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Lyra

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I have lived most of my life knowing nothing about my birth father. The last 8 years I've known nothing about him except that he wanted me aborted and left when mom refused. To keep things from being confusing, he'll be known simply by SD from here on.

I've been raised by my mom's parents, after my mother died. They are the only family I've known since I was a toddler.

So suddenly, a few months ago, biodad and his parents and his sister pop back up. They start sending me letters and telling me that I shouldn't go to the college I'd chosen (my grandfather told them where I'd chosen) and so on, or at least, SD and his father did. This is the exact behavior I, like most teenagers, hate. You don't tell me how to live my life. He also liked to talk a lot about his accomplishments, and about how he and his wife (he has no other kids) were both fantastic students. I'm not.

I sent several letters saying, "Look, I'm going off to college, I have enough complications right now, let me get back to you when I feel like dealing." I also said in harsher words that I felt their standards were too high and there was no way I was going to fit into such an achievement oriented lot, so I didn't even want to try.

...Needless to say, they didn't listen.

Then, suddenly, I get this IM one day from one of SDs friends. Apparently SD had been looking at my art and poetry that I have posted online (I have no idea how he found it, because my real name is not tacked onto it, but oh well). Mind you, I also had an angry "omfg I hate SD" rant on my journal on the same page.

I didn't hear from SD for a few months, even though his dad was still on my ass for most that time. His sister and I traded a few nice letters; I get along with her, but she's not on speaking terms with their father and never even told SD that she and I were talking. (Love that woman.)

This Christmas, SD sent me a letter. At first I cringed, but then...

...The things he said in that letter were kinder than anything I've heard out of the parents that raised me. He'd clearly read through my poetry, art, and miscelainious rants and had gotten a concept of who I am. For the first time in my life, I felt like a family member understood me. I honestly spent most the next two days crying just because I was so overwhelmed and confused.

He said he didn't want me to write back until I could consider him a friend. And currently, I'm not sure what to do.

It's been nearly a month and I still can't read the letter without crying. I want to hate him, for being an ass and for abandoning me for 18 years, but at the same time, he has a clearer grasp of who I am than the people who raised me.

Most of my friends are clueless as to what to advise me. I myself am lost. My bf can't do anything but say that if I ever decide I do want to deal with SD, he'll be there with me.

Anyone older and wiser have any suggestions? *sighs*

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i'm wondering.....it sounds like he intially tried to communicate with you parent to child style (which didn't work, obviously).  maybe that's how he thought he should do it.

but then, he read your journal & began to see you as a person.  so what i think is the first attempts were the generic approach, like he was following a formula cuz he didn't know how else to do it, then once he saw your art he understood you as a person & now that he knows who you are, he can relate to the person and not just some generic child-figure.  hope that makes sense.

yeah, it sounds like he was a real prize winning asshole when he was younger.  but people do grow up and change (not guaranteed, but it happens) so he may not be the same person as he was when he was younger and abandoned your mom.

and you know, most people do make some really big mistakes in their lives and do things they regret.  that's called being human.  it could be that the way he treated you/your mom is HIS big mistake & hopefully he's learned from it, but he's found out he can't go back and unmake the past.

i guess i'm trying to say not to see him as good/evil, but just as a person, like he now sees you.

then you can decide if you want to get to know this person, as a person.

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Hi, Lyra,

First of all, congratulations for you being you. You sound wonderfully practical and yet emotionally aware, too.

I'm a single mother with one son who just turned 18. His biodad left town about two months after he was born. When he was younger, I tried to soften the information about his dad, but I didn't lie. Biodad died when son was 15. I told him about biodad's death and just kind of talked about him for awhile. When I asked him how he felt, he asked what he was supposed to feel for someone he never met and who completely blew off any kind of relationship with him.

He said he didn't want me to write back until I could consider him a friend. And currently, I'm not sure what to do.

