After all these years, is it really important to know your dad?

3 08 2012

There’s been a lot of baby fever going around in my family these past several years. Some of my cousins made a head start and are raising toddlers right now while others set another pace. We celebrated my brother’s first born last October, welcoming a stud of a little boy into our family.

I love seeing the changes in people when they bring a child into the world. I’m going to tell you right now, I never pictured my brother as a daddy. Yes he’s responsible, a hard-worker, a devoted husband but a dad? He still acted like a kid inside a 40-something body. But he’s shown me another side that I absolutely adore.

My brother and his son hanging out with an Oriole.

I’ve met so many people in my lifetime that come from diverse walks of life. I do feel lucky to have been raised by two loving people who showed me right from wrong, passed down admirable qualities and worked together to make sure I had a great childhood full of experiences I’ll cherish forever. Some of my friends were raised by both of their parents together while others had separate lives with mom and dad. Some of them never knew their dad and some of them never knew their mom. Some of them knew both of their parents but one of them chose to never be around. Some of them lost a parent or two and had to take care of there own well-being or had another family member step in.

Family is and should be the most important feature of life. For the most part, they will always be around through thick or thin, you can depend on them, you can make mistakes and know that although they may not agree with your actions, they’ll be there by your side. Blood is supposed to be thicker than water, right?

Well does that same rule apply if you were adopted into a family?

I cannot complain one bit about my life. I may not have had designer name clothes and accessories or lived in the biggest mansion in Florida but I had two parents that loved me to death and made sure I never went without necessities. They treated me just like my brother, who was their blood-son and I never saw any difference between us.

My parents explained where I came from the best they could and were always willing to answer any questions I may have. It wasn’t like they knew a lot since it was a private adoption between two families, their lawyers and their doctors. Whatever information they knew of my bio-mom, even though they weren’t technically supposed to know (the names of the families were to be anonymous but the laywers forgot to cover them on some paperwork that my mom had to sign to take me home) they openly shared with me and were available in case I needed to talk.

I grew up not knowing my bio-mom but I had a wonderful mom and dad taking good care of me. They attended every soccer game of mine throughout high school, cheered me on at my cross-country races, applauded me when I won awards for my academics or other activities. They were there for me the first time I was dumped by a stupid boy and when I broke my wrist behaving recklessly on the school bus. They forked over money sending me to camps and putting me through whatever new endeavor I challenged myself with. They helped me with my homework, listened to endless hours of teenage drama and never refused to read any of the stories I wrote. They taught me morals and values and how to treat people, animals and the earth. I never felt I was missing out on anything.

I was in my mid-20s when someone I was closely related to searched for me and eventually found me in a town nearby. This woman contacted my parents and asked their permission to meet me, claiming that she was my biological mother. The message was passed to me and it was completely my decision on whether to pursue this or not. I didn’t HAVE to if I didn’t want to, but this woman would really love to meet me. And I can’t say I was never curious. I’m guilty of performing small internet searches using the name I was given as a child. My friends would always push me to seek my bio-parents out after hearing my story. I never wanted it to be a big deal. I had a family I loved and loved me back just the same.

Thoughts such as, “Do I really need to add more family to my life? Would it be awkward or strange? Would my parents get upset and jealous? Would I be ungrateful by getting to know another woman that knows me as her child?”

It was crazy for a little while. My emotions were a little stone cold, almost in shock or something, keeping at a distance while still all over the place. I was going through a lot of changes in my life that year. Relationships, friendships, sexuality, drinking habits, career moves, etc. I wasn’t sure I was ready to deal with my feelings on that particular subject matter. But I did take her feelings into consideration too. And I arranged to meet her.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what was going through my head. And yes, it was awkward at that Panera Bread downtown with the amazing parents that raised me sitting next to me and the woman that gave birth to me, and let me go to have a better life than she felt like she could provide, sitting across from me. The spotlight was on me and it was blinding.

