Wedding Woes

Your dad has made his feelings clear. Respect him.

Dear Prudence,

I recently did some research on an ancestry website about my recently deceased grandmother’s family. While doing so, I found my grandmother’s first husband—my father’s biological father. He abandoned my grandmother with two children in England in the 1950s, went AWOL from the Air Force, and was never heard from again. My father has made it plain over the years that he has no curiosity about this man. My grandmother remarried, and I love and admire my grandfather, who is still living. But I’m curious, and based on genealogical information, publicly available information, and family resemblance, I’m certain I’ve found my biological grandfather—as well as several other relatives that would mean siblings for my father, and uncles, aunts, and cousins for me.

I expected my father’s father would be dead. I never thought I’d find a living man. Do I share this information with my father? Or do I keep silent? Do I reach out to this stranger? Or do I leave it well enough alone and say it was never meant to be?

—Family Ties

Re: Your dad has made his feelings clear. Respect him.

  • You keep silent. You’re being selfish and nosy and meddling. Just because you can violate your father’s privacy doesn’t mean you should have. 
    ei34charlotte989875lovesclimbing
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    VarunaTT said:
    I don't necessarily see anything wrong with OP reaching out to the man.  There's a really big caveat though, that she needs to be prepared to make sure she doesn't create or provide access to her father for this person or the other family.  And that is going to mean lying, to be frank.  She doesn't need to ever tell her father anything, either.  Again, more lying.  If she's not okay with the lying, she just needs to stop.

    I've told this info before: My bio aunt was given up for adoption.  She found us when I was little and held onto the secret that she found us from her adopted family for decades.  We (as the bio family) knew our place and never made an issues for her at all. Yeah, it meant we missed her wedding and that sucked, but that's how it was.  Both of her parents have now passed and she doesn't have to keep the secret anymore.  She was recently discussing with me how much of a relief it was to not have to be careful with this secret.  I felt so terrible for her about it, TBH.  It had to be a burden for her that we never were able to totally feel or alleviate.  So if OP can't handle that...they shouldn't do anything.
    I agree with you, Varuna. 

    Similarly, my dad had a son he signed his rights away to and another man adopted. My siblings and I have, over the years, mentioned wanting to reach out to him. My dad wants no part. But I think as this guy's half sister, I have a right to contact him if I want. So if I ever do (my siblings and I are all in our 30s and we haven't yet, so probably not), I'll do so quietly and not involve my dad.
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  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    VarunaTT said:
    I don't necessarily see anything wrong with OP reaching out to the man.  There's a really big caveat though, that she needs to be prepared to make sure she doesn't create or provide access to her father for this person or the other family.  And that is going to mean lying, to be frank.  She doesn't need to ever tell her father anything, either.  Again, more lying.  If she's not okay with the lying, she just needs to stop.

    I've told this info before: My bio aunt was given up for adoption.  She found us when I was little and held onto the secret that she found us from her adopted family for decades.  We (as the bio family) knew our place and never made an issues for her at all. Yeah, it meant we missed her wedding and that sucked, but that's how it was.  Both of her parents have now passed and she doesn't have to keep the secret anymore.  She was recently discussing with me how much of a relief it was to not have to be careful with this secret.  I felt so terrible for her about it, TBH.  It had to be a burden for her that we never were able to totally feel or alleviate.  So if OP can't handle that...they shouldn't do anything.
    I agree with you, Varuna. 

    Similarly, my dad had a son he signed his rights away to and another man adopted. My siblings and I have, over the years, mentioned wanting to reach out to him. My dad wants no part. But I think as this guy's half sister, I have a right to contact him if I want. So if I ever do (my siblings and I are all in our 30s and we haven't yet, so probably not), I'll do so quietly and not involve my dad.
    I don’t think biology makes a family or that as someone with bio ties that gives you a right to contact someone and potentially throw a bomb into his life. If there were a reason or need to do it, sure, but just wanting to is, to me, insufficient. 
    That's fair. I meant that more from my dad's perspective that the half-brother's.

    And the fact that we don't know what he knows, if anything, is one of the biggest reasons that we haven't ever reached out to him.
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    STARMOON44ei34charlotte989875
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think she should respect her dad's wishes. He has no interest in finding this man, and I don't think she should tell him about it. I don't see the harm in reaching out to contact him, I guess. But again, I don't think she should involve her dad in this. 

  • I'm torn.

    On one hand, my best friend found out she had a biological sibling she never knew about and when the girl reached out it was tough and took years for her family to heal.

    On the otherhand, I recently found my grandmothers biological brother (and deceased mother) and it's been great.  My great uncle has been searching for his (now deceased sister) for about a decade and it has helped my aunts who always wanted to find her.

    I think LW can reach out but

    1.  A @VarunaTT said, be prepared to lie or be bluntly honest (No, I won't tell you about my father, he wants nothing to do with you) or
    2.  Be prepared for bio granddad to want nothing to do with her.

    Either way, she needs to leave her dad out of it.
    short+sassy
  • mrsmitten said:
    I'm torn.

    On one hand, my best friend found out she had a biological sibling she never knew about and when the girl reached out it was tough and took years for her family to heal.

    On the otherhand, I recently found my grandmothers biological brother (and deceased mother) and it's been great.  My great uncle has been searching for his (now deceased sister) for about a decade and it has helped my aunts who always wanted to find her.

    I think LW can reach out but

    1.  A @VarunaTT said, be prepared to lie or be bluntly honest (No, I won't tell you about my father, he wants nothing to do with you) or
    2.  Be prepared for bio granddad to want nothing to do with her.

    Either way, she needs to leave her dad out of it.


    Not just her dad, but also her grandmother.

    My H and his cousin were both adopted.  He and I have had these kinds of discussions many times.

    One of the big pitfalls for these kind of digs is people don't really prepare themselves if it doesn't turn into one of those Disney, made-for-tv movie kind of experiences.  It rarely does and I don't even mean that in a bad way.

    For his own experience, my H did have the opportunity to meet one of his brothers and his bio mom.  Once he met them, he found out who his bio dad was, but that man had already passed away.  He also has two other brothers that he has never been able to find.  Overall, he has felt it was a good experience to meet them.  However, he also talks about that he expected to feel this "connection' to them.  But he really didn't and nor did they.  He stays in touch with very occasional e-mails, but more like you would with a casual acquaintance.  As a side note, my H got his bio-mom's info from the brother.  But the brother has never contacted her and never will.  The bro was old enough to remember feeling abandoned by her (my H was not) and has never forgiven her.

    His cousin's story is much worse.  She looked for her bio-mom out of a place of intense curiosity and especially wanting to know "why".  She found her and sent her a letter.  The bio-mom did send a letter back.  She answered the questions asked and briefly told her story...which, of course, only leads to more questions.  But also made it very clear that she did not want a relationship with her, did not want to be contacted again, and would not respond back.  My H's cousin was devastated and it brought back the abandonment issues she'd felt in her childhood.

    But anyway, back to the letter.  The LW sounds all fired up with curiosity and that is their primary reason for contact.  But, quite frankly, their bio-grandpa might want nothing to do with them...after all, he abandoned his wife and kids all those years ago...and the LW's curiosity might never be vanquished anyway.  So they need to prepare for that very real possibility also.

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  • This is definitely a tough one. I certainly understand the curiosity and wanting to know more about where you came from, but at the same time, does LW really want to pursue something that they'll have to hide so carefully from their father?  

    But aside from all that, LW better be prepared for rejection if they decide to pursue this. Bio grandpa might not appreciate getting tracked down by someone from the family he abandoned, and I'm not sure how receptive the rest of his family would be either. 
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    short+sassy
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