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My Life, So far, as a Late-Discovery Adoptee.

April 25, 2009

In late 2006 it all started simply enough, as I requested my birth certificate from my mother. I bugged her for weeks to send it to me. She kept saying she’d look for it, and that she was not sure she had it anymore. In reality, she knew where it was; locked securely in my sister’s safe! I was 41 years old then, and needed my birth certificate for a US Passport application. I have a close friend, my college buddy Kevin, who lives in Canada. I visit him as often as I can. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security planned new passport requirements at that time that were to take effect by 2008. Either I get the required paperwork; or Ontario, Canada would no longer be my personal retreat.

Eventually, after weeks of requesting my paperwork, Mom called Mary Anne (my wife) at work. It was in spring 2007, a few days before my 42nd birthday. Mom is in tears, and spills her guts about my adoption story to my wife over the phone. Mary Anne comes home from work early to tell me. As it turns out, Mom did a lot of calling before she told Mary Anne. Mom called my Aunt Ethel, my in-laws, my sister Cindy, and my brother Denny for advice. Aunt Ethel, who was the best aunt in the world, told her that, “Jeff’s a lot smarter then you’ve ever given him credit for, and surely Jeff probably figured it out long before now.”

I had, sort of, but was denied the truth when I asked. Time to time from my teen years through college I’d occasionally suggest it to them, or joke about how “I must be adopted because….” Finally, when I confronted them seriously, my dad blew up at me, and my mom was speechless. This occurred during the summer of 1986. I was away at college at the time. Both parents denied it, dad told me I should speak to a pastor or a counselor because obviously I “had gone off the deep end”. They made it very clear to me that I was their son and that I never should bring this up again. Mom also made it clear that I had hurt them very much by questioning our relationship. I felt very guilty for bringing up the matter on that serious of a level. I hated myself at that time for having upset them; especially my dad. He had a long history of heart disease, and I grew up knowing he could die at any moment.

However, there was a lifetime of evidence to support my belief: Kids at school, on the bus, and at church who teased and bullied me and called me “Foster child”, lack of a quilt from my paternal grandmother (she handmade one for each of her grandchildren *except* me), the exclusion of my name from the Hancock family bible (a bible over 200 years old with detailed names and relation), and finally a faded Polaroid snapshot that said “Jeff, our foster child” on the back. When I mentioned the photograph, mom was quick to defend it by saying, “it says ‘faster’ because you grew so much faster than Cindy or Denny.” Dad separately offered the explanation, “That’s Karen’s handwriting, and she probably meant it because you liked hanging around her when you were a toddler.” Karen was my brother’s first wife who died in 1981. In all honesty, I didn’t know her that well. I doubt I hung around her at all, as my brother and his family were overseas at the time that picture of me, a Polaroid, was taken.

I had no choice but take my folks at their word. Dad died in 1990 of cancer. He took the secret to his grave. He wanted for me to never know. It was his way of protecting me. He never wanted for me to feel not-a-part of his life or family, even though other family members never fully have accepted me. Ironically, I remember being rather annoyed with my mom when she flat out refused to allow an autopsy following dad’s death. At the time my wife was 6 months pregnant with our first child. I was very scared that there may be something genetic in association with dad’s leukemia. I kept trying to explain to her why I felt I needed to know the exact cause. Now I understand why it didn’t matter.

Following the settling of Dad’s funeral, items dad wished to be split between my “siblings” and my self were to be distributed. It was fairly slim pickings compared to most as my family was always very poor in wealth. Still, dad’s final wishes were for all three of his children to receive personal items that he cherished. Long story short, my brother blessed himself with what few items he was entitled to as well as the one or two things dad wanted me to have. I was really hurt and very disappointed in my family when I took a daytrip down to mom’s to retrieve my possessions and found empty spaces where those possession were supposed to be. Mom assured me that because my brother is a pastor he would never knowingly steal from me. Yeah, right! My sister got dad’s car; she has never even had a driver’s license. My brother received dad’s guns, fishing equipment, table saw, roto-tiller, and hand-tools. I felt very ill that day. Mary Anne was with me, and reveled to me later that afternoon, “Jeff, I never believed everything you always said about your family not including you or respecting you. Now I have really seen it. You’ve been right all along!”

