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Updated: October 15, 2018 

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Posted: 8/5/2009
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

"I found out when I was 16 that my Dad had been married and divorced before he married my mother, and that I had a half-brother 8 years older than I. (I believe his birth name was Dave and he was born near Missoula, Montana). At that time, I also had one full brother, Kurt, who was 3 years younger than I. My Dad had always wanted contact with his first son, but apparently his divorce was bitter, and all attempts he made to see his son or establish a relationship were ignored. When I was 20, my father died from emphysema, and my mother was bitter. At that time said she no longer wanted to meet his first son, since he hadn't responded to contact attempts when my Dad was alive. My Dad did leave a small inheritance to his first son, and the lawyers who executed his will managed to successfully locate him to inform him of the inheritance. If for no other reason, at that time, I was curious about my "other" brother, but I didn't want to "make waves" or upset my Mom.

"Since my half brother is 8 years my senior, I've always had the impression that he knew about me and my brother Kurt. I felt he could have contacted us if he'd wanted to know us. I also had some hesitation because we heard that when he was in his 30's, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name or perhaps a step-father, if she'd remarried. I've tried off and on over the years to find information about him, but without success. Last September, my brother, Kurt, was killed in a motor scooter accident in Texas near his home. My mother is 89 and lives with me in Oregon now, and now she understands why I am becoming more anxious to find out if my half-brother is alive, and what kind of person he is. I don't have very much family - I was only briefly married once, and have no kids. Other than my brother's widow, Karen, and her son Max, I really have no other close family, and they are not really 'close' in some ways. I guess I'm feeling pretty alone and vulnerable, and time keeps marching on."

When Ilona decided to make her search a priority, she sent this email to Search Quest America. Her case was assigned to Julie Jones, who solved it in only a matter of days--that was Ilona's first surprise. The second was to learn that contrary to what she had believed her entire life, her brother had no idea she existed. What she perceived as rejection of her father's attempts to reach out to him was in fact ignorance of his existence. Throughout his childhood years, his mother shielded him from his fathers attempt to contact him. He never received a single one of the birthday cards or Christmas gifts his father sent over the years. When Julie contacted him, he was thrilled to learn that he had a sister, and eagerly called her that same day. Recently, Ilona sent the following update:

"Just thought I'd get back to you. Thank you so much for finding my brother! Bud (he has had that nickname since he was little) and I have talked on the phone many times now, and he flew here to Oregon from Colorado Springs June 1 - June 9 and stayed with my Mom and I. We had a great time, and I now feel I really have a lot more family! I've got another 'sister', and I'm an aunt and great-aunt! He and his wife will have been married 40 years this coming November. All my friends say they can see a definite resemblance between us. I think this has been really good for him, too, because his mother never told him anything positive about our Dad, and in fact, led him to believe that Dad had no interest in him after his divorce from Bud's Mom. He had no idea that my mom and dad tried repeatedly over the years to establish contact, and sent gifts/cards, etc. on birthdays, Xmas. He was never aware of any of their attempts. So I think a lifelong wound inside him finally has a chance to heal now. Thanks for all your help Julie, I couldn't have done it without you!"


(Written by Mica Burton on Ilona's behalf)

Client ID# 242279
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