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How best to open the door to half siblings

DEAR AMY: When I was 33, I discovered that the father who raised me is not my biological dad. I found my biological dad, "Daniel," and started an infrequent correspondence. He gave me a biography of his life, but showed no interest in my life or in answering questions I had regarding his relationship with my mom. He was not interested in meeting, and I ceased contact. Fast-forward 15 years. With the advent of Facebook, I found my entire biological family: Daniel, his wife, his other children, their spouses and kids. I reached out to him again. He seemed genuinely happy to hear from me until he realized how much information I had gathered about his family on Facebook, specifically that his daughter is only four months younger than me. Awkward, right? Turns out he had two women pregnant at the same time. He told me from the beginning that his wife and children know about me, but I am not convinced. He threatened me with legal action should I contact his grown children (he has no legal grounds). Should I contact my half siblings in the hope that we could cultivate a friendship, or should I assume they do know the truth and are not interested in a relationship with me? If I do contact them, what would be the best manner -- by letter, email or phone?Missing a Link

 

DEAR MISSING: You should not assume your half siblings know about you. Contacting them could be very upsetting and challenging for all of them -- and for you.

You should keep your expectations extremely realistic. You will be lobbing a grenade into their lives, and they will need (and deserve) time to react and adjust.

If your father continues to be hostile toward you, your siblings will likely follow suit.

Email gives you confirmation that they have opened your communication, and gives them time to read, reread and react on their own terms.

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