It's been nearly a month and I still can't read the letter without crying. I want to hate him, for being an ass and for abandoning me for 18 years, but at the same time, he has a clearer grasp of who I am than the people who raised me.

Lyra, I'm going to play the cynic here and urge you to be very careful. He completely shirked all physical, moral and financial responsibility for your childhood. That can't be replaced. He can never be a father to you. He wasn't there. And I'm sorry, but when I think of good parents, I don't think of people who want to be friends with their children. I think of people who create a safe, loving, nurturing and secure home for their children so that they can grow up knowing what love is, what safety is.

Have you asked him why he is contacting you now? What changed. Why does he want back into your life now that you're an adult? Where was he when your mother died?

The fact that he has developed a clear grasp about you as a person definitely speaks more highly of you as an expressive writen than him for being empathetic.

I thought about just deleting this post, but you've been through a lot in your short life, you deserve better people around you. He's got a lot of explaining to do.

Greeny

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Lyra, I'm going to play the cynic here and urge you to be very careful. He completely shirked all physical, moral and financial responsibility for your childhood. That can't be replaced. He can never be a father to you. He wasn't there. And I'm sorry, but when I think of good parents, I don't think of people who want to be friends with their children. I think of people who create a safe, loving, nurturing and secure home for their children so that they can grow up knowing what love is, what safety is.

Have you asked him why he is contacting you now? What changed. Why does he want back into your life now that you're an adult? Where was he when your mother died?

The fact that he has developed a clear grasp about you as a person definitely speaks more highly of you as an expressive writen than him for being empathetic.

I thought about just deleting this post, but you've been through a lot in your short life, you deserve better people around you. He's got a lot of explaining to do.

Greeny

Very well said, Greeny.  Excellent points.

He said he didn't want me to write back until I could consider him a friend.
I think he has a lot of frickin' nerve thinking that he can lay any kind of condition or expectation on you regarding anything.

I think you have a big right to your anger, and there is no need to forgive him for abandoning you.

I'm not a parent, but my insight is that I am adopted.  Both birthparents gave me up at birth, while I was in critical condition.  While I had terrific parents who raised me, and I am very grateful to them, the sting of rejection is still there regarding the birthparents. 

Try not to let this guy disrupt your life.  Maybe you can tell him that you will be in touch after you graduate from college, but right now your plate is FULL with everything else in your life.

You have a right to set your own terms and your own limits.  Don't let him control you.

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One of the main issues is I've been pressured into talking to him by my parents. Mom says I need to go tell him to go to hell (she's said to my face that she blames SD for my biomom's death), Dad says I need to try to work things out so I can be civil with the man.

Apparently, it was his sister's idea to seek me out. She had just had her second child, and wondered what had become of her niece. I find her wonderful and we've quickly developed a very friendly relationship.

I think SD decided he wanted to be my friend because he realized I already had parents, so there was no room for him there. The post he saw about me hating him (he made no mention to me about seeing the post, but it was on the front page of my deviantart account for 3 months prior to when his friend approached me, so it would be rather hard to miss) included a nightmare I'd had in which my father killed himself and I told him that was stupid because I'd have no one to walk me down the aisle. (I might note that I had just had my wisdom teeth out and was on codine that week... I have many stories about the dreams from that week, but that's completely off-topic.)

I think the reasoning behind his saying he didn't want me to write back till I could consider him a friend is because before, I sent him the obligatory (at least, obligatory in my family) thank you note for the birthday gift he'd sent me, and he didn't want me doing that again. That could just be my hoping there, though. I have a bad habit of misinterpreting people's motives...

I honestly don't know what I want in this situation. I had those control freak parents who contradicted each other and themselves every time they turned around, and as such, I'm bad at putting my own terms to things (ah, college is wonderful when you've never been allowed to be independent before... [/sarcasm]). Greeny's assesment of what parents should be like doesn't match any of what I've known x_x . He has no other children (rats, I only ever wanted to meet him in hopes I had half-siblings), and his wife doesn't want kids, so I suspect he's wondering what's up with his only offspring. He did indeed show up at my mother's funeral, and apparently, my uncle damn near beat him up for showing his face. He also apparently called when I was around seven, but I don't know what was said then. Other than that call, he's been silent for the 16 years since mom's death.

