My brother's secret daughter


#1

I need help!

I found out a few weeks ago that my brother who lives a few hours away has been keeping secret from his parents and siblings that he has an eleven year old daughter in his town. I was very calm when I discovered the news, prayed for guidance and confronted him about it. He said that a few people in his town knew about the girl. He said he was ashamed of the woman who is the mother of the girl and that's why he never told us about her.

He has supported the girl financially but not much otherwise. I have told him that his family will support him and encourage him to start a relationship with his daughter. Although he said he was open to having a relationship with his daughter I am very concerned that he will move at a glacial pace. I understand that I can't make him have a relationship with her but I can control my relationship with him. Although I understand some reasons from our growing up in the same household why he may have considered choosing this path, I am still shocked and disappointed that he did. I have not told the rest of the family because my brother promised to do so after certain legal proceedings are complete.

I have suggested that he get a good spiritual director and Catholic therapist to help him move forward and work on things. I would like to meet and get to know the girl at the appropriate time. I am still pondering how I fit into things as a long-distance, unknown aunt.

Any comments on how families cope with family secrets once they are out or dealing with "surprise" children discovered when they are no longer babies. Please pray for us.


#2

You and your family will be in my prayer intentions tonight.


#3

[quote="JaneO81, post:1, topic:219696"]
I need help!

I found out a few weeks ago that my brother who lives a few hours away has been keeping secret from his parents and siblings that he has an eleven year old daughter in his town. I was very calm when I discovered the news, prayed for guidance and confronted him about it. He said that a few people in his town knew about the girl. He said he was ashamed of the woman who is the mother of the girl and that's why he never told us about her.

He has supported the girl financially but not much otherwise. I have told him that his family will support him and encourage him to start a relationship with his daughter. Although he said he was open to having a relationship with his daughter I am very concerned that he will move at a glacial pace. I understand that I can't make him have a relationship with her but I can control my relationship with him. Although I understand some reasons from our growing up in the same household why he may have considered choosing this path, I am still shocked and disappointed that he did. I have not told the rest of the family because my brother promised to do so after certain legal proceedings are complete.

I have suggested that he get a good spiritual director and Catholic therapist to help him move forward and work on things. I would like to meet and get to know the girl at the appropriate time. I am still pondering how I fit into things as a long-distance, unknown aunt.

Any comments on how families cope with family secrets once they are out or dealing with "surprise" children discovered when they are no longer babies. Please pray for us.

[/quote]

I wonder if it would be appropriate to simply send the girl a letter of introduction and saying that you would love to get to know her more. i don't see how your bro has much to do with it, especially if he's not actively fathering her. you might have some work on your hands with the mom though. . .

god bless you for thinking of her. . . you can always start with prayer too.


#4

Ive spent the last half hour thinking of how to reply to this. As someone whose "father" kept me a secret for close to 22years ( his wife only found out after the police turned up on his doorstep with a summons because he had stopped payin my mum child support), I think you need to prepare yourself for the fact, your neice may want nothing to do with you, harsh as it sounds I have no desire to meet my aunts and uncles on my fathers side, maybe its becasue I have no desire to have anything to do with my father and perhaps im afraid It would mean id have to meet him someday ( Tho i have Been in the same train carriage as him on several occasions, i ignored him, he ignored me).

However I would meet my half brother and sister if they wanted to meet me and both my family solicitor and my fathers solicitor know this, they cant be held responsible for there fathers stupidity.

sorry for the ramble but I just wanted to give you my veiw from the other side so to speak:o


#5

Hi... without getting into the details. I've been through this with a friend. Only we didn't find out he fathered a child until he died. It was really hard to digest for a multitude of reasons. For his family it was much worse.

HOWEVER, this little girl has a mother. It would not be appropriate to contact a MINOR to inform her that you're her aunt and try to build a relationship. As another posted suggested. It's not clear if the little girl has a full awareness of who her father is. It's certainly not up to anyone but the legal parents at this juncture to inform her of her situation.

It doesn't sound like you have the entire story from your brother. There are legal boundries apparently being established. He may be giving her up for adoption or working out some form of "custody". As much as you want to get involved it's not your place right now. And you could mess up his legal situation. You could also emotionally damage this child. Who at this juncture is the MOST important person in the equation.

