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What to say to a dad you never knew

brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
edited October 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
On Christmas Eve when I was 16 years old my cousin let slip that I was adopted. I guess when her parents gave her the news that she was adopted as well, they told her I was too to soften the blow. Either way, I found out and it was an emotionally devastating night. I'm now 25 years old and still think about it from time to time.

Fast forward to the present, I'm now 25 and have 6 year old and a 6 month old sons. I guess after the birth of my youngest son I expressed some curiosity. Just for the fun of it my wife decided to search for this person online. We found him (quite easily in fact) and just saved his number and forgot about it. My wife calls me at work today and says "Brando, I called someone today."

Long story short she called him; or rather his wife. She asked his wife if he was around 45 and lived in the Maryland area in the 80's both answers to these questions were 'yes'. His wife is now "discussing" things with her husband and will call back at some point tonight.

After getting over the initial shock and anger (I think I should have been the one to make this decision), the same question keeps repeating in my mind over and over again. What do I say? And I have no idea how to begin to answer this question. Has anyone else here been through anything similar? It would be a great help if I could have some advice.

brandotheninjamaster on

Posts

  • SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm not adopted, but a good friend of mine is. He's about 30 something, and met up with his dad for the first time. Things went well considering that my friend is an androgynous musician with very... un-conservative taste and we're right in the middle of Mississippi.

    They started things out with some questions. His dad denied any possibility of it and, IIRC, my friend asked a few more questions, asked him to think about it and remember what he can, and that he'll call him back in a few days. After that, they met, hung out for a minute. Guy still denied it for a bit, but eventually came around.

    So, it'll probably be a slow process. I'd imagine you would want to take similar steps. Ask questions, let them think about it, and slowly make your way into the heavier stuff.

    Sheep on
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  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well, look, they decided to give you up for adoption for whatever reason - honestly, that would be my first question: why? Then I would try to understand their point of view while not getting too emotional. You need to tell yourself that it wasn't YOU they were giving up, or rather, the idea of you, it was a baby. And honestly, they probably meant it for the best. Just go into it with an open mind and don't expect too much (so your expectations are not shot to hell if it goes badly).

    1ddqd on
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    As a fellow Adoptee I got to say, it looks like you kind of got screwed in several ways. I can't imagine how it would feel for your parents to have hidden the fact that you were adopted from you for 16 years. I think you also have a right to be angry at your wife for contacting him. It should be your decision and if you are not comfortable with it right now do not feel like you have to go through with the meeting.
    I have never met either of my birth parents. I have considered checking as I know at least my birth moms mom has expressed interest and I once sent her a very general letter through the agency that did not reveal much personal information. My brother (also adopted) met his birth father once, they hung out a couple of times but they haven't seen eachother in years.
    I wish I could tell you what you should say. I honestly don't know what I would say to my birth parents. I do not have anything I really feel like I need to say either though. I am glad that they put my up for adoption instead of terminating the pregnancy, I can understand that it was probably a very hard decision and are thankful to them for what they did. I probably would try to get some medical history as I pretty much have none now. Just don't go into the situation if you are not comfortable with it and don't go in expecting to much.

    Neaden on
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  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If your adoptive parents have always done right by you I don't see the reason to talk to this other dude. They are the parents that raised you so they are the parents that matter. I think the jury is in on nature vs nurture and it has gone more to the second.

    I wouldn't give too much weight to who your biological parents are.

    JebusUD on
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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    A lot of us who come from unbroken homes with our biological parents still never really knew our fathers. My advice would be to try and get to know him as a person and let him get to know you--don't just focus on the why and how could you questions, although I'm sure you have a natural and healthy curiousity about that.

    Really, though, I only have one piece of advice I'm sure you should take: forgive your wife. Don't just get over it--forgive her. Yes, you have a valid opinion if you think you should have been the one to initaite it all, but she probably had her own reasons for doing what she did. She probably mishandled it, but all the same, make sure you forgive her.

    I only mention it because I can understand you feeling shocked and angry because this is a huge deal--something potentially big enough to sour a marriage. Don't let it.

    NINJA EDIT IN CASE YOU READ THIS AGAIN:

    It's not worth another post to mention it, but so many other people have said they're not sure if there's a good reason to go talk to him that I should probably mention that at the very least, getting a family medical history for yourself and your children is a completely responsible thing to do as a parent.

    SammyF on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Perhaps starting with questions of his family and background is a neutral place to start?

    Improvolone on
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  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I probably should have clarified, I was in a rush when I was writing the OP. I put "adopted" but I meant to say half-adopted. My mother raised me, but before I was born the guy in question signed over all rights and left. Then my current dad formally adopted me.

    That was how my parents were able to keep it secret for so long.

    I apologize for that oversight in my OP.

    brandotheninjamaster on
  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Perhaps starting with questions of his family and background is a neutral place to start?

    Yea, I was thinking some general health questions. Heart attacks, diabetes, craziness, etc. Just so I know what I have a genetic predisposition to.

    brandotheninjamaster on
  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    SammyF wrote: »
    Really, though, I only have one piece of advice I'm sure you should take: forgive your wife. Don't just get over it--forgive her. Yes, you have a valid opinion if you think you should have been the one to initaite it all, but she probably had her own reasons for doing what she did. She probably mishandled it, but all the same, make sure you forgive her.