Forward back to spring 2007; mom was very upset upon having to reveal this deeply buried family secret. We drove for 2 hours for a visit so that she could give me my birth certificate and adoption paperwork. Also, she had several plumbing issues, so I spent Good Friday 2007 crawling around under her sink replacing several yucky pipes. As we walked in the house I could tell how upset mom was. I was still in a state of shock myself. I couldn’t talk about it all with her then. I still cannot speak to her about my adoption even now. I did make an honest attempt to communicate with my mom through a letter following that Good Friday. I sought only to sooth her for being upset over finally revealing my adoption. Before I knew it the entire family was at my throat. At a time when I had a grave need for the understanding and support of my adoptive family, and at a time when I felt my mother needed to hear that things were okay, they put me in my place for being a bad son.

In my letter I simply explained that I felt as though I never fit in, and that I was nothing like either sibling. I mentioned Cindy’s alcohol abuse and Denny’s extreme Christian fundamentalism (he’s an Evangelical pastor). I mentioned how I’ve never felt a desire or need for alcohol, nor have I ever felt comfortable in such an extremely evangelical environment as my brother is a pastor within. I mentioned how our family has two sides; those who immerse themselves in substance and alcohol abuse and those who immerse themselves in religion. Both life choices run rampant on either side of my family; there is no halfway measure between these two extremes. Bear in mind I in no way criticized either of my siblings, I only mentioned I have always felt different from everyone in our family; a feeling that I never really belonged.

My sister opened up the letter before Mom could, and read its contents. Both she and mom immediately became infuriated with me. The letter was taken completely out of context, and thrown back into my face. My sister was convinced I wrote it to get back at them for the decades of lies or for the hardships her drinking brought upon our family. She in turn convinced mom that was my intent. They stopped speaking to me for weeks. I went from having one family, to learning I have two, but ending up with none. 2007 sucked.

Everyone else I shared the letter with thought it was beautiful and should have made mom realize how much she is loved by me. Surprisingly, my brother stepped up to the plate, and told them they were wrong. Although he didn’t read the letter, he felt it was wrong for our sister to have and that clearly I was only attempting to nurture. He also admitted to never taking any steps to have a relationship with me due to the 20-year age difference between us, and that now he feels a bit guilty. Not guilty enough to ever call or send a birthday card, but at least he knows through Mom that I’m still alive.

It wasn’t until Christmas 2007 that my sister spoke to me again. Before Mom’s revelation Cindy used to call us two or three times a week just to talk. Since discovery I have had a million thoughts race through my head. Sometimes I feel grief, as if someone died, yet I don’t know who. I get angry sometimes, other times I’m depressed. Part of me wishes I’d been adopted by someone else, even though I miss my dad, and appreciate at least having a home as a child.

I don’t feel as though I know who I am anymore. I am so different from everyone else in my family. I’m always wondering if there is anyone out there anywhere who may be anything at all like me. I fear my birth family won’t want to know me, or they may be dead, or I may be a product of incest or rape. Sometimes I feel like a total idiot. Everyone in my home town knew of my adoption except me. I feel betrayed, lied to, and taken for granted. I’m a very different person post-discovery. I was happy with the person I was before mom’s revelation. I have no legitimate way to describe who I am sitting here all this time later.

At the same time, so many more things make sense to me now. Odd little experiences over the years that now appear crystal clear. From 1975-1982 my sister was married to a horrible and abusive man. He was not only an alcoholic, but he was a mean drunk. On more than one occasion, while living together in our parent’s home, he referred to me as “The Living Abortion.” Even this sorry excuse of a human being was privy to my adoption story.

As time continues to pass, I occasionally remember more details from my years being raised. I can understand comments made to me by the mean children at school and on the bus so many years ago. Comments, questions, and peculiar things they said to me at church, family picnics, and around town. Also, why I was never accepted or included in family plans, or invited to join clubs or groups in school or especially at church; I was raised in a very strict and evangelical faith. I know now why during my childhood and teen years I felt people were always watching me, waiting for me to make some terrible life decision. It was because they really were expecting me to!

