Son upset I’ve traced his illegitimate brother

I’m 65, and in 1963 I had an illegitimate baby. That’s what they were called in those days. I was whipped off by my parents into the country, and stayed with my boyfriend’s brother and his wife.

At birth, my healthy son was sent to a family that a charity had decided might give him a life better than I could give him. They never told me where he was, and never gave me contact. He’s now in his 40s.

I married his father, later, and we went on eventually to have another wonderful son in whom I invested all my love and care. I divorced his father when my boy was five and brought up my “legitimate” son on my own. He is the light of my life and my best friend, although we don’t any longer live together.

At the age of 32, after leaving university, he has a very successful life in another part of London, and lives with his female partner although we’re in daily touch.

I’m embarrassed about what I’ve done. Ten years ago, I advertised for my first son on a website - and a man has just claimed that he could be my first son. My darling son told me that he couldn’t deal with finding his brother (who is his full brother) and asked me not to pursue this.

I went behind his back. I don’t know what to do next. I let him down. What’s my next step?

Barbara says: This is a tricky one. Your “legitimate” son clearly doesn’t want to share his mum. And you think you need to reconnect with that brother of his that you gave away. Really? If this is what you want, it’s going to be a hard road to walk.

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See a counsellor. Talk over the possible consequences of anything you do. Is your son available for you have in in-depth talk with? That’s the first step. I know that he comes first. But does he really understand that you have unfinished issues to address? Will he give you any slack?