The other day, my husband said to me- “Why do you keep looking for more? Why aren’t the answers you have enough?”
I guess that might seem insensitive to some, but I get it.
My husband grew up with a dad who divorced his mom at a young age. His dad paid child support and they had every other weekend together.
He wasn’t much of a dad. And he was a blood relative.
My dad, now my husband’s father-in-law, has been more of a dad to my husband than his own “dad” ever was.
With my husband growing up with a blood father that treated him like a bill to pay, it seems natural that he wouldn’t understand why I can’t accept the news of being donor conceived and move on. After all, I have such a wonderful dad that is not “blood”. I’m sure this brings out feelings of envy and sadness for him in regards to his own parent.
We are on two ends of the spectrum. He sees blood as meaning nothing. I’ve grown up seeing it as everything.
Now I’m questioning what blood even means.
I continued my research after finding K. Muhlbauer. Thanks to a Facebook group I’m now a part of, I found a resource I didn’t have previously.
There are multiple groups on Facebook for people like me. We call ourselves “donor conceived”, or “DC” for short. In one of the groups yesterday, a fellow DC asked how many siblings each of us has. Most group members said “5 siblings” or “15” or “26”.
…yes, you’re reading those numbers right.
I even found someone that has a son with 185 half siblings.
But anyway, while reading responses, I discover a new resource for identifying information: beenverified.com.
I’d never heard of beenverified.com. But I checked it out.
I had a few names to look for thanks to my DNA match on Ancestry, speaking to Joyce, and my detective work.
I decided I needed more information on T. Muhlbauer. So I looked him up on beenverifed.com.
Only a city and his age. No relatives listed. But look what listing popped up below him.
It was T. Muhlbauer Jr. He was listed in the obituary as the oldest T. Muhlbauer’s son, along with K. Muhlbauer.
Well look at that first name under the relatives list. M. K. Muhlbauer.
I had the biggest light bulb moment.
K. Muhlbauer’s first name is *not* K. IT IS M. He simply goes by his MIDDLE NAME. My mind is reeling.
K. Muhlbauer *is* the M. Muhlbauer I matched with on Ancestry! He used his legal name instead of his preferred name on the website.
That leaves only one person who can be my donor. My biological father: T. Muhlbauer Jr. I identified him on the obituary listing as the only other son of T. Muhlbauer.
Of course, T. Muhlbauer Jr. was the only person I couldn’t find on Facebook.
So here is where I asked my donor conceived group for help.
An admin offered to help me find more detailed information on my biological father. She has a paid subscription to the full background checks offered by beenverified.com and offered to run the check for free.
Very kind of her. By the next day, she messaged me a PDF of the background check. It included a list of 1st degree relatives. T. Muhlbauer Jr. has a wife. Her name is S. Muhlbauer.
My parents are close to his age. And my mom has a Facebook, while my dad doesn’t. What if his wife has a Facebook?
There she is. *Please please please have pictures with your husband.*
I scroll down a bit further. There he is.
Brown eyes. Yes.
There’s a kid.
There’s three. Three kids.
The daughter. She looks like my sister when she was little.
Same eyes, same nose, same cheeks.
Look at those ears.
Those are my ears.
Those are the same ears I got made fun of for as a kid.
A current picture of the daughter compared to young me is stunning. Same eyes, face shape, nose, but the ears. Omg.
From what I know about ears, I’ve found that defects are highly genetic.
So that’s where my ears came from.
But before I go any further, I back up.
I’ve found him.
Turns out, Joyce emailed me back at about the same time I was figuring this all out.
Here’s what she said-
The excitement and disappointment rolls into one and I don’t really feel anything at all.
I’m kind of numb.
So that’s it?
She knows who he is. He doesn’t want to talk to me, he’s handsome, and has a history of diseases.
It’s been a few days now and I’m trying to let this all sink in.
I went from having 1 sister to having 7 siblings in the matter of two weeks. I have two sets of twin siblings- one fraternal, one identical. 3 boys, 4 girls.
My baby sister, who I grew up with- Hannah.
Griffin’s family- including Abby and Tessa (fraternal twins).
My donor’s family. William, Matthew, and Emily (names according to their grandpa’s obituary).
…but my family, too, kind of? Maybe? Definitely?
I somewhat wish to write a letter directly to my donor. I have his address from the background check.
But what would that do? Probably just scare him off more than he probably is.
I wish to know him, his children- my half siblings- and his wife. But I know they do not want to know me.
It is painful to accept that someone who shares DNA with me, wants nothing to do with me. He is the reason my eyes are brown. The reason my hair did not take on all of my mothers curls. The reason my grandpa called me “flaps” (in reference to my big ears).
Regardless of what he doesn’t want me to know, I know my donor is smart. I found that he is an alum of Texas A&M. He works for a large company and appears to be successful, as Joyce mentioned.
Considering he is well educated, I’m sure he knows how to find me. Just based on the email Joyce sent me, I am sure she and T. went through my Facebook photos together. How else would she know what I look like and say, “I know where you got your beauty from.” She said she wasn’t good with Facebook in the past. She must have acquired some help.
This is a one way mirror.
He is looking through my window and has a view of my world, while I’m looking at the window and it only reflects myself.
And I mean that in the most literal AND metaphorical way, ever.
I am reflecting half of myself when I look in the mirror. The missing half is black. Empty. Distorted.
I hope someday that T.’s children will have the curiosity to test their DNA, and that T. will not stop them, knowing very well that it will link us.
Or I hope that T. tells his wife about the children he has in this world.
Of all people, I would be most worried about his wife. If I found out my husband fathered children with other women around the country, I would be so hurt.
But, if I found out my husband had actively turned these children away from a chance at being known and possibily loved, he’d have another thing coming.
Today was Father’s Day. What a confusing day for so many.
I am envious of the previous 24 fathers days I experienced. I took them for granted.
The last two and half weeks, I dreamt that today would be the day I get to tell the world. I saw it in my head as an announcement to my friends and family on Facebook: “Happy Father’s Day to the best dad ever. And by best dad ever, I gotta say he really is. And this is why….”
You get the picture.
But I didn’t post anything today. At all.
I always felt like my dad and I had a “different” relationship. Different than normal dad/daughter relationships.
But now it feels real.