Throughout my life, I’ve always felt an undercurrent of disconnect, suspecting that the story of my heritage wasn’t as straightforward as it seemed. My journey of understanding began in earnest in 1983 when my mother revealed that, while I wasn’t adopted, my father wasn’t my biological dad. I was a product of artificial insemination. This revelation launched me on a quest to uncover my roots, a pursuit that led me to the discovery of my biological father, Wybe Kroontje, and the realization that both he and the man I knew as my dad had endured internment in concentration camps, albeit under vastly different circumstances.
Determined to trace my lineage, I navigated this pre-internet era like a detective, driven by an insatiable curiosity. This journey led me to the surprising discovery of five biological half-sisters. While our initial connections were heartwarming and promising, time, circumstances, and societal expectations created distances. One of these sisters even blossomed into a renowned romance writer, a testament to the diverse paths our lives had taken.
Reflecting on this journey, my feelings towards my father, Herbert, underwent a profound transformation. Despite uncovering the truth of my genetic heritage, I chose never to disclose it to him. In his heart, and in mine, our bond transcended biology. To him, I was always his son, and that sentiment became the guiding star of my understanding of family and connection.