Parental Secrets

Today is the day I would normally pull an excerpt from a book I love and share it with all of you.  However, I got some news I never would have expected to hear in my life on Saturday night, and I can’t seem to tell enough people about it, thus this blog entry.  I hope to get back on track later this week with other posts.

Here’s the bombshell news:  I have another sister I never knew about!  This is the first I’m hearing about my father having had another daughter besides the sister I grew up with, and the daughter he had with his second wife.

My family history is a bit complex, so first, a quick background.  My parents split when I was three and my sister, a year and a half old.  After the split, my sister and I lived with my mother for a year and a half or so, then we were sent to live with my father.  My father’s girlfriend had two sons, one my age, one three years older than me, so we became a blended family of four children, ages 3, 5, 5, and 8.  Three years later, my father and my step-mother had another child, so now we were five children, ages baby, 6, 8, 8, and 11.  When I was ten, my sister and I were sent to live with my mother again because my father was leaving my stepmother.  We had a hard time maintaining contact with my half-sister, who was 2 when we left, and my ex-step-brothers.  Periodically, I’d reconnect with them, but as the years have passed, they are less and less open to maintaining communication with me.  We lived through some hard times, which perhaps I’ll write about in the future, but suffice it to say it was a pain-filled period for all of us, and my father abandoned everyone at that time.

Saturday night, the mother of my half-sister told me she had been contacted by a daughter that she and my father had given up for adoption just before I came to live with them.  I had absolutely no idea they had another daughter.  My new half-sister had contacted her birth mother and asked if any of her newly discovered five siblings would communicate with her online.  She is five years younger than me and lives in England, and that’s about as much as I know.  Of course, I said I’d be happy to communicate with her – the ridiculous drama of our family life back then was insane, but regardless, if I can do anything to satisfy the curiosity of someone who has been adopted and clearly has a strong desire to learn about her birth family, I absolutely want to help.

This has raised a number of interesting conversations among my friends, my sister, and a few of my relatives on my mom’s side of the family.  Everyone is shocked to know I have another sister – personally my mind has been spinning, but somehow spinning with lots of emptiness – it’s hard to think about concrete things when you have a bombshell like that dropped on you.  I have yet to decide whether I’m going to talk to my father about the situation.  Many people have expressed shock that he never told me or my sister about this other daughter, but that doesn’t actually shock me at all.  Whatever the circumstances were that they chose to put this baby up for adoption, the decision was certainly theirs to make, and I don’t believe they had any  obligation to tell the rest of us kids.  I’m curious what perspectives others have, as I struggle with talking to my father about this.  I almost see it as an invasion of his privacy.  I’m the only child that has any contact with my father, so if it turns out my new sister intends to contact him, I may be the best suited person to talk to him about it, and if that happens, I will do so.  But, not knowing yet what her perspective is, I’m holding off for the moment.  Needless to say, this has interrupted my ability to think much about anything else.

7 thoughts on “Parental Secrets

  1. Pingback: Update from Spokane « east.bay.writer

  2. Wow, that’s a complicated family history! I thought mine was bad – parents divorced when I was 5 (2 sisters, I am middle child), Dad remarried and had 2 boys, Dad remarried twice since with various step children. Mum remarried 3 times (one step-son and grandson). I divorced first husband and remarried and now have 3 step children AND a step granddaughter (argh!). Good luck with your new half sister and hope it works out for you all. Dads can be difficult to talk with about these subjects – mine is impossible!

  3. Thanks for your reply, Claire. It’s amazing how complicated relationships get with multiple marriages and children from all combinations. So far, my half sister and I have really hit it off, so that’s going great, and I’m really enjoying it. I did have that difficult conversation with my father on Saturday, and it was one of the more tough conversations I’ve ever had to have. Unfortunately, he’s not ready to go back to the place that time represents for him, and I’m going to have to tell my half sister that he doesn’t want to connect. I’m struggling with how to explain that. On one hand, I understand where he’s coming from, and I felt pretty awful dragging him back to such a painful experience, but I’m also concerned about the additional rejection my half sister will now feel. Life is tough, though. Sometimes the only way around these things is through them. Take care!

    • Wow, well done re even starting that conversation with your Dad. Good to even try. He will come round to it when he is ready no doubt, just that may not be for a while. Hope your half sister is okay. How great that you have a new relative to get to know. Where does she live in England?

  4. I hope he does come around to the idea, but I honestly don’t hold out much hope. I have a real fondness for my father, but as a father, he’s stumbled and failed many different times and many different ways. One of the complications is that my new half-sister does have a full sister that was never given up for adoption. My father hasn’t spoken with her in almost 30 years since he and her mother divorced. I imagine part of the hurdle for him would be that in order to come to terms with one, he needs to come to terms with both. Regardless, I am thrilled to be getting to know my new sister. She lives in Whitby at the moment with her adorable 13-month son.

    • Definitely, best of luck. It’s amazing how people can lose themselves in denial for so long. My Dad is similar, but for different reasons. Very shut down emotionally. I think he has only given me one proper hug that I can remember! But I know he loves me, just in his rather strange way. I have learnt not to take any of his odd behaviour personally and this has helped so much. I am glad you have a new sister and hope she can appreciate finding you, if not her father. I don’t know Whitby, is it ‘up North’?! I am from the south of England.

  5. Pingback: Convergence | east.bay.writer

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