Posted: May 17, 2010 in Family Ties - relationships
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Have you every had something happen to you or you were in a situation that almost seemed surreal?  It so catches you off guard that you are left wondering… almost speechless?  At times, life’s curveballs have caught me square between the eyes.  I had something happen a couple of days ago that was exactly this sort of thing. It so caught me off guard that I really didn’t know how to respond.  It was the “surfacing” of something that was so personal, so deep, so much an integral part of who I am that when it did happen, my emotions went crazy – anger, tears, bitterness, joy, sorrow, happy, fear… in all what seemed like a very short amount of time.  Whew!  If there was anyway to make my emotions get “sea sick”… I think I just found it!  Anyway, here’s my story –

I am almost 43 years old – adopted as a toddler by the man who would marry my mom when they were both about 21.  He raised me as his own and in fact, I didn’t even find out/realize that I was “adopted” until I turned 17!  My “dad”, my mom, my younger brother and two younger sisters… just one big family.  It wasn’t until I was almost out of high school that I was told about my adoption, I was given some basic information about my biological father and family, briefly what happened and why, etc.  I was told that my birth last name was Petrucci (Italian); which was changed to Peters… it was easier to spell, pronounce, etc.  My mom and bio-dad (Ralph) had a young relationship and his lifestyle took a turn that greatly concerned my mom. She refused to allow me to be raised in that kind of environment.

I’ve never met Ralph.  No pictures – no family connection – no contact.  I don’t think that he has ever seen me either.  My mom and he split while she was still pregnant with me.  As I became an adult, periodically, my mom would ask me if I had any interest in finding my biological father.  To be honest with you… my answer every time was “no”.  Inside I had no emotional connection and no desire to “muddy” things up.  My adopted dad was my “dad” as far as I was concerned.  Those feelings were even more set firmly in me when I was told that he (Ralph) was involved in some “activities” that landed him in jail.  Nope – I didn’t want anything to do with that.  Besides, if I did connect with him, then what?  Betray my adopted dad?  Loyalty was going to win out on this one.

As the years progressed however, I felt inside that something was missing in the core being of who I was.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew that there was a hole that I didn’t know how to fill.  When I accepted Jesus in 1998 and became a Christian, I began learning about the “seed” of rejection and how powerfully negative this “seed” had been in my life.  But, still, I wasn’t sure where it had come from.  As time continued to move, my wife periodically would ask me about trying to find my biological father.  And still my response was “no”.  I had absolutely no desire.  I remember at times I would think “He’s not my ‘dad’” – “He was just the sperm donor” – “It takes a real man to be a dad.”  I’m just being honest here.

Then a couple of years ago, I read a book called “The Father’s Blessing”.  It spoke on the importance of fathers passing on the inheritance to their son’s – not tangible inheritance specifically, but more importantly the inheritance of what it means to be a “real” man… a Godly man – in the home, workplace, relationships in general and just life!  It was then that I realized what I was missing – this “inheritance”.  It has been only a couple of years ago at the most now that I began praying to God for this “inheritance”.  In fact, I remember asking God to be the “father” I needed.  I felt as though I didn’t really have a healthy example of what it meant to be a dad, husband and man of God. By now, you’re probably wondering about my adopted dad… well, he tried – really, he did.  I learned much from him and I love him dearly, but Vietnam did a number on him emotionally, spiritually and mentally.  He was just not able to give me what I really needed to help me to be a whole and healthy man in body, mind and spirit.  I needed love, acceptance and genuine hope for the future.

So, what does this all have to do with what happened to me recently that “hit me square between the eyes”?  Out of the “blue”, I received a phone call from a man who said that he was related to my biological father!  He was Ralph’s (my biological father) sister’s son.  I called him back and we talked for a few.  He told me that on my father’s side, I was the oldest of four.  I actually have two younger sisters and a younger brother on his side of the family.  I was stunned and speechless.  Up to this point, I had it in my head that literally no one existed on that side of the family.   He said that they had been looking for me for a very, very long time – years.  He mentioned a few other family member’s names that I obviously didn’t know who they were.  I called my mom and verified and validated names.  It was all real.  Wow!  I began feeling a stirring in my spirit that a time of healing was coming for me and my family!  Emotions that I had buried deep in me began to come out – sorrow, pain, joy, hope.  Then, just a few days ago, the biggest shocker of them all came.  Checking my voicemail, Ralph Peters, my biological father had called and left a message.  “This is Ralph Peters, your biological father.  I’m sorry this is the first time I’ve tried to call you.  Please call me back son.”  Here is another “honest” moment for me… the feelings and emotions that surfaced at that moment were not joyous.  I felt anger, bitterness and pain swell up in my heart.  And I remember even telling myself “How dare he call me ‘son’”.  I had to catch myself, because I had not ever recognized feeling that way before.   After awhile, when my emotions settled abit, I realized that this was the next step in God answering my prayer.  Healing was coming.  I needed to call him back.  What do you say to someone you know you need to talk too – there’s obviously an unspoken bond between us.  I was a bit nervous.  Truth be told, I didn’t call him back for a couple of days.  I talked with my mom and my wife – more just to validate and help make “real” all that was unfolding.  I felt excited, yet hesitant.