Not to hijack my own thread, but Libby, I don't know your whole story so you've probably heard this before, but maybe your bioparents knew they couldn't care for you properly and would sooner you live with someone else than die with them?

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Mom says I need to go tell him to go to hell (she's said to my face that she blames SD for my biomom's death),
I'm so glad you're still posting. Regarding what your mom said about needing to tell him to go to hell. Well, you may or may not need to do that. One of the best lessons I learned in therapy was not to try to fix other people's issues. Now if your mom wants to contact him and tell him to go to hell, good for her. You are not responsible for your mom's feelings. So if YOU want to confront the man looking for answers, do it. But don't do it for mom.

Dad says I need to try to work things out so I can be civil with the man.

No you don't. He abandoned you and your mom when you were small, dependent and vulnerable.

You need to do what the right thing is for YOU, not mom, dad or biodad. Yeah. baby, this time it IS all about you. If you want to be able to establish a cordial relationship with him, do it on terms that feel right and comfortable to you.

One other point, you do not have to deal with this all by yourself or by anyone else's timetable.  If you're not sure you want to see him now, you can still leave the door open and say that you've got a lot to figure out before you're comfortable meeting him.

Greeny

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Why I feel qualified to offer my advice:

1) I'm adopted. When I decided to look for my birthmother years ago, I did tons of research. I think I've read just about every book ever written about adoption. I participated in a support group that included adoptees and birthparents. I also spent nearly a year in therapy with a therapist who is also adopted and specializes in adoption issues.

2) I'm the single parent of a 17 year-old son whose father has not only never laid eyes on him, but who also has never paid a dime of child support.

You may never know the "real" story of what happened between your birthparents, but it sound like he made at least a couple of attempts to be involved when you were younger, and it sounds like he was met with a great deal of resistance from your birthmother and/or grandparents. Maybe for good reason, but perhaps just out of spite. You may never know the real story.

It's also possible that he truly believed... for whatever reason... that he was doing the best thing for you by staying away. Maybe he was too young to deal with being a parent when you were a baby and then, when he grew up, felt he didn't have any right to interrupt your life (this is a very common thing for birthparents to feel).

If you can accept that nothing he can say or do at this point can make up for his not being there while you were growing up, then I say give him a cautious chance. But don't feel obligated to maintain a relationship with him if you get to know him and don't like him or feel his motives are impure in some way.

If you have the resources, I highly suggest finding a good counselor to help you deal with all this - particularly one who specializes in this kind of thing. Even though you aren't technically adopted, the circumstances are similar enough that you might find a local adoption support group helpful.

However, if you aren't ready to deal with it all, or simply don't want to, that's 100% your choice. You don't owe him anything. I agree with the other comments about doing what's best for you on YOUR time table. I especially liked the comment that he made you wait 18 years, so he can wait a couple more if that's what you need/want.

If you think there's a chance that you may want a relationship with him someday, then try to be as cordial as you can in explaining your position. I think it's fine to tell him you are angry and to even express that anger. If he doesn't understand your right to be angry, he's not worth your time or effort. But anger can be expressed in ways that are productive - for both of you.

Good luck, Lyra. Keep us posted.

~Sunshine

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If you have the resources, I highly suggest finding a good counselor to help you deal with all this - particularly one who specializes in this kind of thing. Even though you aren't technically adopted, the circumstances are similar enough that you might find a local adoption support group helpful.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, actually, I'm legally adopted by my grandparents. Try explaining that one to your friends when you're 8 years old.

