you should post his name. Unless he has an extremely unique name, it is likely that many people have his name (http://howmanyofme.com). You would not be disrupting his life because if he didn't want to be found, he could simply deny that he was the right "John Doe" you were searching for.

On the other hand, like my half-sister, he may not know anyone is searching for him. If he sees his name, he can choose to contact you. He can choose to ignore you. He can choose to disrupt his life. The internet is the most powerful tool you have to find him, and whether you post his name or not, you will disrupt his life if you ever do contact him.

If someone with the same name gets contacted about this, if it isn't him, it would only be a minor annoyance at worst, well wishes to find who you're looking for at best. If your true half-brother does get notified by your countless internet detectives, he has forewarning and won't be blindsided by a call one day. He can read the backstory, be moved, recognize himself in a story, decide he wants answers too. He can then choose to contact you first, what to say, or he can even prepare a statement for you saying he doesn't want to be contacted.

No matter what you do, if you find him his life will be altered. The only difference in using the internet will be whether you find him at all and how quickly it will happen.

4:44 AM  

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