Before 2007 I never fully understood the stigma of adopted children in an evangelical culture. My dear friend Lori, an adoptee, explained this to me a few years ago. I felt I knew how she felt growing up, yet I didn’t feel connected to her suffering. Now I see how society enjoys looking upon us as bastards produced through sin. How we’re destined to go the same path as those alleged “sinners” who produced us. I had no reason at the time to suspect anything, as I knew I *wasn’t* adopted because my “parents” said so! At the same time my inner soul did not agree with society, or the Christian preaching on adoptee pre-destiny. Now as an adult, people I long ago left behind in my mom’s church are stunned that I am not a druggie, alcoholic, father to countless unplanned pregnancies, or convicted criminal in spite of a) being adopted, and/or b) abandoning the evangelical/fundamentalist way of worship some 20+years ago.

Beyond my late-discovery, I now fully understand the saying “life changing event”. I haven’t been able to describe just *who* I am anymore. I have only two known blood relative; our two sons. I fear for their futures not having the privilege of knowing their heritage or medical history. Family tree assignments in their classrooms will have many more branchless limbs on my half than their mother’s side.

Before discovery, I was prescribed only seasonal allergy medications. Presently I am now on 11 different medications in addition to allergy prescriptions. I cannot sleep at night; I cannot stay awake during the day. I have anxiety attacks and I have depression. I can’t concentrate on common tasks now. Events I used to love I no longer choose to participate in. My diet and eating patterns are erratic. I take pills for anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and aches and pains that I never felt before. I haven’t had a complete night’s sleep in months. I feel detached from everyone, including my wife and kids.

On that miserable day the family secret was told I began my search within an hour of discovery. Countless months have now passed, and I have no more idea today than I did then as to who I am. My non-id is non-existent; so I’ve been told by those in authority. Many aliases were used to disguise adoptive families, birth/first mothers, and most of all; Bastards. Those aliases coupled with court sealed records make the likelihood of a biological reunion very slim. While my search is stalled, I have put my energies into assisting others search and into advocacy for unsealed records.

Providing adult adoptees access to his or her original birth certificate is the right thing to do. Like most Americans, I had no idea that adoptees are denied this civil liberty until my own story unfolded. This is a violation of our rights. We deserve to know just “who” we are.

Several months have elapsed since my discovery. I am grateful for the friends I can share stories and experiences with on MySpace and Facebook. I am grateful to my wife, her family, and our kids for their understanding. I’m grateful to my support group in Rochester, NY. I’m grateful for my wife and kids. I am also grateful for the many search angels who help us bastards in so many ways. I’m also grateful to that nameless, faceless person who gave me away in 1965, for whatever her reason in signing me away. I think of her everyday. I hope to find her, meet her, and thank her someday face-to-face despite the odds of reunion.

By Jeffrey A. Hancock; Late-Discovery-Adoptee
Born 4-18-1965 somewhere in Buffalo, New York

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25 comments

  1. Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing your story as an LDA. I was always told I was adopted but I shared your experience in being excluded from most family gatherings because I was the “adopted” one and therefore not “really” part of the family. I was also lied to about my adoptive father’s involvement with my adoption (he was the attorney who sealed my file). So I can relate to what you’re saying. I’m sure you must be going through a tough time dealing with all of this and I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and feelings about what it is to be adopted.


  2. Dear Jeff,

    I read your story with intense interest. Sounds like your a.family took the “fun” out of “disfunctional.”

    I did e-mail Sheldon Silver’s office after trying to call. I happen to know someone who works for him in Albany. She is an adoptee. They told me “Sue’s in a meeting.” People are ALWAYS in meetings. Funny thing about that!

    Then I called someone in Silver’s other office and talked to Bill Eggler. This person told me not once but TWICE “so you are opposed to this bill (A-8410) ?” No, I said I support it. He’s obviously sleep-deprived, like yourself!

    Anyway, the telephone number you put on the blog is incorrect. The Albany exchange is 518) not 519.

