Birth Answers

16 Jul

Dear LetterBalm: I was born during a rough patch in my parents’ relationship. They weren’t married, and, two months after I was born, my birth father told my mother that he didn’t want children and that he wanted her to put me up for adoption. She refused, they broke up, and he left our lives for good. I’m now 15, living with my two half-brothers, my mom and her husband, my stepfather. He is really the only dad I’ve ever known, and he’s been wonderful to me. But I can’t get my birth father out of my thoughts. I want to find him and talk with him, but my mom gets really angry when I bring this up. I’m not sure what I should do, even as I know getting in touch with my biological father may cause stress in my family.

–Curious Daughter

Ms. L.B. will go out on a narrow limb here. While she understands the intense desire to know one’s birth parents, she has real misgivings about it. Not every connection between birth parent and child is fruitful. Some attempts roil existing family relationships, some are motivated by selfishness and some are prompted by a determined willfulness in spite of one party not wanting a reunion. Medical history is a solid reason for contact, but sometimes that’s all there should be. Having said all this, the desire for explanations and peace of mind is a powerful impetus. Approach someone – a trusted relative, your school guidance counselor or favorite teacher, your spiritual leader — you believe will understand to sit with you in support as you talk with your mom. Keep calm, know what you’re going to say and understand that she may be incapable of helping you because her pain persists:

Mom, I’ve tried to talk with you before about reaching out to my birth father. I know this hurts you, but I want you to know that this isn’t about you or Greg. Both of you have been wonderful parents to me. But you can’t give me the peace of mind I’m looking for. Only my birth dad can answer the question about why he left my life. I know it’s a big risk – he may not want to see me, he may not be a good person, he may reject me again. But I have to risk getting hurt to find answers, with or without your help. I hope you understand, even if this makes you sad. Please don’t make this any harder than it is. You know I’ll always love you and Greg, and I’ll never allow anyone to come between us.

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