Many prayers. I'm sure this is difficult.


#6

Pray - pray hard- and having been through a messy situation with my ex's family I learned - stay out of it.


#7

I think you do need to respect your brother's right to handle this in his own way.
You need to be respectful and sensitive to every one involved, mother, child, daughter. It's up to your brother to tell your parents when he feels able, not because of persuasion or pressure.
You may wish to know your niece, and for your parents to know their granddaughter, but it is up to your brother, even if he does move at a glacial rate.

Think of the disturbance this discovery could cause the girl.
She's going to want to know why Dad hasn't personally been there for her.
She will learn he didn't really want to be involved personally and was ashamed of her mother, therefore she will infer Dad is ashamed of her.
All this may disturb her trust and her stability, whereas her mother has provided her own framework of explanation and balance for her.

Your brother now knows you know. That's a start.


#8

[quote="hope1986, post:4, topic:219696"]
Ive spent the last half hour thinking of how to reply to this. As someone whose "father" kept me a secret for close to 22years ( his wife only found out after the police turned up on his doorstep with a summons because he had stopped payin my mum child support), I think you need to prepare yourself for the fact, your neice may want nothing to do with you, harsh as it sounds I have no desire to meet my aunts and uncles on my fathers side, maybe its becasue I have no desire to have anything to do with my father and perhaps im afraid It would mean id have to meet him someday ( Tho i have Been in the same train carriage as him on several occasions, i ignored him, he ignored me).

However I would meet my half brother and sister if they wanted to meet me and both my family solicitor and my fathers solicitor know this, they cant be held responsible for there fathers stupidity.

sorry for the ramble but I just wanted to give you my veiw from the other side so to speak:o

[/quote]

**.... hope ... **Hope you have the ability to forgive your father and that you are reconciled one day. My sister is estranged from our father now for 13 years, and it breaks my heart. Even though my father is the one at fault, the pain still lingers on. Forgiveness is powerful.

Apologies for sticking my nose in ...


#9

[quote="JaneO81, post:1, topic:219696"]
I need help!

I found out a few weeks ago that my brother who lives a few hours away has been keeping secret from his parents and siblings that he has an eleven year old daughter in his town. I was very calm when I discovered the news, prayed for guidance and confronted him about it. He said that a few people in his town knew about the girl. He said he was ashamed of the woman who is the mother of the girl and that's why he never told us about her.

He has supported the girl financially but not much otherwise. I have told him that his family will support him and encourage him to start a relationship with his daughter. Although he said he was open to having a relationship with his daughter I am very concerned that he will move at a glacial pace. I understand that I can't make him have a relationship with her but I can control my relationship with him. Although I understand some reasons from our growing up in the same household why he may have considered choosing this path, I am still shocked and disappointed that he did. I have not told the rest of the family because my brother promised to do so after certain legal proceedings are complete.

I have suggested that he get a good spiritual director and Catholic therapist to help him move forward and work on things. I would like to meet and get to know the girl at the appropriate time. I am still pondering how I fit into things as a long-distance, unknown aunt.

Any comments on how families cope with family secrets once they are out or dealing with "surprise" children discovered when they are no longer babies. Please pray for us.

[/quote]

I will pray for your family. I also pray that the mother has married a man who treats this girl as though she was his daughter. You didn't say, but I hope that is the case. Your brother is not really her father, although he is genetically her parent. The role of father carries much more responsibility than he has taken. So he is "ashamed" of the mother although he chose her to have intercourse with? Well he should get over that, or should have, long ago and recognized that if she was good enough to have sex with, she's the one he chose to take the chance of having a baby with. He's not much of a man, is he? After 11 years of not being her dad, he's going to have a tough time

I would not contact this girl except through her mother, and honestly I wouldn't do that right now either, especially if she has a dad already. Your presence is going to be difficult for her to understand and absorb and could make her very upset about your brother's lack of care in her life.


#10

My cousin found out that my uncle has another child...'hidden' from the family's knowledge for over 15 years. It is unfair to all involved. My cousin is very conflicted about having any relationship with her sister because she has SUCH anger now at her dad and thinks she will be unable to forgive the mother of her new sister (clearly, her dad had an affair with this woman who is the mother of the young lady). She is an adult and wants to stick her head in the sand and not have any relationship with this girl.