    Anne H. Johnson
    Potsdam FamilyFinder
    Potsdam, NY 13676


  3. Wow what a roller coaster, You are so hard on yourself Jeff that must stop!!Try to be kinder to you , because you deserve it, what others think and feel is irrelevant..Advice I have put into practice with much peace in return…Karma will catch up to those that have made you feel so bad..I have read your story and you were one of the lucky ones. My adoptive parents were cruel and the mother beat the shit out of me on a regular daily basis, while the cheating father turned his cheek, and looked the other way. At 12 they shipped me to Willoughby Ohio to a college prep school because I was starting to fight back her many beating. When I found my birth mom and she could of cared less, that I even existed. That was a tragedy for me, I was devastated. My whole life I have been the alone the lone survivor! If not for the Grandmother I would not know how to even love myself or my children!!… Material items will never replace the love and respect you had for your Dad, I know it hurts but let them have there selfishness, and shame on them, don’t let their behavior be a reflection on who you are right now today,a good man. a great father, a survivor a fighter! Remain steadfast and strong Jeff try to enjoy the life you have now and the time you have left, because it is so precious!!!….I know you might cringe when I tell you this but God Bless you and your family Jeff!!!……..beacuse I do believe!…


  4. Although I was told I was adopted at an early age, I can relate to some of the attitudes/actions you’ve described from your (adoptive) parents/siblings.
    Know too what it’s like to be on anti-anxiety/depression medications due to stressors inflicted by one’s adoptive family.
    You seem to be a very strong person [you are most definitely an excellent writer, and one helluva compassionate human being].


  5. Jeff-
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. It broke my heart to learn of how you were lied to.
    Keep clinging to the truth of who you are: beloved.
    Blessings to you,
    Margot


  6. Dear Jeff,
    I cried when I read your story. It sounds so much like my own. I too am a late discovery adoptee, informed in a nasty phone call from my husbands ex. I am still angry at those who were supposed to protect my best interests. My mother still does not understand my feelings and attributes them to my being a “difficult child”. She understands not how the lies have affected my life from my career choices to my worries regarding my future health status (my adopted father died when I was 9 of a heart attack so I always thought I would acquire heart disease at some point too and die prematurely). I understand how you see your children as your only biological link to this world. I have one son who is my only connection. He is so like me it is scary. Am I like my mother as well? I was born in 1956 and time is running out. Will I ever find my real mom? Does she think about me? Oh and how about this question: In America children are told they can grow up to become anything they wish, even President. Well what about OUR falsified birth certificates? What would the “birther movement” say about that? We are truly victims of identity theft and the consequences of this crime last a lifetime and maybe even for generations to come.


  7. Jeff,
    You may wish to explore that your family tree may be closer to THEM than you once realized….could THIS be what they are hiding?
    I will get back on your site tomorrow and read all the details. Stuff buried really deep usually goes in a circle, round and round…NOT outward.
    Mary L .Foess


  8. I have now read your story, Jeff. They know that telling a lie is wrong. Their energy, a condition rooted in guilt of ‘withholding the truth’ is visited upon you in a negative way – – destructive. Are you sure that your case even went through any court at all? Have you got a clue as to how old you were when you went to live with the Hancock’s? CAn you determine for sure when your date of birth was? Removed yourself for an oasis – – and focus on facts, even names of adoption agencies, esp. church ones…any social workers, now retired, who may be able to network FOR you…write to your state social workers organization and start with THEM. WHat hospitals were still delivering babies at that time? Or, were you removed from the custody of your mother, thus, you were a foster child for a while? Then placed with Hancock’s? Or, was your adoption a private one (attorney based)? LIterally get a notebook and put tabs in it according to the area of ‘research’ you are doing. For example: ‘CONTACTS WITH SOCIAL WORKERS AND ADOPTION AGENCIES..’

    This is what I did. I was systematic, very thorough, and focused – – 100%. What kept me going is my own protectiveness towards my own children and grandchildren (yet, unborn). I knew that I HAD to do this for them – – for their protection. I would not allow THEM to have the same yoke around/on their shoulders that i’d had. i never thought I’d experience emancipation, but I did. My adoptive mom thought that anyone conceived out of wedlock was stigmatized…without relief.

    Later on, I learned from my own Lutheran pastor and my Armenian priest that this believe is false – – not based on Jesus’s teachings/actions, or anything. The sin of adultry and fornification of my parents was THEIRS, not mine. THat very second, I was cleansed – -thus, freed. I’ve never gone ‘back there’ into that dark closet.

