I know I’ve been quiet for a while except for one teasing Facebook status update that was a little premature because I hadn’t digested the news and at that point it was still very surreal….
I was notified by phone by the Benevolent Society’s Post Adoption Resource Centre (PARC) to say they have contacted a man they believe ‘could’ be my birthfather. I was flabbergasted for several reasons:
- A man? How could this be so, I never gave them a name, only the details my birthmother gave at the time of my adoption.
- I only ever put my attention to finding my birthmother, not my birthfather. Not because I didn’t want to know who he was but he so much older and the likely hood of finding him alive diminished as every year passed.
- He’s from one of the wealthiest families in Australia (although I had never heard of him).
PARC did tell me they haven’t actually spoken to him. After two letters and a follow up phone call they were contacted by his Lawyer who told them he refuses to help PARC with enquiries.
PARC said it’s now up to me to contact him as I’m not bound by any privacy issues, and I did, I sent the following email.
Hello Mr X,
I’m writing to you in the hope that you can help me find a women of interest to me, a woman who gave her name as Anne Watkins in 1960/61 and whom is my birth mother. However, it appears she as given a misleading surname but I assume Anne is her first name or middle name. Thankfully, Anne provided in-depth information about herself and of my birth father.
My search for Anne commenced immediately following confirmation that I was adopted, I was 21. That search has continued for over 32 years but in that time I have concentrated my efforts mostly on Anne but over the years with more information becoming available through changes to Legislation and the internet, more information has come to light about my birth father and this is why I have contacted you as I believe you can help uncover some of the missing pieces, especially about Anne.
Firstly, a little about myself:
I was born in Camperdown NSW on the 9th January 1961 and immediately adopted by an amazing couple. My father died when I was 20 years old and my mother when I was 30. It was my father’s death that resulted in the confirmation of my adoption as certain paperwork was found.
“I must add here that my search is not about replacing my parents, I adore them and miss them terribly. They provided me with a wonderful childhood. But as an adopted adult not knowing who gave me life and my genetic makeup leaves a very large gap in one’s life and that can only be filled by knowing who and where one comes from (as cliché as that sounds, it’s very true). Not to mention every time I meet with a Dr I’m asked about my medical history, it upsets me more and more as I get older. And the most disturbing fact is that the older I get, the older my birth parents get and the chances of meeting them diminishes with every year. I have always envied anyone who can look into the face of a relative and recount a common features or talent. Although I can do that with my children and grandchildren, I don’t know where those features or talent came from.“
Please be assured this email has not been prompted because of your prominent standing in the community but a genuine plea for help in this matter. Please respond to this email or you can call me on [mobile number]. I’m happy to come to Melbourne to speak to you personally if that is what you would prefer.
It’s not everyday you get to write an email like this so I find myself reading it every now and again wondering if I could have said more or less.
If he’s not my birth father wouldn’t you think someone, anyone, including his Lawyer would call to tell PARC they have the wrong man so they can turn their attention elsewhere? But no, after a follow-up phone call asking his secretary if Mr X received my email, I received the following email from the Lawyer within 10 minutes:
Dear Ms Leigh,
I have been notified that you contacted the Mr X this morning making further enquiries. Can you kindly refrain from contacting or trying to contact Mr X any further.
As I have previously advised you, Mr X cannot assist you.
We trust that you will now direct your enquiries elsewhere and not endeavour to contact Mr X again.
Firstly, Mr Lawyer, I’ve never been told he can’t assist me because this is my first email and maybe he can’t assist me – but why didn’t he tell PARC he can’t assist because it’s not him. From what PARC told me, he refused to assist – two very different things in my book.
My reply email to the Lawyer
I find it rather curious that Mr X is getting his Lawyer to relay
this email when it’s a personal matter not a legal one. And I have
never been informed by Mr X that he cannot help me.
And the response:
Dear Ms Leigh,
I am not going to quibble with you.
Kindly leave Mr X alone. If you persist any further in trying to contact Mr X, then it will need to be treated as a harassment matter.
Really? Harassment? Not to mention his condescending comment about not quibbling with me. I’ve only sent 1 email and 1 follow up phone call, that hardly constitutes harassment. He must be counting the letters and phone calls from PARC.
What is surprising me the most is that I had no qualms calling my Brother’s birthmother uncovering her secret after 58 years. I even found his half-sister on Ancestry.com and Facebook, although it wasn’t me who contacted her and spilled the beans on her Mother’s secret – so why am I so worried about doing the same in my own case, after all what do I have to lose?