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Seeking Guidance on Contacting Potentially Unsuspecting Birth Relatives
Posted: 01 March 2011 09:31 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1

My mother is an adopted child (given up at birth) and seeking to contact her birth relatives. In short, her birth mother ended up marrying someone other than her birth father sometime after my mother was born and raised a family of four children. We have the number (or at least believe we do) of one of her half siblings and want to make contact. In going forward, we acknowledge that the fact that there exists the very real possibility that my mother’s birth mother never made mention to any of her kids about giving a child up for adoption. My mother has asked I make the initial contact and we both want to be sensitive to this reality knowing that it will change the perspective of their mother in some fashion (Potentially negatively or otherwise). At the same time, I want to follow through with my mothers wishes and make this initial contact.

If anyone has any insight, guidance, suggestions (all of the above) as to how to best approach this initial contact and/or other things to be mindful of, it would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

Below is a little more detail on the back story if you care to read on:

Up until her (adoptive) mothers (my grandmother) death in 1999, she never spoke of her adoption much, but mostly out of lack of interest and, as I found out later, respect for her (adoptive) parents.  After the passing of her last parent, she came across her adoption papers.  However, any pertinent names or information about her birth parents were blacked out.  Over the next number of years she had the records released and finally had the name of her birth mother and father including additional details surrounding her adoption.  In short, she was born out of wedlock, the father was likely not aware that he had fathered a child and the mother was giving her up for adoption.

My Mom did a little research about her history but did not show much interest in tracking down her birth family.  I, being intrigued with genealogy in general but most certainly that of my own family, asked my mother if she mind if I do some additional research about her history to which she obliged.  Over time I have done some internet research and discovered that a woman with the same name in approximate age to what her birth mother would be at the time, had passed fairly recently (2008).  Life was busy at the time and I never pressed further to find out more info or confirm if this was her birth mother, until recently.  I purchased a record of obituary for this person and found that she had later remarried and raised a family of 4 children.  However, citations of the deceased’s relatives were a match to that of the names of relatives of (and same relation to) the birth mother listed in the adoption papers.  Listed in the obit were also the names of all of her children.  Through name searches in various places on the internet, I have come up with a live phone number to who would be my mothers next oldest sibling (a half-sister).

Of course I passed along this information to my mother.  She seemed a bit intrigued with my findings but didn’t indicate that she was interested in calling.  A number of weeks later, she was still unsure if she wanted to make contact with her birth relatives but asked if I would be willing to call on her behalf if she decided to.  My answer was “of course.”

A little while later she indicated to me that she wanted to make contact citing (as she had previously as a reason for doing so) that she wanted to know more about her medical history for not only her sake, but also for mine and my children’s benefit.  Although she doesn’t say so, I get the sense she is very intrigued (as I am) and wants to know about her extended family.

So this is the crossroads at which we stand.  I have called the number I found once only to verify it as a live number.  I got an answering machine, but no names given to corroborate that it was the number I was suspecting.