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Adoptee seeks contact with half-siblings

DEAR AMY: I am a female adoptee in my 40s. I was raised by a great family but was always curious about my roots. In my 20s I was able to reach out anonymously to my birth mother through the adoption agency, but she refused to have any contact with me. Recently the same agency located my birth father, who was very excited about meeting me. He and I have worked out a friendly relationship, which has been beneficial for me. Within this budding relationship he has revealed the name of my birth mother. I easily found her on social media, along with pictures and identities of my half siblings on her side. I called her, knowing it was risky. Even with my gentle approach, she actually denied ever having a baby and giving it up for adoption. This was disappointing, but I know I definitely had the right person. I am OK with leaving this woman alone now. However, now I would like to contact my half siblings. They probably don't know anything about me, as I'm sure it has been a huge family secret. But I would like to at least try to meet them! Would you advise me to reach out directly to them? I realize this could potentially hurt my birth mother's relationship with them, but protecting her and her feelings is not my main priority at this point.

-- Curious

DEAR CURIOUS: It seems likely that you will choose to contact any birth relatives you encounter. It is absolutely your right to do this.

However, if you are doing this to somehow punish your birth mother for surrendering and then denying you, it would be a huge mistake. This woman gave you life and also a happy childhood with a wonderful adoptive family. You needn't be grateful, but at least try to understand and respect her choice.

This should be done with the help of a professional counselor. You may be naive about the potential impact on you. If your birth mother denies you, then be prepared for a full spectrum of reactions from other relatives, including the possibility of more denial and/or anger.

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