I think my dad's motives for me becoming civil with SD are purely monetary. He's never payed child support or anything, and I've only got enough money to last out this year of college... dad's commented more than once that he thinks I could talk SD into helping me out with the college money. Dad's an accountant though, so he's the kind of person to think exactly that way - take the practical route, regardless of the emotions around. Note that he wanted me aborted too and kicked my biomom out of the house for a month when she refused.

There's never been any trust between me and my parents (mom has said several times that she wouldn't trust me as far as she could throw me, and she trusts my friends less so - nice lady, eh?), so I doubt I'll ever get the real story. Hell, the story has changed so many times that I don't know if they even know which is the real story anymore, and that makes it that much more complicated. It's not like I can just go to SD and go "Hi. Why didn't you ever try to be my dad before?".

Personally I'm not inclined to trust a man who didn't want me alive in the first place. But on the other hand, my biomom loved him so that must mean there's something good in him somewhere, and also, as I said - even if it was pure flattery to make me like him, he still was nicer to me in that letter than my parents have been most my life. He also took the time to look up my art/poetry (and as I said, I have no idea how he even found it), when my parents and in fact my whole family will shove it away whenever I bring it up. I think it'd be nice to have a family member who supports what I enjoy, for a change.

I'm honestly thinking of going to his sister and saying something to the effect of, "is he still an asshole?"

Thanks for the advice, Sunshine. I've already made an appointment with the school counseling center (probably a bad idea... there was a 3 week waiting list) already for other things, and I can always ask if they know where I can go for adoptee counseling...

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Not to hijack my own thread, but Libby, I don't know your whole story so you've probably heard this before, but maybe your bioparents knew they couldn't care for you properly and would sooner you live with someone else than die with them?
Sure, and on a logical level, I am grateful they made that choice.  The fallout of emotions is more complicated, however. 

I'm very glad you made that appt. with school counselor.  You need the support of an objective person who isn't involved in the family drama.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dad's an accountant though, so he's the kind of person to think exactly that way - take the practical route, regardless of the emotions around. Note that he wanted me aborted too and kicked my biomom out of the house for a month when she refused.

There's never been any trust between me and my parents (mom has said several times that she wouldn't trust me as far as she could throw me, and she trusts my friends less so - nice lady, eh?), so I doubt I'll ever get the real story. Hell, the story has changed so many times that I don't know if they even know which is the real story anymore, and that makes it that much more complicated. It's not like I can just go to SD and go "Hi. Why didn't you ever try to be my dad before?"

OK, this thread has had a few weeks fallow, you said three, so I hope you have gotten to see the school counselor by now, maybe gotten a little completely objective professional view.

I would say talk to SD's sister.  She probably knows more of the truth of what happened 18 years ago than anyone else.  I wouldn't advise you to jump into any relationship with your dad -- measure your steps carefully and guard yourself until you know it's OK.

Indeed, his first comm. might have been naively parental, only seeing you as an individual with thoughts and ideas of your own once he found your DA page.  What seems really fishy to me is that your dad [grandfather] wanted your biomom to abort you, and your uncle almost beat SD up for coming to your mom's funeral.  The combination seems like "keep away" tactics.  The whole money thing adds every more fishiness.  On top of that you say the stories from your mom and dad have changed quite a bit over the years.  Have you asked SD's sister if SD actually ran away, or maybe did your dad drive him away, or perhaps is the truth somewhere in the grey center area -- a bit of both?  The truth is usually very grey.  While SD may indeed be guilty of running away, he might have had help in the decision and angry fathers of unmarried pregnant daughters can be very convincing.  Worst case scenario, your dad only let your biomom move back home if she would dump SD.

Whatever you do, if you ask SD or SD's sister about those things -- ask them separately, and don't give any suggestions of what may have happened because they could latch onto something inaccurate that you have considered out of ease, just ask for the plain grey truth.  There are no simple stories, and very few ever have 100% of guilt all on one side or the other.

