When I was eleven or so, my mom told me that the man I knew as dad wasn't actually my biological father. My last name wasn't really my own and my little sister was technically my half sister.
It didn't change the way I felt for my family. If anything, it made me love my dad even more, after all he married US, not just mom. My sister was still the same playful geeky kid she'd always been. They were mine, I was theirs and that was it.
There WAS some initial freak out involved. Curiosity and a restructuring of who I thought I was sort of prompted it. Mom told me what details she could, like how they got together and the reasons they divorced. His name and that he himself was adopted. He was identified as the man in two old photos and the reason for one hazy memory of talking with a guy in a surf shop when I was little.
Other than that, he's pretty much fallen off the face of the planet. When I turned 30, I decided my gift to myself would be trying to locate this man. Not for a father figure, my Dad is lovely and more than fulfills that requirement; but to be able to say I knew something about this other person. Nature vs. nurture... are bits of me a reflection of him?
My hunt was unsuccessful. I went through a service that gave me lists of addresses of men with his name. I wrote carefully-worded, non-judgemental letters and phoned a few numbers as well. I suppose there is the off chance I did reach him and he denied me. In the end, I'm not bothered. I have his hazel-colored eyes and a few stories and find myself content.
What's funny is that I don't have a name I feel is my own. The strange surname never felt like mine. The one I'd been using wasn't technically my own as I'd never been adopted. The one I've got now is off my ex-husband, kept because it's easy to pronounce and matches the kids'. It is who I am, but not me. It's basically a convenient, generic stand-in for a surname.