Ask Amy: Adoption disclosure reveals siblings

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • June 7, 2013 - 1:23 PM

Dear Amy: I was adopted as an infant and blessed with wonderful parents and an ideal childhood. The only thing missing was a sibling — I’ve always wanted a brother or sister. My parents always told me that my birth parents were a married couple who didn’t want to have children.

After my parents’ deaths, I found my birth parents. They are still married. I wrote asking for family medical information. They responded with a short letter giving me some basic medical information, which I appreciated.

They said they were relieved to know I’d had a good life and mentioned that less than two years after I was born they had another daughter, followed by two sons.

This was a shock, to say the least. Because of the undertone of fear in my birth mother’s letter, I do not believe my birth siblings know of my existence.

Many of my family and friends believe my birth siblings have a right to know they have another sister. I am not so sure. All of us are in our late 50s or early 60s. I do not know these people, and we have no history together.

I am satisfied to have some questions answered and blanks filled in. I don’t know this family’s dynamics.

I have no desire to do anything to hurt my birth parents.

Do my birth siblings have a right to know about me?

Amy says: I do believe that these siblings have a “right” to know that they have another sibling out in the world, and I also believe that you have a right to know, or not know, these people if you choose.

This should be completely up to you. No one else in your world has a “right” to tell you how to feel or what to do about such a complicated issue, and you will need to affirm this, firmly.

The most logical and compassionate way to approach this would be to contact your birth parents and pose these questions to them. After all, they volunteered information about siblings when you first contacted them.

Obviously, there are some personal risks associated with this contact, but the rewards are potentially wonderful and affirmative for everyone.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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