We exchanged stories and pictures and that day marked the beginning of my relationship with my first blood-relative and bio-mom. It’s a day I’ll never forget. It was a day I was told the story of how I came to be here on this earth. And it was the first time I noticed resemblances between myself and somebody related to me. While my other friends told stories of how they have their father’s eyes and nose and their mother’s hair and hands I had to sit quiet without contributing. A lot of people would say I looked like my parents and we would always smile and say thank you for the compliment.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through the friendship with my bio-mom. She’s an amazing women herself with the biggest heart. It was like she, too, was part of the family I was raised with. I still can’t get over how lucky and blessed I was, and still am.

Since meeting my bio-mom, I’ve also met her mom and her brother and have enjoyed my time getting to know them. Are we this one big happy family? Not really. Do I benefit from having met them and keeping them in my life? Absolutely. We’ve taken the time to get to know each other and although the pace may be slow for some, it seems to be working out for all of us.

I had no idea what to expect when my bio-mom and her family entered my life. It was nice receiving some answers and making what had only been a fantasy illusion of how I came to be, an actual reality. I do feel like this discovery was meant to be. I’m not sure if I’ve changed in any way because of it but it’s definitely a bonus in my eyes.

Now due to the fact that my bio-mom had a bit of an unusual time growing up; she and her brother were raised by a single mom; her brother was hit by a car when he was around 8 and she was 12 which put him in a coma for nearly a year while clinging to life; her mother tended to her brother’s side while waiting for his recovery leaving her to take care of herself while still a kid; she was 13 when she got pregnant and forced to keep it a secret and never talk about me once I was gone; drugs, alcohol, and older boys played a part in the life of this teenager who was starving for some attention and love.

I wasn’t surprised when she told me she wasn’t sure who my father was because her memory had blocked that crazy time in her life. At the time, it didn’t seem to matter that much to me. She was more embarrassed with not knowing or having the recollection to give me an answer to that question. It didn’t matter to me because I already had so many amazing people in my life and felt supremely blessed. Since she never talked about the event to anybody, my bio-dad most likely doesn’t know I exist.

Lately though, things have been coming back to my bio-mom’s memory. Images, people, conversations and certain moments have been sneaking back in. She’s embarrassed to have to figure out “the one” between several different guys, recalling a time in her life filled with darkness and uncertainty. I’m definitely not one to judge nor should be since I haven’t walked a day in her shoes. So she was a little promiscuous as a child, her circumstances were not like other children her age. Her mom did the best she could but was dealt a few tough hands. She was a dreamer and just wanted to feel special. Attention is something children need. She was just trying to get by the best she could. Even though her actions were nothing like what I grew up with, I love her and would never pass any judgment on her.

So, now that I’ve caught you up on things, here’s where I’m at currently. Bio-mom says she would dig deep within herself and do whatever it takes to locate my bio-dad if that’s something I wanted to do. Digging up the past isn’t always the best to do if it’s a time of heartache and pain. I don’t want my bio-mom to go through any more unnecessary strife, especially on behalf of my curiosity. But is knowing who my bio-dad is only for satisfying my curiosity?

I’m struggling with this right now because I don’t know what would be the right thing to do. I don’t want to cause my bio-mom any grief. I don’t know if it really matters whether my bio-dad knows I exist or not. My life is fine and will continue to be fine. I don’t think meeting bio-dad would change anything. I’m in my thirties now, I know that he’s all grown up too. Some of the bio-dad candidates are married and have children or were married and have children. The only way to truly know would be to take a DNA test along with the candidates. Is it worth it? He may want to know me but there’s a chance he may not give a shit. I’m not looking for any handouts, never have, never will. It would be strictly for the purpose of knowing. How important is it to know the people who made you after being raised by people who loved you just as much? Will me interrupting his life hurt him and his family? I’m not expecting some big epiphany if me and bio-dad ever met or for either of our lives to change direction or even be greatly impacted by this. So is there any reason to reveal this information?

As of right now, bio-mom has decided that it may not be the best time for her to pursue this and is concerned that popping in this man’s life may cause more harm than anything. But if I really wanted to know, she would help me. Since I have no idea what the right thing to do is, I’m in search for some answers that will direct me down the right path. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.