The Sibling I didn't know I had!
A tragic story:
Although the story of finding a sibling is a positive one, I feel it important to preface it with a sad story of losing a sibling. My brother, Todd, 21 years old, was to be the best man in my wedding on October 15, 1983. Tragically he was killed in an automobile accident in the early hours the day of the wedding. The families were informed and decisions made to continue without a best man. During the service I requested that no one take his place, that his position remain empty. After we were presented as husband and wife, I took my wife's bouquet and laid it in the place where he would have stood. Without a doubt, this was the hardest day of my life.
My Parents divorce:
Not to say that my brother's death was the reason, but it had to have put a strain on my parent's relationship. Four years after my brother's death, my parents divorced. Prior to the official date of the divorce my mother (during an Easter visit) decided to open her heart and tell me about the "skeletons" in her closet. She said, "You were not adopted," (not that I thought I were) "but you are not the oldest. There is another brother or sister out there that I gave up for adoption when I was 15 years old. Your father and I got together in high school, I had this child, gave it up for adoption, then ended up getting married a few years later to your father and had you."
This all took place in 1955 in small town Nebraska. During the last part of her pregnancy she stayed with a cousin in Portland, Oregon. She had the baby in a Catholic hospital in Portland on September 19, 1955 and was back in school [in Nebraska] a few days later. Then on January 18, 1959, my parents were married. I was born in 1960, my brother in 1962, and my sister in 1964. It wasn't until I was 27 years old that I found out that I was not the oldest.
What do I do?
Now what do I do? Do I look for this person? Does he or she want to be found? This is a full blood brother or sister! I discussed it with my sister, mother, and father. None of the three expressed reservations about trying to find this person.
At the time I was flying with a jet charter company in Dallas, TX. The company had several contracts flying rock groups (Phil Collins, Elton John, Tina Turner, Pointer Sisters, etc) on their tours. It just so happened that Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson) were going to be "hubbing" out of Portland for a few days so I finagled my way on that portion of the charter. It worked out wonderfully as I was able to spend a good amount of time talking to the cousin that my mother stayed with (during the fall of 1955). After my stay with him he told me to go home and wait for my call. You see, he still played golf with the doctor that delivered the baby and arranged the adoption.
About 10 days later I got a phone call. It was my mother. She said, "I've got something to tell you and you might want to sit down".
My mother went on to say, "I want you to meet your brother, he is on the phone right now." Boy, talk about a shock! I got so excited! My mother had made a conference call with the three of us on the same line.
I can't tell you how excited I was. His name is Pat. Not that Pat was a replacement for the brother that I lost, but after losing one sibling, I was even more aware of how special this was. I wanted to go out in the middle of the street, stopping cars, yelling, "I'VE GOT A BROTHER!" This was one of the best days of my life.
Getting to know you:
What do you say to a brother you have never met? I proceeded to tell him what it was like growing up in our family. He was more interested in whether our ancestors had hair or not. It took a little while before I realized that he had a childhood of his own complete with loving parents and four brothers all born naturally after he was adopted. He was raised as the oldest and so was I. We spent at least a week calling each other every night talking for hours (until the cartilage in my ear hurt). Both sides of the families decided to exchange pictures.
I understand that Pat's adoptive mother spent some time spreading out pictures on their living room floor. At a time when she could have had mixed feelings of Pat's news, she supported the exchange. I haven't met her yet, but already I respect her.
We exchanged pictures and decided to meet on Thanksgiving...........more to come.
One last Note:
I spent a little time detailing my efforts in finding my brother Pat. The truth is, he found us. After dealing with this issue for 31 years of his own life, he decided to find his biological mother (& father - if possible). His efforts led him to an organization called WARM - Washington Adoption Rights Movement. It was this organization that tracked down the mother.
I hope that you view this as I do: The timing of our discoveries was more than coincidence.
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Last updated on 8/26/97