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To Sam

Finding out I had an other dad

on the 1st of june 2018, I got an message over social media from a boy around the age of 21 practically telling me I had a whole other family that I never knew about. I didn't really believe it at first but then, I went on a hunt for my birth certificate that proved what this boy had text  me was all true. My mum does not know I know but I don't know how to tell her because shes obvisouly kept him from me for a reason.

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Sam

Hi there,

It can be a shock to find out that there might be a secret in your family. Hearing that things could be different to what you have always believed can be confusing and upsetting.

The person who’s contacted you might not have thought about how the news could affect you. Working out what to do next is an important decision.

Being messaged by a stranger on social media, especially about something important, can make it hard to know who’s telling the truth, who to ask for help or who to trust. It’s important to remember that not everyone is who they say they are online and you won’t know straight away if they’re genuine or not.

It can help to try not to jump to conclusions about anything and to remember that if what they say is true, there are different reasons that families might keep a secret.

Sometimes adults decide to keep a secret because they’re trying to protect someone in the family, because they believe it’s the best thing to do, or because they think that no one will find out.

Whatever their reasons, you have the right to know the truth if it’s about you.

If you feel comfortable it’s often best to talk to your parent or carer about what you’ve been told and to ask if it’s true. That way you’re not trying to deal with things on your own.

If it feels difficult to speak to them directly you could ask a trusted adult like an aunt, grandparent or your teacher to support you when you talk to them. Or ask them to speak for you.

If you find out that you have family you didn’t know about, meeting them might depend on whether there were any decisions made in the past. In some cases, young people don’t see certain family members because they might be in danger if they did, and there could be a court order to protect them.

If there’s no reason to believe you’re in danger, the decision will usually be yours, alongside your parent, as they’re responsible for your well-being until you’re an adult.

They’ll probably want to have some say about any plans to meet so they can support you emotionally and check that you’re safe.

Remember, if you decide to meet someone that you don’t know, even if you think you’re related to them, it’s important to go with an adult you know, especially for the first few times you meet.

Never arrange to meet a stranger, no matter what they’ve told you, without telling your parent or carer who you’re meeting, where you’re going and what time you’ll be back. Always arrange to meet in a busy public place, take your phone with you and make sure it’s fully charged. Arrange to call or text a trusted adult every hour or so.

Thank you for your letter. For more support or help to decide what to do next you can talk to a counsellor at Childline.

Take care,

Sam

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