My father has a sibling he never knew about
August 18, 2011 11:53 PM Subscribe
Should I tell my father that he has a sibling who was given up for adoption?
posted by goofyfoot to human relations (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Shortly before my grandmother died a couple years ago, she told her other granddaughter, A., that she’d become pregnant in her early twenties and had given the child up for adoption. The news was a shock to A., and to me – both of us were very close to Grandma, and she hadn’t held back about other incidents in her life that might seem as surprising as this one.
A. waited to tell me until she could do so in person, which she did last week.
The only way my father will hear about this is from me.
A. and I are aware that this is not an unusual story for the times Grandma lived in, except perhaps for the fact that the adoptive parent was celebrated enough for us to find details about the child. (Because the child was adopted by a mildly celebrated person, I've found that s/he seems to have been a loved child and grew into a successful person. I don't know if this person is still living.) My father will not be able to see it in that dispassionate a light – I can’t either. I loved my grandmother and the pain she must have gone through saddens me. But for my father, it must mean even more.
Do I tell him? It is his business, his mother, and this may throw some light on her character. But he is an elderly man, an emotional man, with regrets about his own life. I don’t want to increase his burden. And this information has no practical application to his life.
There’s no one in the family I can consult about this – Dad’s something of a recluse and deals almost exclusively with me. I have a brother, but he’s not helpful about anything to do with emotions and has a tense relationship with his father. I may discuss it with him anyway, but not yet.
Surely other people have been through this. Can anyone shed some light? I want to consider everything I can, and right now I’m going in circles.