Lost and found: half sibling edition
July 3, 2014 5:19 AM Subscribe
I found out that I have a half brother five years ago. I got curious, then thanks to the internet, I was able to locate him a year ago. We (mom included) have been in touch, and he wants to be a part of our family, which I love as I am an only child raised by a single mom. The catch: He has problems with addiction, the law, and being employed.
posted by hippychick to Human Relations (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
He is a good man deep down. When I first found him, he was circling the drain, living out of a garage. He was given up for adoption by our mom 12 years before I came along. His adoptive family was not a good fit... there was abuse. He has struggled with addiction and the law for 30 years, and has quite a rap sheet. We live on opposite ends of the country; our mother and I have met him once. We traveled to see him, in jail (it was like a movie... plexiglass window, holding up our hands to his hand, crying, etc.) He has never had a violent offense, but has been in and out of jail many times for DUI and possession. He has no job, no home, no family. He has told me more than once that my finding him saved his life. However, I worry that it is too late for him to have a real life, a fresh start.
His release date is in 6 months, and the state in which he lives has taken an interest in his story (reunited with birth family after 47 years). They have spoken with him about being transferred to our state after his release. I know nothing about the logistics, but it will be tricky no doubt. He has written me to see how I feel about this. He didn't contact our mother about it, and I have my guesses as to why: mostly I think I am a safer audience, as I am more of a bystander. I have discussed it with our mother, and she is overwhelmed. She agrees that it makes sense for him to come here, as he has nothing to go back to where he lives. If he stays there, he will likely go right back to his bad habits, and he has acknowledged this.
I have spoken with a therapist, and she is helping me with boundary setting. I pose this conundrum to you because I want to cast a wide net. I know very little about addiction or the possibility of restarting a wasted life at the age of 47. If my half brother is transferred to our state, he will be dependent on our mother and me, in ways I can't even foresee I am sure. I have looked into sober living homes and they cost money. We are not in a position to support him financially, but we want to help as much as possible, and of course make him feel like a part of the family. He is a good man, but very lost. They say that addicts stop maturing mentally; he has the mindset of a 17 year old.
There is a lot more to the story (there always is, right?) but I wanted to focus on this aspect. Do I encourage brother to be transferred, even if it scares me? Our mom is equally nervous, and exhausted from dealing with her dementia-riddled mother. I want to help him, and I want a brother, even if he has problems. But I don't want to sacrifice the life I have worked so hard to build (a good career, a loving husband, a semi-comfortable lifestyle). How do I help him but stay cautious?