It is my feeling that Time ripens all things; with Time all things are revealed; Time is the father of truth. ~Francois Rabelais
If you were adopted or otherwise separated from your Birth Father, you may be wondering how best to make contact again? According to Andrew Galloway, a former Intermediary of NORCAP, the way you contact a Birth Father may well define success or failure. RecordClick is pleased that Mr. Galloway has reached out to us and to our readers to share his thoughts and recommendations on making contact with a Birth Father.
RC: How is contacting a Birth Father different from contacting a Birth Mother?
AG: When Mothers give birth to a child, they know it is theirs. Fathers have no such guarantee, thus you need to be as certain as possible that you are approaching the correct person. Your adoption or birth record may have stated a father; check this with your mother, as sometimes false details were given to protect the true identity.
RC: Once you have the contact information, what should you do?
AG: Once you receive the research result, you need to be completely certain that you have the correct person by knowing his date of birth is correct? When you have a name, address, phone number and perhaps email, you need to decide which contact you will use. You might want to use the telephone to get a quick answer. You may feel that you don’t think well on your feet, so you prefer using email. You might even be tempted to drive over and knock on the door, figuring you can get your answer in a half an hour.
None of the above are recommended. For best results, use an intermediary (a third person who specializes in theses reunions) who is used to dealing with this kind of approach. If you do need to make the contact yourself, consider the following.
- Approaches to Birth Fathers are always difficult and raise certain questions:
- Does he know of your existence?
- Does he know your name?
- Has he told his current wife-partner?
- Has he told his other children?
If the answer to any of the above is NO, then he will need time to consider his position. That may well mean he has a lot of explaining to do to his family before having any contact with you.
RC: What do you suggest is the best approach to making contact with a Birth Father?
AG: A letter by snail mail will give him time to think and plan. How you craft your letter is important. Each topic can be a paragraph and should be salient points, not complete descriptions. It needs to be written as a concise but flowing letter. A rambling one will get him lost, and a list of statements will not give encouragement. Your letter to him should show that you are the person you claim to be. Enclosing a copy of your birth certificate (and marriage if applicable) is a good idea.
You need to tell him why you want contact with him. He might just think you are after some of his money! You need to tell him about yourself, so he knows you are a person he would like to know. Include a brief description of yourself, including height, weight, hair, eyes, and also things you enjoy doing, such as sports or other activities. Let him know what schooling you have had, whether you attended a college or university, as well as other qualifications you have garnered. Describe your job or career and other interests in your life. If you are contacting a Birth Father to find more about your medical history, then explain that you or your children have a medical condition, and that knowing your medical history may help with handling the diagnosis.
It is important that you assure him that if none of his family know about you, and he can’t or won’t tell them about you, then you will be satisfied with a letter, a secret meeting, or a telephone call. However, you can certainly add that you would like to meet his family, if that is possible. You can ask questions about things you would like to know about him, but be sure not to make him feel guilty about what happened in the past.
Keep in mind, he may have a lot of explaining to do to his present family; if he decides to do so, then he may expect you to continue building a relationship with them all. You should not approach him if you have no intention of keeping up the contact, even if you feel very little for him.
You have all his details, so give all of yours to him (hiding them will make him suspicious), including your postal address. Include something like, “Because I would be grateful for your response either way, I have included my contact information.”
Be prepared – the response you receive may be that he is not the person you are looking for. You will have to accept this. There are many people sharing the same names and/or dates of birth, so this may well be true, unless you can agree DNA testing. Even a mother may not be 100% certain who the father is of her child.
For those of you interested in finding birth parents, consider contacting a professional genealogist at RecordClick. Our company’s genealogical researchers know the best way to find biological parents.
NORCAP was a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting adults affected by adoption by providing a broad range of specialist adoption support services for people 18 years of age or older. It was also a registered Adoption Support Agency and Intermediary Agency. NORCAP ceased operations in early 2013.
Photo courtesy Nancy Siddons-Daniels 2004