My best friend was adopted by an aunt and uncle who couldn't conceive.  She has always called her biomom "Aunt E.", but knows that her "Aunt" really is her biomom.  Her biomom is the "black sheep" of the family -- so she often feels far more comfortable talking to her Aunt E. about social "growing pains" and such than she ever would be talking to her mom.  She has a very healthy friend-like relationship with her Aunt E., so I wouldn't say that you shouldn't try to be friends with SD at all, just maybe more of an uncle sort of friendship rather than a flat out social friendship.

Definitely talk to your counselor.  There's a lot of unknown history here that is probably going to cause you a lot of fractal-like questions, and regardless of whether or not a school counselor has any expertise in adoption issues, etc. -- they are usually good at one thing -- helping you find appropriate coping skills so that facing and exploring your history doesn't interfere unduly with your academic pursuits that will be so important to where you are going.

Don't be afraid to tell SD that you need to go in babysteps.  Sure, his response might have been to your thank you card.  It could also have been human nature reflex to wait for an offer of safe relationship because even though he knows a bit more about you having seen your rants and your artwork -- he still doesn't honestly know how to relate to you any more than you know how to relate to him.  If it was reflex, be bigger and let him know that rather than waiting until possibly never for the ideal to happen, you would rather take the realistic approach of dealing with him as you are ready to, yes, you might choose to deal with him before you are feeling friend-like toward him, and yes -- realistically, he has no other choice than to just deal with it if he wants to be any part of your life.  Every step is going to be a discovery for BOTH of you, some great, some not so great.  Buckle your seatbelt, put on your crash helmet, and don't drive any faster than you feel is safe.

Keep talking to your counselor, and let SD know that you have to limit your "speed" based on what is not going to be detrimental to your schooling.  Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

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Guest Guest_Gary_*

I have lived most of my life knowing nothing about my birth father. The last 8 years I've known nothing about him except that he wanted me aborted and left when mom refused. To keep things from being confusing, he'll be known simply by SD from here on.

I have been on the other side of a situation similar to this. I would be considered the "Bio Dad" or SD. I was kept from seeing my daughter or communicating with her in any way between her ages of 6-18. Upon her graduation from High school I managed to contact her while she was not in the presence of her Mother or her Mother's side of the family. At first she was happy to hear from me and we made tenative plans to meet and get reacquainted. However, Satan and her family discovered the plot and intensified their ongoing efforts to discredit and defame me.

My point is, I would weigh very carefully what I was raised to believe. There may be truth in a little of what your Mothers family has pumped into your mind. But there is always another side to every story. I have no advice to offer on the rest of what you wrote. Just that I have a daughter this is so emotionally crippled because of what her MOther and her mothers family did to her that she is now ruining her own marriage under the guise that "she is just like her Father". You sound intelliegent, please continue to think for yourself and make your own decisions. Grandma and Grandpa may be feeding you poison relative to your Father.   

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Guest Guest_Gary_*

I have lived most of my life knowing nothing about my birth father. The last 8 years I've known nothing about him except that he wanted me aborted and left when mom refused. To keep things from being confusing, he'll be known simply by SD from here on.

I have been on the other side of a situation similar to this. I would be considered the "Bio Dad" or SD. I was kept from seeing my daughter or communicating with her in any way between her ages of 6-18. Upon her graduation from High school I managed to contact her while she was not in the presence of her Mother or her Mother's side of the family. At first she was happy to hear from me and we made tenative plans to meet and get reacquainted. However, Satan and her family discovered the plot and intensified their ongoing efforts to discredit and defame me.

My point is, If I were you, I would weigh very carefully what I was raised by my Mother and my Mothers family to believe. There may be truth in a little of what your Mothers family has pumped into your mind, but there is always another side to every story. I have no advice to offer on the rest of what you wrote. Just that I have a daughter that is so emotionally crippled because of what her Mother and her mothers family did to her that she is ruining her own marriage under the guise that "she is just like her Father". You sound intelliegent, please continue to think for yourself and make your own decisions. Grandma and Grandpa may be feeding you poison relative to your Father.   

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