I've been adopted at early age and have no recollection of my biological parents. My adoptive parents have told me at a young age that I was adopted. Because this fact became integrated into my life so early on, it was a very normal subject for me to talk about openly.

Even so, I've never had much interest in finding out more about my biological family until recently. Because I am considering migrating to the other side of the world, I've felt the need to get touch with my biological family now that it's still somewhat easier to do so.

My biological mother left me a letter stating that she doesn't want me to come looking for her. Given her reasons, I want to respect her request. However, I want to know if I have any siblings, because I was raised as an only child. So, I got in touch with my country's official institution for lineage questions.

They have been very professional about handling the situation. I have learned that I indeed have one half-sister, who is of legal adult age in my country. So, in my opinion, she has the right to know of my existence (if she doesn't already), even without my biological mother's consent. Also, I have the right (as per European Union laws, I was told) to know who my biological mother and half-sister are.

Now, a potential problem has presented itself. The institution, who mediates all communication, has informed my biological mother of my intentions. They did this to inform my mother of my intentions, and present her with the opportunity to tell my half-sister herself, if she hadn't done so already. While I expected that she did, it turns out she didn't. That means that my half-sister is soon to learn about something that has been kept hidden from her for her entire life, approximately 25 years.

The truth-bomb that is this revelation and the emotional impact that it can cause has made me doubt if I really should be doing this. The institution has re-assured me that I'm not at fault here, and I am still fully within my rights. Still, it makes me feel like a bad guy. At any rate, the information is going to come out soon, even if my mother decides not to tell my half-sister herself. The institution will contact my half-sister personally to further progress my case.

My goal with the institution is to make my half-sister aware of my existence, and let her know that I am open to contact if she wishes so. I'm leaving this in her hands, basically, but I feel at least she has the right to know.

Now, assuming she reaches out to the institution and agrees to a (neutral environment, institution-supervised) meeting, what are the pitfalls I should watch out for when engaging in conversation with my half-sister? I have absolutely no idea what it's like to have a sibling, let alone how to talk to one who only recently learned I exist.

I'm actually dreading a meeting, but at the same time hoping she agrees to one.

  • 6
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about starting a relationship between two adults. It is not a parenting question.
    – Becuzz
    Apr 5, 2017 at 15:01
  • @Becuzz I did check for other stacks, read this stack's help section, and searched on meta. I found this meta question which led to me asking my question here. Apr 5, 2017 at 15:05
  • I really feel for you Marc, but I have to agree that this question is not for this particular site. Have you tried searching for other sites of adoption or meeting biological relatives?
    – WRX
    Apr 5, 2017 at 15:07
  • 1
    Okay, I Googled 'meeting biological half sibling' and got numerous hits. I suggest you try that and see if anything pans out for you. Good luck -- seriously. I hope this works out well for you.
    – WRX
    Apr 5, 2017 at 15:18
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    @Willow I found Parenting because I'm also member of many other Stacks. My searches usually start on SE, not on Google (though admittedly it usually involves programming, not a lineage question). Thanks anyways. Apr 5, 2017 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


While she is indeed your sibling, she is not your sister. Yet.

The main piece of advice I can give you is to treat her like a stranger (which she is) and get to know her.

You might find you have a lot in common. You might not have anything. The only way to find out is to talk to her, first as another human being.

I myself have a sister who was given up for adoption before I was born. On hearing she was adopted on her 18th birthday, she sought out her birth parents and a meeting was arranged.

It was awkward and it was difficult. For everyone. The drive home with my parents was perhaps the most silent drive I've ever had in my life. It's nearly a decade later and I still don't have the same relationship with her as I do with my other siblings but I do regard her as my sister.

Good luck.


I am going to answer this from a parent's perspective (not a sister's).

You say your biological mother is in a country half-way around the world. I presume, then, that she is in a totally different culture than ours. Perhaps one which still regards sex before marriage as scandalous. Perhaps one which holds honor in high regard (even if it's only superficial, the appearance of honor.)

Your mother gave you up for adoption, leaving you with her wishes about being found. It's probably for the above reasons. Think not only of what's in it for you, but of the harm you can do to her and your half-family. How will you feel if her husband mistreats or leaves her upon discovery of the fact that she had a child?

I would never have thought this way if it didn't happen to a close friend of my son. He found his biological mother (who also didn't want to be found), and contacted her. She agreed to meet him, but insisted he remain secretive about his true identity. She hosted him for two weeks, and he remained "a visiting student from the United States" to everyone who asked.

He came back a different person. He was depressed for years (I'm not making this up. I wish I were.) At one point, he required hospitalization for his depression. He didn't have a job for years, then took a job in a foreign country away from everyone he knew, also for years. As if the issue of abandonment at birth wasn't enough, he was being 'abandoned' all over again. She also didn't approve of his Western ways. She was ashamed of him. He wishes now that he had never met his mother.

This may be closed as off-topic, which is fine, but I wanted to share this perspective with you.

I sincerely wish you all the luck in your pursuits.

  • 1
    While the answer itself isn't bad, I need to point out that my biological mother and I are currently living in the same country, and are of the same etnicity and culture. In my question I mentioned the reason I'm reaching out now is because I want to migrate. I think you misunderstood that part, which was fundamental to your answer. Apr 5, 2017 at 16:55
  • Oh! lol, I didn't think of that. :) If it's OK with you, I'll leave it up for someone else who might find it on Googling. Apr 5, 2017 at 16:58
  • Yeah, no worries. But, personally, I can't +1 it, it wasn't really useful to me. (no downvote, though, of course). Apr 7, 2017 at 8:50

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