So you have submitted your DNA test, found several close matches and tracked down either your father or his family members. Congratulations!!!
Now here comes the hard part. Reunification.
In my experience with both the adoptee community and the Amerasian community, this step is always the hardest part. It stems from a primal fear of rejection, and this is a completely normal feeling, and justified. You were abandoned or had some circumstance that separated you from your family.
The most common questions you have are:
- Did you know about me?
- Did you think about me?
- What do you remember about my mother?
- If you knew about me, why did you leave me?
These are tough questions, and something that should be reserved after initial introductions. Although they are completely valid, you must proceed with caution and sensitivity. I can tell you what your father or family are thinking if they did not know about your existence.
- Is this a joke?
- Is this some sort of scam?
- How do I know this is real?
- How did they find me?
- What do they want from me?
- Do they just want money?
These are the most common initial feelings from a father or family member who just learned they had a stranger find them claiming to be related.
In all of the cases that I have worked on for other Amerasians, we have had one 1 successful reunion. This saddens me because these families don’t know what they are missing!!
The reality of this is there is a high chance that if you are Amerasian, your American family will reject you, or seem curious initially, but never come to fully accept you in their lives. This is the shameful outcome of most Amerasians, but not all. Until you actually approach your found family, you will never know the outcome. Please don’t ever give up hope, there have been many wonderful and loving reunions. Check out our Videos Page for all these success stories to inspire you and give you hope!
I had my own feelings of this when my brother Dung reached out to me the first time. I hate to admit that, but it is true, and my fear was validated after contacting my younger brother who received the same message on Ancestry. We needed some time to process this news and ask around to see how legit these claims were. After all, how could our father have known and never done anything about it? Why had he never mentioned this possibility? Did he even know?
Once we took a look at the situation together, we realized it was very real. We had a brother who no one knew about!! While my younger brother proceeded with much caution, I dove in head first into a relationship with my new brother. I instantly loved him and his entire family. The rest of our father’s family were told much later about him, and sadly, they were not as responsive. This hurts my heart straight to my soul, but I cannot make my family accept our brother. I just continue to pray they will come around.
My best advice to you, if you found your American family:
- If your English is not that good, find a friend who speaks very good English who can be an interpreter or liaison between you and your family. Or contact us, we can help with this also!
- Stick to the facts, share your name, where you are from, the year you were born, where you lived before coming to the US (unless you are still there).
- Make sure you have taken your DNA test and tell them exactly how you matched with their relatives and how you have determined your relationship to them.
- If you are unsure how you are related to them, state that you are just trying to find your father or any siblings or other relatives. Ask if they could help you figure out who your father is. Some times they will help out of curiosity, a challenge, and to feel good that they can help someone out.
- If the subject comes up, be clear of what you want from them. If you want to just know who they are, would like photos, medical history, or if you would like to get to know them and be acknowledged. The more straight you are with them, the quicker they can process and over come their initial shock and fear.
If you are unfortunately met with confusion and rejection, be polite and ask if they would be interested in taking a DNA test (unless they have already). The goal is to keep the communication lines open. Suggest that you can call back later or another day. You don’t want to hit them hard at this point, tread carefully! Try to give them your phone number or email address. This way they can contact you after they had some time and are comfortable talking more about this.
If some time has passed, try again. See if they would be willing to talk to you or a liaison or friend. If you need help in this situation, please reach out to us here at War Babies. We have been there, we know the strong emotions that go along with this process and can help.
The worst outcome is your father or his family rejects your existence and no longer wishes to communication at all with you. This is the hardest thing to accept, but just know this part isn’t about you at all!! If this happens, your father or his family simply lack the coping skills to deal with this type of situation. They have their own fears and may feel like too much time has passed to begin a new relationship. It may stir many feelings of shame, fear, embarrassment that they cannot deal with. In some cases, they were married before going to war and if their wife is still alive and with them, it could cause friction in their marriage, as the wife would be terribly upset at the infidelity.
No matter the outcome of reaching out to your father or family, just know that you are not alone and never give up hope that some day your American family will accept you. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people just like you and facing the same situation. War Babies will be here for you if you need them.