Biological Father tops New Hampshire Adoptee’s Christmas List.
By Kelly Grace
Kandy Braley has known all of her life that she was adopted, and like all adoptees, she felt that void in her soul where her biological family fit. When she was 22, she found her biological mother, and while her birth mother may know her biological father’s name, if she does, she will not divulge it to Kandy.
Kandy thought about petitioning for her birth certificate, but her biological mother told her that the man listed on her OBC is not her biological father, but the man her mother was married to at the time she was conceived. Facing another daunting setback, Kandy took an Ancestry DNA test. She tried independently to figure out who her biological father could be and then turned to DNAngels to confirm her suspicions.
Kelly Grace took the case and got to work, and confirmed Kandy’s findings had been correct. Kandy had contacted the woman that gave birth to her biological father – her grandmother, only to find out that Grandma had placed her son for adoption in Rochester, New York, in late 1959. And while finding her grandmother and aunts and uncles and cousins have been wonderful, it still doesn’t fill that hole in Kandy’s heart or the hearts of her birth father’s family. When Kandy first reached out to her grandmother, and asked her if she had a son with the man identified through DNA matches as her grandfather, her grandmother got very excited and asked how he was. She had been longing to find him and was hoping that Kandy was reaching out to tell her that she was reuniting her with her long-lost son.
Kandy has other reasons for seeking out her birth father. He may share the same genetic conditions he family does: neurofibromatosis and Von Willebrand Disease, or Factor V. But not only does he have a daughter, a mother, and siblings looking for him, but two grandsons that would love to meet the man they likely inherited their uniquely colored eyes from. Kandy and both her sons also have heterochromia, which means their eyes are two different colors.
Here’s what Kandy knows about her missing father: He was born in Rochester, NY in late (November or December) 1959. He may have worked for the Rochester Shoe Company, and he likely lived in the Ashland, NH area in 1985.
All of the begging, pleading, and cajoling in the world has not moved Kandy’s biological mother to give up the name of Kandy’s biological father. She knows his family is looking for him, she knows Kandy and her grandsons need his medical history, but if she does know, nothing will persuade her to let go of her tightly held secret.
Kelly and Kandy have tried different angles to bring attention to her case. They did an interview with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, but the story was never published. Kandy also wrote a letter to the Editor for the Laconia Daily Sun, which did publish, but garnered no new leads.
“We really would love to get to know him” , says Kandy. “We also have medical questions that are important to answer for both me and my sons, but first and foremost I want to know him, to know where I came from.”
For adoptees like Kandy, genetic mirroring is a very important concept. Having grown up with a social family that she did not look like or act like, she always felt a sense of “otherness”. Meeting her birth mother completed half of that puzzle, although Kandy would never withhold from her children the things her birth mother is withholding from her. After having met her Grandmother and her birth father’s other siblings, she feels like the puzzle that is who she is, is nearly complete. There is just one, very significant piece missing.
I’m very guilty of getting very attached to my clients. I understand what it is like to have that “aha” moment when you see a biological parent for the first time and recognize something in yourself. I cannot say I understand the trauma of being adopted – no one really can unless they have lived through it – but I understand feeling like “something is missing.” It breaks my heart when I cannot solve a case, and being so close to finding Kandy’s father is bittersweet.
What I would like for all of my clients are answers. Kandy has a right to her complete, accurate medical history. She has a right to know where she came from. And so, for that matter does her birth father, since as an adoptee himself, he is also missing that connection to his biological family. Kandy can help him fill in those pieces, she already knows!
If Kandy were writing her letter to Santa Claus, it would probably go something like this, “Dear Santa, I have tried very hard to be the best person I can be every day of this year. It’s been a struggle, and I am grateful for the friends and family I have. But Santa, there is one thing missing in my life that I want more than anything else. I want to know the man whose eyes look back at me from the mirror, whose chin I see when I look at my sons, whose sense of humor and compassion I inherited. Santa, all I want for Christmas is to know the man who gave me life, so I can tell him thank you. Thank You, because although life isn’t always easy, I feel blessed to be alive. I will leave cookies for you on Christmas and carrots for your reindeer. Maybe you could slip a note in my stocking that gives me my Dad’s name. I look forward to your response! Your friend, Kandy Braley.”