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Dear Dr. Yael,

I just found out that I am adopted. I feel so weird.

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I am the oldest and a teenager, and I never understood why I look so different than my siblings.

But this means that my younger brothers and sisters are Mom and Dad’s real children.

When I said this to Mom she started to cry. She said that I am just as real to her as her biological children and that she loves me as much as she loves them.

Actually, I always thought Mom gave me a little more love and attention and that it was because I was the oldest. The truth is I am the only musical genius in our family; my parents and siblings have no ear for music. Mom and Dad are so proud of me when I play in concerts. They spend so much money on piano and violin lessons. I never thought they treated me differently. But now when I think about it, everyone has dark hair in my family and I am blond with blue eyes. My younger sister was always jealous of how pretty I am, but I am jealous now that she is really my parents’ child and I am a child that someone gave away.

The night I found out the shock was so great I sat on my bed and cried.

Let me explain how I found out. I was looking through my mom’s drawer for concert tickets she had misplaced. She actually asked me to look through her drawer. On the bottom I found an envelope. When I opened it, I found all kinds of papers. They were papers from a lawyer and they had my birth date. I saw the word adopted and baby girl. I knew that the birth date was mine and I ran to my Mom to ask her about the papers. My Mom’s face became white and she called my Dad into the room. Then they told me that they loved me very much and that when they were first married they couldn’t have children. They said that they were so lucky to have found me after they put an ad in the newspaper. They told me that I brought so much joy to their lives and that they truly love me.

I know my Mom and Dad love me. They are so great to me. Sometimes I thought that they even favored me, but this I thought was because I was a good student, looked very pretty, and gave them joy when I played in all those concerts. But maybe that is the only reason. Maybe they don’t really love me for myself. Maybe they only love me because of all the joy that I give them. Maybe they don’t really love me for myself!

As I was crying in bed, Mom and Dad knocked on my door. They always knock and respect my privacy. Mom came over and held me close. She said that she was sorry she hadn’t told me when I was younger, that they had been scared of how I would react. Mom said that she remembered telling me a story about an adopted girl when I was five and that I said I felt bad for the girl in the story and that I was lucky I lived with my real mommy. Then she told me that the mommy who adopted the child is the real mommy, but I stubbornly disagreed. I remembered that story, but I didn’t think that Mom meant me. Then Dad started to speak. He said that they loved me very much.

But I began to wonder why my real parents didn’t love me enough to keep me? Why did they give me away? Dad said that my real parents were very young. They were both talented musicians who were too young to raise me. Mom and Dad knew that I had real musical talent and they told me that was why they encouraged me to play two instruments. I started to wonder about the two young musicians who gave me away.

So now I want to look for my biological parents. There are a lot of articles on children being reunited with their biological parents through different organizations who have DNA banks. I truly love my parents and I think they will help me, but I do not want to hurt them.

Dr. Respler, I enjoy reading your column and am hoping you can give me some ideas how to do this without hurting my parents whom I love dearly.

A Teenage Fan

Dear Teenage Fan,

It sounds to me like you are blessed with amazing loving parents. I think they would help you find your biological parents, but be careful to ask them in a most loving manner.

First you must thank them for giving you so much love and attention and then you can explain that you have the internal need to find your biological parents. Just remember, finding your biological parents may not be an amazing experience. I am not trying to talk you out of it, but it is important to have realistic expectations. They may have new families, and while you may still be important to them, their feelings for you could be different.

If your parents are hurt by your request and don’t want to help you, I would suggest reaching out to a rav that your family is close to for guidance.

Please let us know what happens. Hatzlocha!

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.