    Let’s talk, OK? Mary L .Foess


  9. Hi Jeff, I too was very unceremoniously told I was adopted, and then told I could not tell my mother I knew. Do you know what agency or how your adoption was handled? I was in FL, Children’s Home Society…but even the state has my non-id information. It’s how Kate and Carol found my birthfamily…that and the update provided by mom to CHS when they ‘found’ her for nearly $1,000…I can’t recommend Joe Soll more highly, he’s in Congers, NY. Feel free to write me emails on Facebook but don’t post to my wall because mom and a half sis are watching. I have a very bad nonreunion story…


  10. Jeff i have just read your story. It brought tears to my eyes. My hearst goes out to you. I couldnt imagin finding out i was adopted and then not to know who my real parents were. I was 45 when i found out nearly three years ago. Though i had very loving adopted parents. I still needed to know who i was. I have a good realashionship with my birth mum. My birth dad died when he was 28. I was a woman on a mission when i found out. I couldnt concentrate on anything else but to find out who i really was. I couldnt begin to understand how hard this rollercoaster ride for you has been and still is. I hope the day will come when you know. Thinking of you hugs and hugs me x x


  11. Dear Jeff, I don’t know how I came upon your blog, but I did. It is so hard what you are going through. I looked for many years for my birthmother, with no luck. I had wonderful adopted parents who both passed away now. They always told me I was adopted, before I knew what the word meant, and special because they picked me – an excellent way to handle it. Anyway, about six months ago I read about Kinsolving Investigations – a search agency that reunites birth children to their birth parents. It is not cheap. (I have no financial affiliation with them and am not gaining anything by giving you this information, but they found my birthmother within a week!) They give you a quote up front and you do not pay anything at all until they are able to locate a living birth family member and give you good contact information. Reuniting can be a real roller coaster – mine has been difficult, but at least now I have some answers, including health history. Take care of your beautiful wife and children. Please Do Not alienate them. Don’t let your adoption discovery pull you down. We are all here for a reason. Each day is a gift – a wrapped present. It is up to us to unwrap it. Good luck with your search, and again, I highly recommend Kinsolving. They did within a week what I was unable to do in 25 years!


  12. Jeff,
    Thanks for sharing your story and your journey both when we spoke and this blog.

    You write that since learning the truth of your orgin your health has decreased. This all may be part of the process for you and an unfortunate part, however, this does not have to be permanent or get any worse. I truly believe you can and will get better.

    I know I live quite far from you however I hope we can keep in communication and if you’re interested there are many ways in which I feel I can help. As you know I am an adoptee myself. I am also in the wellness field and have been much of my life. I have many great tools that have served me well over the years and I would love to share them with you as some you may find quite useful. We can talk more about this later and continue our dialogue.

    In the meantime, what I’d like to know and I feel would be helpful for me and perhaps many others out there touched by adoption….

    Some might say that if you never knew then you could have avoided all these ailments. Despite all you are going through, the good, the bad and the ugly, the ailments and all, are you glad and thankful that you know the TRUTH? Would you give this all back to have back the health you had before knowing?

    I can tell you from my own experience and all that I’ve been through, the truth has set me free. Not without discomfort but the peace and wisdom gained on the other side is a true blessing.

    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your answer.
    Namaste, Krista


  13. Jeff

    Like others who have posted comments here, I shed some tears reading your story. And that’s really something for me – a seasoned old timer with over thirty years of search/support experience! You’re young enough to be my kid, and I’d claim you in a heartbeat! Except my ‘kid’ (who turns 49 next Sunday) was a girl and I claimed her 25 years ago this summer.

    You’re absolutely right about some families tending to have members emersed in either drugs or religion. There are addictive personalities that can run in families. My brother was an alcoholic, then went sober and later destroyed his family and finances with gambling. Another relative was a druggie and then turned into an obnoxiously flamboyant fundamentalist Christian. Two other family members are what I call “martini alcoholics.” Me? I’d be a foodaholic if I’d let myself. I have to fight it day by day, hour by hour.