I finally did call him back.  Our conversation was relatively short.  I think we both felt a bit awkward.  How do you make up for 43 years in two minutes?  However, I definitely was much calmer and at peace than after I listened to his message the first time. Then, it got real interesting.  It just so happens that I had been planning on flying down to L.A. at the beginning of June with my mom to see my niece’s graduation.  Most of my mom’s side of the family still live in the L.A. basin area…. And so does Ralph Peters.  Somehow he found out that my mom and I were coming down and he asked if we would meet him for dinner. My first thought was, “Is this a good and healthy thing?”  I was a bit hesitant, but a great peace came over me and I agreed.  I know that if the healing is going to come, meeting him face to face is a necessary part of the process.  He seemed eager to connect, saying that he’s thought about me everyday for the last 40 years and he is very happy that I am doing well.  I know we have to start somewhere.  So, the adventure continues.  I am so looking forward to the healing process that will take place in our hearts – even if it’s a little painful at times. God is so good… all the time!  More to come…

  1. Eva L says:

    Wow! I can’t wait to hear part 2 of this story. You just never know what doors God may open in this and into your biological family. It may be partly about what you “need” for yourself to come full circle, but it just may very well be even less about you yourself and more about what God wants to do through you. God works in mysterious ways, sometimes through difficult circumstances and situations. But God is always working.

    • Hi Eva – thank you for the encouragement. Yes, as much as I know God is bringing some much needed healing in my own life, I believe as well that this is not just for me. I look forward to seeing what God has in-store. Blessings! Stay tuned for more…

      • Mom says:

        Hi Brian, your truthfullness is so precious! and you said it like it is. I’m so glad you serve God, and, I really believe God has something very good to come out of meeting your biological father. It might be painful, but, God is with you and he will help you. I will try and go, too. Many times I wish my life was different, I tried so hard with God’s help to maintain the family thru these hard times, but, God has never failed me. Looking forward to meeting you at the airport at Southwest Air. the morning we fly out. I love you and Deb. Mom

  2. Sabin says:

    Brian thank you for being honest. Thank you for obeying the Lord and blogging.

    • Thank you Sabin for your inspiration! If “we” as God’s people would be more open with God, ourselves and each other, it would go along way in breaking down unnecessary walls we’ve allowed to be built up. I know I’m preachin’ to the choir here! Stay tuned for more…

  3. Josephine(Jo) Boyd says:

    Dear Brian,I was so happy that Ralph called you, he called me and told me he had left a message on your voice mail and he is so looking forward to your meeting in L.A. I am so happy that my son (Mike ) found you, we have all thought about you over the years.Yes Ralph did see you( as we also did )up until you were about 2 or 3 yrs old. You have 3 sisters and one brother from Ralph. The family’s original name was Petrucci. My mother always believed we would all find each other someday just sorry it took so long and that she is no longer with us to see it happen. We need to talk on the phone soon (maybe when you get back from your trip) I sincerely hope this will start your healing process. May GOD keep you and yours in his hands. Love, Your Aunt Jo ( I hope you don’t mind me referring to myself as your aunt if you do let me know and then it will be just Jo)♥♥♥

    • Hi Jo (aunt Jo) – Thank you for your response. Yes, I would like to chat with you sometime soon. If you’d like to chat before and after my trip that would be great. Send me your phone number and the best day/time to call. I’m looking forward to it. Love – Brian

  4. Josephine(Jo) Boyd says:

    I’ll put my # on your f/b, usually any time is good to reach me.

  5. Richard Yocom says:

    Wow! Brian Thank you for sharing your story. I have to admit I read the first paragraph and scrolled down then something told me to continue reading so i scrolled back up and continued reading by the time i was done i was filled with tears of joy and tears of sadness thinking of alll of the hurting young and older men who have not yet found there fathers spiritual and and biological thank you for all you do and may you build up many treasures in heaven god bless you and Deb:-) and your family

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