How likely is it that your father is waiting for you to contact him?
Your father may not be the person he used to be. He may have 'grown up' at last
He may never have forgotten you - yet he may never have felt able to discuss this 'secret' with anyone
He may be hoping for a second chance with all the joy fatherhood can bring
He may regret his actions back then. He may have felt guilty for all this time
He may have dreamt of having the opportunity to hold you in his arms (again)
He may have tried to find you
He may have done the very best he could to stay in touch
He may not have wanted to try and establish a relationship with you for fear of rejection (yes, I understand you may find that a lame excuse!)
Why you could be in for a shock
You may have already thought about the following 'surprises'. But just in case...
You father may...
have established another family who don't know about his past - and he may not want them to find out
have done his utmost to forget you, and won’t want to be reminded of the past
not be mature enough to see the see the wonderful opportunity to heal your wounds - and his and your mother’s
insist he never knew your mother
There’s also a very real possibility that you may have built him up and, despite all your best intentions, you may feel disappointed if he doesn’t meet your expectations after all.
Just do your research, stay positive and keep alive the dream and determination to find your father
Do your research!
I'm going to help you get started in your search with this free fillable PDF download. You can fill in all the information you find and keep it safe.
I've also included a few links to further resources at the bottom of this article, including a people search programme review.
When the meeting, or reunion, is a happy one
If you do find your father, and he’s happy to see you, you’re in for a rollercoaster ride! There will be positives - and negatives. So here’s what you can expect...
A ‘honeymoon’ period in the relationship with him
You may well idealise and idolise him (but these are potentially negative things, so be aware!)
You’re likely to be introduced to a whole new family, and meet an array of previously unknown relatives
You may feel a sense of finally ‘coming home’ and finding the missing pieces (including information about any health issues)
A (re)connection with yourself - that part of you that you didn’t know
Long and meaningful (but sometimes painful) conversations about the family history
The sheer joy of seeing your features reflected in their appearance
Getting answers to most if not all of your questions
I hope you'll enjoy this emotional story...
Don’t forget to remind yourself of who raised you, though. Who took you to the sports hall or music lessons? Who rescued you when you were left stranded? Who provided you with a roof over your head and food on your plate? Even if you had a difficult (or near impossible) relationship with a step- or adoptive parent - mother or father - you can still honour their contribution to the person you’ve become. And you can remind your biological father that someone was there for you.
The negatives, or rather... points of potential growth
If you do find your father, you may need to prepare yourself for...
A sense of awkwardness and disconnection when you first meet, which might not ease with time
The realisation that your new family is like any other family with its own trouble and strife
Potential jealousy of other members of the family
A potentially jealous partner if your dad (and perhaps his family) is all you can talk about, and all your love, care and attention are directed towards them
Having to deal with two sides of the story - your mum’s and your dad’s
Disappointment if he turns out not to be what you’d hoped
A lingering doubt… “Is he really my father…?” (In this case, you might want to consider a paternity test - although approach with caution because that can be a minefield of its own.)
How to prepare yourself
I know you'd rather feel confident, but it's totally understandable and absolutely normal under the circumstances to feel scared about…
what to say when you meet
not finding him
not being good enough
feeling rejected (again)
discovering that he has died
feeling let down since you’ve built him up
Looking for and finding - or not finding - your biological father is a massive deal. So of course you’ll be feeling all kinds of emotions right now!
Perhaps you already have a speech prepared for when (if) you do finally meet him. It’s possibly even been prepared in the back of your mind for years!
Be aware that the emotions can be so overwhelming that you may well forget to ask the questions that are important to you, or you might react in ways you later regret. The same counts for your father of course. You’re both likely to feel very vulnerable.
So here’s how you can prepare yourself for when you find your biological father:
Allow yourself to feel the emotions - and remember that they won’t last
Be prepared with gentle prods to deal with any potential ‘excuses’ as to why he hasn’t contacted you
Rehearse your answers if it helps you to feel better (but expect to forget them!)
Expect it to take time to get comfortable with each other
Expect that at least some of your extended family members will need time to accept you. Some may never, but that says something about them - not you.
Prepare yourself for the possibility that your father may seem less than pleased to see you (although the chances are that you’d get a hint of that prior to actually meeting him). See my article on dealing with rejection.
Remind yourself that you are unique in this world - there is no one else like you. You came here to share your unique talents - great and small - for the greater good and your own happiness. If it turns out that your dad doesn’t want to know - don’t blame yourself! It’s not your fault - and it’s his loss...
3 Tips for partners
Do all you can to support your partner during their search. If your partner has never known their father, that longing to meet him isn’t something that’s ‘just cropped up’. Even if your partner has only just found out, it can’t be ‘undone’. The need to see him is very likely to always remain.
If your partner or spouse has just found out, he or she is likely to feel as if their legs have been cut from under them. They’ll be grieving for the life they had. Why? To discover that the man you thought was your dad isn’t your dad can mean that everything else that’s happened can’t be trusted. Nothing seems ‘real’ anymore - it’s ‘all’ been a lie. Expect that to take a long time to settle.
If your partner finds their biological dad, it may be that for a while you’re ditched from being the most important person in their life! That will pass - but they’ll still need your support and understanding throughout.
There’s nothing else to do, but research. Just trust your inner wisdom and let it happen.