    Your fundamentalist upbringing demonstrates another conclusion most of us have come to: Something happens to a whole lot of “Christians” when they involve themselves in adoption. The Biblical word “truth” flies out of their vocabulary, and they rebel against anyone who insists on it. You may have noticed that the organization which fights against our efforts to give adoptees their own personal truth, National Council For Adoption (NCFA), is made up of predominantly religious agencies. Over 78% of their member agencies are church-owned or religious-affiliated. What does that tell you about their concept of “truth?”

    With NCFA’s “Christian” member agencies, another glaring un-Christian behavior emerges. It’s perpetuating, and even encouraging, birthmothers to feel deep shame and guilt for what they’ve done. Instead of preaching healing and forgiveness through Christ, which is the basis of the Christian faith, and helping them integrate their relinquishment experience into their present lives, these churches/agencies feed yesteryear’s birthmothers shame-based psycho-babble in their press releases against us. Example: “Having a child show up on a birthmother’s doorstep would absolutely DEVASTATE her!” Why, pray tell, should she be “devastated?”
    What did she do wrong? If giving birth was so wrong, should she have had an abortion? If carrying the child to term and relinquishing him/her for adoption was so wrong, why are these institutions pushing so hard to get mothers to relinquish today? Was it having sex? Aha! That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? These women need to be PUNISHED for having sex! The price? Their babies! We’ll fix ’em! Forgiveness? Are you kidding? We need to teach ‘am a lesson!

    See? I get steamed pretty easily when the subjects of religion and adoption come together anywhere!

    And you got beat up by both, Jeff! Here’s to healing – and soon!


  14. must link you


  15. Jeff, thank you for sharing your adoption story with its intensely painful realities. It has taken you alot of courage to be so open and transparent. You truly are on a path to healing. As an adoptee who always knew they were adopted, I find that aspect of your “not knowing” most disturbing. How painful for you to discover your adoptee identity in such a oppressive environment. I pray that in the near future you will discover more truth about your beginnings and circumstances around your adoption.I also found it difficult to read that your life has been surrounded by so many “phony” Christians who have given Christianity a bad name.I am so very sorry that this was your experience,it saddens me greatly. I was blessed to have had a nurturing godly adoptive mom who showered me with the love of God and I was fortunate to know many loving and caring and supportive Christians.(and I did come across some who were “imposters” too) My family, friends and church were clueless about my inner adoptee identity struggles regarding my unknown past but they did not single me out nor treat me as an untouchable. Jeff,you never deserved that- you always have been a beautiful child and a precious person.Shame and Grace is a beautiful book by Lewis Smedes that taught me volumes about believing the truth about yourself regardless of what others have falsely labeled you. God is a Redeemer- a redeeming God, and I love the verse in Joel that says God will redeem the years the locust age away. I will believe that for you. Scripture has some beautiful stories of persons such as Joseph and Job who were treated cruelly and unfairly and who God brought to healing and wholeness. In my healing journey I have chosen the route to journal and devotions surrounding the pain I have felt and that I feel many other adoptees feel and just wrote two that my be of interest to you. “Earthquakes,Adoptees and Jesus the Solid Rock” and “Adoptee Shame and Jesus Remedy”. They can be found on Adoptees Cafe. I don’t say that they will encourage you, but they have helped me to write them in my ongoing healing journey as an adoptee. Blessings to you today and hold on to hope! Jody


  16. Jeff, I wept reading your story. You were born a year before my son whom I was forced to give up. The fact that a family can treat another member with such disrespect as some of us received, is profoundly sad.

    Thank you for sharing with me your story…. please know I will help anyway I can; even if it’s only support and sending positive energy your way that you get your answers soon!
    Hugs,
    Carol


  17. Have you ever testified? Your story is so heartbreaking. It should be told to a large
    audience.
    I think time magazine should talk to you about
    a story so they hear the other side of looking
    forever.