It is a messy situation. If you can be the one to mend fences and at least let the girl know that you are here and willing to meet her, let her see family pictures, etc. go for it. Not everyone is as gracious as you are.

Taben


#11

[quote="Onedayatatime, post:8, topic:219696"]
**.... hope ... **Hope you have the ability to forgive your father and that you are reconciled one day. My sister is estranged from our father now for 13 years, and it breaks my heart. Even though my father is the one at fault, the pain still lingers on. Forgiveness is powerful.

Apologies for sticking my nose in ...

[/quote]

I understand where you are coming from oneday, but its very hard to even think of being reconciled with a man who cant see what he did wrong by basicaly refusing to acknowledge my exsistantnce, and would have quiet happily continued to do so had he not been caught out.


#12

[quote="hope1986, post:11, topic:219696"]
I understand where you are coming from oneday, but its very hard to even think of being reconciled with a man who cant see what he did wrong by basicaly refusing to acknowledge my exsistantnce, and would have quiet happily continued to do so had he not been caught out.

[/quote]

I can only imagine. However, you are here advising and ministering others, and for sure helping them. This would be asking a lot, but we are called to that sometimes. My father has also been responsible for some dispicable behavior, now in his 80s he is beginning to sow the seeds of those actions. It is not a pretty sight, and his estrangement becomes bigger as he excommunicates those around him trying to help.

There is no bigger action than forgiveness to turn the tide of anger and resentment. The peace that results is amazing. Even if it just helps you be at peace it might be worth it. :amen:


#13

This is your brother’s business and you should let him handel it in his own way, even if you disapprove.


#14

Wow, I guess this happens more often then I would have thought.

I found out I had a younger half-brother who was four months younger than my youngest brother. I found out when my father died and I met the boy at Dad's funeral.
A surreal experience.


#15

[quote="freerf, post:3, topic:219696"]
I wonder if it would be appropriate to simply send the girl a letter of introduction and saying that you would love to get to know her more. i don't see how your bro has much to do with it, especially if he's not actively fathering her. you might have some work on your hands with the mom though. . .

god bless you for thinking of her. . . you can always start with prayer too.

[/quote]

with the mother's permission of course!


#16

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts no matter how painful to read at times and especially for everyone's prayers.

I will add that the mother has not married and so there is no father except for my brother. It would have changed things to some extent had the mother married at some point so that the daughter would have a dad in her life. It is my understanding that my brother has visited with her a few times every year since she was around the age of five so she knows he is her "father." Without wanting to disparage the mother, I know that it would help my niece to have my family involved in her life.

I would like to ask a follow-up regarding the obligations of parents in a non-marital situation. I've been reading a lot about children being a blessing. The blessing is easiest to recognize when it comes from marriage. Parental responsibility should not differ based on whether the child is born from a marriage. In fact, a child's needs are much greater because of the lack of stability (generally speaking) when born outside of marriage.

I recognize that I have a very secondary role but I have the obligation to ask what are the responsibilities of everyone in this family. This little girl will grow up one day and wonder whether anyone challenged the choices that were made. I want to be able to answer her without shame about my actions.


#17

That's true.
While, as you realize that you need to be judicious and consider every point of this complex situation, you do have to decide what is right for you, and how you can face yourself in the future if you simply ignore your niece.

You need to be able to talk both to your brother and your niece's mother about how you can be a part of her life. You are in a very awkward position. Even if you became a part of your niece's life, you are at risk of hurting your parents if they were to discover that you knew of their grandchild but also kept it secret. You can't make your brother's decisions, but you do have to make your own.

Hopefully your brother will take a more courageous and charitable path, because whoever the woman is it is perhaps arrogant to be 'ashamed' of her.
My eldest son's children had a mother who was less well raised and who spirited the children away for several years but the children have developed remarkably since they came into my son's custody and with regular contact with our family. Even that aside, it's beneficial to love and be loved.

Prayers for you all


#18

Hello all,

My name is Alicia, I am a casting associate producer working on a new docu-series about interesting, compelling family stories and family secrets. If anyone on this thread would be interested in sharing their stories and experiences I'd love to speak with you. Please contact me back here or at [email]familysecretscasting@gmail.com[/email] with more information.

Best,
Alicia


closed #19

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