Kim Cattrall’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are (U.S. version) struck home with me. As the story of Kim’s grandfather unfolded, including the discovery that he started another family, I became anxious to know whether she would contact the other family. She chose not to and I completely understand why.
For most of my life, I have known that my mom was adopted and who the identity of her biological mother. When I got interested in genealogy, I asked my mom about her biological dad. She told me the little information she knew but asked me to not do further research or try to contact him or his family until she had passed away. Now that she has passed away, I am a bit conflicted on whether I want to research who her biological father was. To be honest, I’m not even sure if I could find him with the little information I have. Part of me is curious about who this man was and whether he even knew my mom existed. But another part of me feels like his identity doesn’t really matter because all he really did was give me his DNA, rather than have a direct impact on the life of my mom. But some could argue that his absence affected her life. To research this man or not to research this man? Let me give you some back story to help you better understand my perspective:
The Back Story:
*Note: I will not disclose the name of my mom’s biological mother, even though she passed away in 2009. She will instead be referred to as ‘Biological Mom X”.
Biological Mom X discovers that she is pregnant with my mom. She was living in Seattle, Washington at the time.
Biological Mom X’s sister, Margaret (Harney) Doerflinger is living in Santa Monica, California with her husband, Max Doerflinger and their 5 children.
Biological Mom X moves to Santa Monica for the majority of her pregnancy and creates a private agreement with Margaret and Max – they agreed to adopt my mom, Sharon, and never disclose who Sharon’s biological parents are.
My mom always knew that she was adopted, but while she was growing up, she had no idea who her biological parents were. When my mom was a teenager, she was finally told the truth about who her biological mother was. She was shocked to learn that the woman she had been raised to think was her aunt, was actually her mother.
My mom was always very adamant about her parents being the people who raised her rather than the people who gave her DNA. She felt honored to be “given” the Doerflinger last name – so much so, that when she got married, she kept her last name and when I was born, she gave me her last name.
But even still, I believe my mom was always yearning for acknowledgement from Biological Mom X – but that never happened. It was made strictly clear to never mention or acknowledge Biological Mom X as anything other than an aunt. I’d imagine this was because Biological Mom X felt ashamed to have a baby out-of-wedlock in a time where that was unacceptable. I don’t think she wanted a mother-daughter relationship with Biological Mom X since she already had that relationship with the woman who raised her.
All I Know… is Not Much
All I have about who the biological father of my mom is a name, nickname, occupation, and that he was married with two sons who were possibly teenagers. That is all I know. I have no idea where he lived exactly (although I can make a guess that it was near where Biological Mom X lived in late 1958 when my mom was conceived). If he was married, I have no idea what his wife’s name was or who his kids were. I don’t even know if the information I have is correct. I have a feeling that there is at least more than one grain of truth in this information – but where the truth is, I don’t know.
To Research or Not to Research?
I don’t even know if I feel comfortable researching my mom’s biological father. It almost feels like a slap in the face to the man who chose to go through the parental duties and love my mom as any parent loves their child. I don’t want to turn my back on the man who will forever in my eyes be my grandfather – no matter what DNA says.
But I also can’t help but have this looming curiosity about my mom’s biological father. The first thing that comes to mind is learning more about his health because that could have an impact on my own health. But I also wonder about what he looked like and what kind of person he was. Did my mom have his incredible blue eyes? Was he tall? Was he stubborn? Was he smart? Did he have siblings? Did he have other children? Did he even know my mom existed?
So I guess my question is still unanswered. To research or not to research?
What are your thoughts? Please share them below in the comments section or feel free to shoot me an email.