  18. Jeff, It’s been a pleasure to get to know you on Facebook and now so much more clearly by reading your blog. I am a first mother and am horrified how I was duped into relinquishment. My sister adopted kids and her ass of a father-in-law treats them just like your grandmother. At least if my mother made me relinquish she at least treated the adopted kids in the family with the same (?) love as the rest of the kids.
    Beni found her family, I hope you’re next. I wasn’t looking for a new group of friends but I’m glad you’re one of them!
    Barb


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  22. Dear Jeff, My name is Christina. I live in Australia. I am 47 years old. I was told at the age of 36, through a disgruntled relative after my grandmother had passed. Not being happy with there share of the estate, they decided to get back at my adoptive mother by blabbing her big secret. I have just now read your story. I feel a real kinship to you. Your feelings are a lot like the ones i still experience 11 years on. Your wife sounds so supportive. My husband is very supportive also. I do though, understand really what that detatchment feeling is, that we have from others now. The betrayal is such a thing to get over. The feelings we had growing up, never feeling quite the same, feeling judged, feeling different. How much easier would it have been for instance to be told at say 8 years of age. To accept what the situation was, and to have not gone through all the unnecessary pain that we did. I tried to look for my birth parents. My b mother had not wanted to be contacted, which I live with everyday. I did look for my birthfather, he looks like me and when i found him at 37 it was a shock to him, as he was expecting i would turn up many years before. It was comforting to look at him and think ” well, I am so glad there is someone out there I LOOK LIKE”. His wife always knew about me and has over the years welcomed me into there family, I love them very much. It has helped me – a bit. Then there is another set of problems, trying not to rub it into my adoptive family, because god knows i dont want to hurt THEIR FEELINGS. ITS A BATTLE EITHER WAY JEFF. I feel your pain, through reading your story, i feel a lot of those emotions too. I can only say, i dont think the pain goes away ever.Its been 11 years for me and i still have my days. When i do they are very dark. A bit like today, which i find myself reading someone elses story. I think to myself, these people are the only people that truly understand. I have two beautiful children. I am so glad you too have your own children. They are a comfort always. I hope in time things will get better for you, I really do. It gets a bit easier, but being told so late in life, it is life changing. It does change you. I try to love myself. I hope you do that too. You are, from what I have read, a very genuine and good person. Try to focus on the good. I hope in time your pain will ease. God bless you and your family and if you ever want to reach out to someone who knows exactly how you feel you can talk to me. christinafrzz@live.com.au — all the best for the future 🙂


  23. Great web site. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks for your effort!


  24. Hi, Jeff….I so enjoyed your blog! I am an adult adoptee, a bit older than you, born in the Buffalo area and on a frustrating search for years. A colleague of mine thought you might be helpful. I am not on Facebook. I would like to email further with you, if you would be so kind. carol-adoptions@cox.net THANKS!


  25. Jeff,

    In so many ways our stories are the same. I am 43 years old I have always, deep-down, known that I was adopted. When I confronted my mother about it years ago, she froze. She just kept asking “Why would you ask that?” But she couldn’t confirm or deny. My dad was in the hospital at the time, and she simply told me that we would discuss it when we were all together. But after that, with Dad being so sick all the time (heart disease as well) I felt guilty about bringing it up and how much it would upset them. Finally, about a year before he died, I asked my father, and he flat-out denied it… said I was not adopted, which I now know was a lie. Just this year, Ohio finally changed their law and unsealed adoption and original birth certificates to adoptees searching for them. After years of having the information kept from me, I sent a form in the mail with $20 check, and two weeks later I got my original birth certificate and adoption records. Just seeing my birth mother’s name on that sheet of paper validated what I’ve always known deep down, and illuminated years of self-doubt. For me, this is scary, but a huge step forward.

    I just want you to know that your article helped me. Finding out so late in life is a strange thing, and people are apt to wonder… Why ask now? Why didn’t you know before? But people don’t understand how much guilt and shame there is around this… how you are made to feel wrong and ungrateful just for asking and wanting to know the truth. It always felt so selfish of me to want this information when I weighed it against how it would hurt my parents feelings… especially with Dad being so sick. But now I see why all my life I have always felt, in every situation, like i was the “last one to know” or the guy what was “not in on the joke.” Separate.. apart-from.. and not whole. I believe that can change for me now. I don’t even know if my birth parents are alive. But I’m going to search. And I’m going to take my personal history into my own hands, not leave it in the hands of others. I wanted you to know that your article helped give me the strength to do that, because it helped me to feel a little less alone.



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