Several years after starting my own family, I realized that many of the things I enjoyed doing revolved around family, I scrapbook family photos, not only my own children but photos of my families’ past. There came a point where my parents handed me the "cherished family photo albums".
Going through these photos, I found myself mesmerized with wanting to know the background of the pictures. Where were they taken? Who was in them? What was the occasion for the photo? To my disappointment I discovered I knew little about the subjects of the photos, very little information was written in the albums or even on the back of the photos. Maybe if I did some research on my grandparents’ lives in England there would be a chance I could find out the information I was seeking. And then it began........
Jotting little notes here and there on what information I recalled from the few stories my grandparents, mostly my Grandfather, would tell me as a child. Little notes were all I had to go by. For some unknown reason, my grandparents did not speak much about their lives in England and other then my Grandmother’s mother and Grandfather’s father, even less talk about family. Why was that? Was there a reason they came to the United States that no one knows, not even my father?
Starting with my parents, then going on to my grandparents, I started to develop my family tree. Before I knew it I had over 1,000 names and dates in my list of leaves, as I call them. Most of these are on my mother’s side, researching that part of my roots has been remarkably easy to develop. Unlike my father, my mother is the youngest of 6 children, 8 if you count the step siblings, finding information on this line is like "shooting fish in a barrel."
Then the news of the century, or at least for my family, came and opened my eyes as to why finding the information I was seeking was so difficult. My father was adopted. Could this be the reason my grandparents moved from their home land to America in 1948? To make things more difficult, my father was not aware of the adoption. If he was told of the adoption, how would he feel? Should we tell him of the adoption, his parents’ wish must have been not to tell him as they had not.
After months of questioning, should I search, shouldn’t I? What about his biological family, weren’t they just as much who I am today as the adopted family was? Does the biological family want to be found? Do they want to know about my father now that he’s an adult? Questions started taking over and a new search began.
From the adoption papers I knew the biological mother’s name, however, the biological father’s information only stated deceased, a road block. Start where you know the information, so I started researching the biological mother. Found her birth date, found that she married and had two children. Sadly I also found that she had passed. Of course, now more questions arose. Did the children know they have a half sibling somewhere? If they knew, did they want to meet him? If they didn’t know, would it be too emotional for them and turn away? Wait, I can’t discover the answers to my questions because my father, at this point, was still unaware he was adopted. Did he want to know about is biological family or let it rest?
A short time ago, due to some unforseen circumstances, my father was made aware of his adoption. I believe shock was the emotion he felt the most, but, now he is curious as to whom his biological family is. Because of this, I was given the go-ahead to restart my search. After months of research, sending out feeler inquires, with what seemed to be no luck, I awoke Sunday morning to an email from my father’s half brother. So many emotions came over me, I broke down crying. Reading his email through my tears and then re-reading it to make sure I understood what he was saying.
It seems one of my first inquiry messages had somehow made it’s way to the family. They did not know about my father and was not sure if their father knew about the baby their mother had had before meeting and marrying him. This information took them both by surprise and they had many conversations regarding the somewhat sensational contents of my message. At this time they have elected to keep this information to themselves, between the two siblings, but stated that sometime in the future they may relay the information to the rest of the family.
He continued to say that "their" mother was a wonderful, warm and supportive "Mum" to them both. Like my father’s adopted "Mom", she too was a nurse, which shed some light on how the adoption possibly came to be and that the two "Moms" may have actually known each other.
The "sister" currently has my contact information and things have been left for her to make the decision on if she wants to contact my father. At this time, I think taking things one step at a time is best for all involved, with this sensative information, everyone needs to be at their own comfort level. Leaving things on a positive note, he included a photo of his family which included his wife and two children, wishing my father his best.
Now that the lines of communication have been opened, one day my father may someday speak with his siblings that, for 68 years, he never knew.