Friends for 6 Decades Find out They are Brothers
By: Mindy Jensen
When I was a little girl, I had a dear friend that I wished was somehow my sister. So silly, right? We would pretend about it all the time. Can you imagine after 60 years, finding out that a friend from 6th grade was actually your sibling? This is exactly what happened to two men in Hawaii just before Christmas.
Walter had never known his father, and Alan was placed in what I assume was a closed adoption. Although they played football together and even Cribbage for years, they didn’t know they actually had the same biological mother. Hearing them talk about those memories together was awesome. I giggled hearing one brother call the other “the partier!” Ha! Such a brother thing to say!
Walter had searched for years for his father without any further information. His family would help him look through websites and try to find connections. It wasn’t until they used DNA testing from the popular Ancestry.com website that Walter discovered he had identical x chomosones with someone. After reaching out, the two long-time friends realized they were really long-lost brothers…and with similar features like hairy forearms!
This is such a wonderful and heartwarming story, but I could not help but wonder how their lives would have been different had openness been in place from the beginning. Would their bond have been the same? Would their connect have been deeper? Was there sorrow or loneliness where comfort could have been?
Research has shown us that “adoptees who have contact (in varying levels and forms) with their birth family are more satisfied with their adoption than those who do not and that adoptees with higher levels of satisfaction (not the level of contact) had better adjustment rates among adopted adolescents and young adults.”
If you have been thinking about adoption and wondering if open adoption is right for you, here are some questions to honestly think about and answer:
- How often am I willing to share updates with the child’s birth family?
- In what ways am I willing to share updates? (Telephone, Text, Pictures)
- Am I willing to keep my promises of communication/updates with the birth family?
- Do I want my child to have a relationship with their birth family?
- Do I want my child to know what their birth parents look like?
- Am I willing to talk to my child about and help them make meaning of contact with their birth family?
- How might sharing updates or having visits affect me and my child?
- Do I want my child to have ready access to their biological family? Medical information? Biological siblings?
- Do I want my child to be able to ask their birth parents questions about why they chose adoption?
- What do I do if the relationship gets difficult? Am I willing to put the effort into the relationship even if it does get difficult?
- How will I react if my child wants more or less contact as they get older?
- Do I feel like I need my adoption professional to mediate this new relationship?
To talk to someone about open adoption or to learn more about different types of open adoption, check out our Open Adoption Quick Facts section.