Contacting A Birth Parent

QUESTION

I need to know whether I should attempt to contact my birth father, age 54, and half brothers. I am 37 years old. We have never met but they all know about me. The last time my birth father had contact with me was when I was 2 years old. I recently located one of my half brothers and he and his family live near my home.

My maternal grandmother raised me, from birth. My birth mother spoke with my birth father occasionally during my life. Her last contact with him was in the year 2000. He resides close to me. I have done research and know their addresses.

I would just like to see if I look like them or if we have any common interests. I am gay and I believe that both brothers are heterosexual.

I am very stable, professionally successful and self-reliant. I am fearful of rejection. I have always felt a sense of rejection deep inside my soul although I was always loved and had a good childhood.

ANSWER

JILL:
That is a lot of people to try and connect with and will at best be draining. You need to lay a strong emotionally foundation. So first let’s take care of you.
1. Where your father is concerned your feelings of rejection are understandable, as is your fear of possible further rejection from your father if you meet him. The best place to start is just being in the truth of those two feelings. Give yourself permission to feel them. Then breathe a deep cleansing breath as you take them in.
2. Take time to be proud of the “stable and professionally successful and self reliant person that you are today”. That will be the inner reserve that you will need to draw on.
3. Accept the fact that your desire to meet your father & half brothers is not an act of disloyalty to those who gave you a loving childhood.

One or all of these initial steps may take the support of good friends and if you have a partner share your thoughts with him. Consider support groups or a counselor, the important thing is that you don’t make any move to contact your father until you are feeling as whole and strong as possible.

4. When you feel ready to proceed (and there is no rush) you need to honestly review why you want to meet them. What are your expectations? I respect that you wrote “I would just like to see if I look like them or if we have any common interests.” On an intellectual level those words are true and genuine but meeting them is going to arouse emotions and you need to know how to deal with them. Is there a desire to reunite and stay connected on a regular basis? You need to be honest with yourself so that you can cope and so that the loving people who are in your life now know how they can best support you.

Only after this mental inventory will you be able to decide if you should contact them. If you choose to proceed, you might consider phoning first to see if they want to meet. Appearing on someone’s door step can be a shock to the person answering the door and their reaction might not be the best one. A phone call might be a better way to ease into a conversation. If you can only contact them in person be prepared for their reaction and don’t push. Have a card with your contact information on it and hand it to them with a “Get in touch with me if you want to.”

I wish you luck on this journey and hope that your father and half brothers want to get to know the person that you are.

VICKI:
Jill answered your question perfectly, I would like to talk about the deep sense of rejection that you feel within.

It is normal for a child to question the reasons their parent(s) are not in their life. Most children blame themselves deep down and assume that there is something wrong with them. They then internalize a mental list of all they feel is wrong with them. As an adult you know that you’re not responsible for their actions and given the age of your father I can only assume that they were too young and not responsible enough to look after a child.

The fear you have of rejection is that mental list from childhood that consciously or unconsciously still plays in your mind. To overcome this you must become aware of when you think these thoughts and when you have one you must replace it with a positive and true statement. Remember that these thoughts were your childhood thoughts, which were founded on childhood insecurities. They are not your truth and they do not serve you in adulthood.

My heart is with you as you make this important decision..

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3 Responses

  1. Hello. My name is Jocelyn. I made contact with my birth father last year in September. At first he seemed like he wanted a relationship with me. We would email every couple of weeks. Then I asked him to meet me. At first he was ok with it. For the last 7 months hes been putting it off. Recently he has started to not respond to my emails. I am so confused and not at all sure where I stand. I was wondering if there was anyone out there who could give me a outlook on what he might be thinking.

  2. Hi Jocelyn,

    The hard part is that there really is no way to know what someone else is thinking unless they tell you honestly. Yet there is a way to perceive your father’s behavior that may help.

    What you need to really understand is that all people’s behavior is dependent on their beliefs and insecurities, mostly insecurities. Whether or not he’s afraid of rejection from you, you judging him, his life changing with you in it, or whatever his truth is – his reactions are because of himself and not about you.

    Please don’t consider it a rejection from him because there’s something HE just can’t handle and it’s not about you. So keep your chin up high – you’ve done nothing wrong.

    All the best to you
    Vicki

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