    I already have. I can't stay mad at her no matter how hard I try. I just let her know that I understood that she had the noblest of intentions, but I should have been the one to make that decision, and that I just don't know what to say or do when it comes to my mystery dad.

    brandotheninjamaster on
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2008
    I probably should have clarified, I was in a rush when I was writing the OP. I put "adopted" but I meant to say half-adopted. My mother raised me, but before I was born the guy in question signed over all rights and left. Then my current dad formally adopted me.

    That was how my parents were able to keep it secret for so long.

    I apologize for that oversight in my OP.

    Well that changes things then, since you weren't really adopted, since you still had your mom. If your stepdad hadn't of adopted you he would have no legal bearing over you.

    Just take it slow. My stepdad reconnected with his dad (tl;dr, my stepdad's mom is the fucking devil), started with a long distance call, he eventually came to visit once but they just mostly talk on the phone still.

    FyreWulff on
  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I'm not adopted, but a friend of mine is and he just found his birth parents a few years ago. For the experience he related to me, you should approach the situation carefully. He found his mother first, who told him the story about how she got pregnant and his father didn't want to marry her or get involved, so she gave him up for adoption since she was living alone in a trailer and wanted him to have a better life. He contacted his father who didn't really want to get involved now either as he had a family and didn't want to disrupt anything. Against his father's wishes, he contacted one of his half-sisters. They've hung out together, and she told him that the reason he likely doesn't want to get involved is because her mother/his wife is extremely religious and conservative, and her sister is but only slightly less (plus, her sister was getting married, and something like this coming out could have severely disrupted any family plan). I don't know if he's tried to contact his father again, but his half-sister said that she would talk to their father privately on my friend's behalf.

    Basically, I think your wife made a huge mistake by talking to his wife. It should have been kept between you and your father until you two decided how best to break the news. However, hindsight is 20/20. While I sympathize with your situation, also keep in mind that 25 years have gone by and lives went on. He may have a family now that he doesn't want to disrupt. Just keep that in mind, that it may not necessarily be anything against you, now a grown man who he has never met. At this point it sounds like damage control is what's going to be needed.

    Dalboz on
  • EriosErios Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I was adopted, my father told me in a rage when I was six.

    I found out I have a biological brother at nineteen and met my birth father at 21. I was lucky in that he was a lot like me, so we mostly filled up the time with legal discourse, Herodotus vs. Thucydides and comparisons of the quality of pickup lines. As others have said, a medical history is great to have. Also, just be open and honest about who you are, if only to satisfy his curiosity, but try and get that from him first. Be aware, this is hard for him too, but it is harder for you, so you should have your needs taken care of more. I have to say, be ready to be disappointed. At some level, we all like the fantasy that our birth father is Jor-El; fact is, he isn't and you may share some of his failings. Conversely, you may not and you can see yourself as a true improvement, which can be satisfying.

    Erios on
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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Perhaps starting with questions of his family and background is a neutral place to start?
    Yea, I was thinking some general health questions. Heart attacks, diabetes, craziness, etc. Just so I know what I have a genetic predisposition to.
    Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness are probably the biggies you want to hit (in addition to any genetic diseases, like sickle cell anemia or Huntington's).

    Thanatos on
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Perhaps starting with questions of his family and background is a neutral place to start?
    Yea, I was thinking some general health questions. Heart attacks, diabetes, craziness, etc. Just so I know what I have a genetic predisposition to.
    Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness are probably the biggies you want to hit (in addition to any genetic diseases, like sickle cell anemia or Huntington's).

    Yes, those are very pragmatic but potentially crucial things to ask him.

    Besides that, I guess the question is what do you want to get out of meeting him? Do you have burning issues to resolve or is it just curiosity or a general desire just to know who your biological farther is?

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Well, last night came and past and there was no phone call. I can't really say that I'm disappointed; in fact I'm kind of relieved. I wouldn't want to cause his life to go into chaos, but from what my wife did it probably already has. Or it could be that he needs more time to phrase what he has to say to me.

    Edit: BTW just wanted to say thank you all for posting.

    brandotheninjamaster on
  • jhunter46jhunter46 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    From what it sounds like, you've got a pretty decent life. Wife, two kids and all. If your parents were good to you, and you were happy growing up, then maybe your biological dad/parents did the right thing when they did it.

    I'm sure there could be some resentment there, but maybe it was for the best in the long run.

    jhunter46 on
  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Slight Update:

    Well, he called today. My wife was the one who talked to him, since I was at work. He basically said that he didn't have the courage to call me the other nights and finally summoned the fortitude to call me. My wife said she had an hour long conversation with him about me and what I do and he is excited to meet me. He said that he will be in the area next Sunday so that will give me a little time to prepare I guess. I'm still nervous as hell though.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I don't think it requires saying, but if you don't want to meet him you don't have to.

    As an adopted child, I wish you the best.

    The Crowing One on
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  • amberwamberw Registered User new member
    I was curious as to how this worked out its been some years...did u make contact? Do u recommend meeting up I pretty much have the same situation as you and I have met up with him, but now I'm curious what's next?? We had great conversation and i enjoyed his company but I feel like it's all at a standstill.. any advice :)

This discussion has been closed.