A letter to … my brother, who stopped talking to me when I adopted a child

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That day, as we started to organise our uncle’s funeral, we spent the whole time together – a rarity as adults, although we are only a year and four days apart. It was a sad occasion, but nice to spend time together.

I had recently had unsuccessful IVF treatment and, at the end of what had been a difficult day, I wanted to confide something more positive: my husband and I had decided to adopt and taken the initial steps in the process.

I was shocked at your reaction. “Why are you doing this now? You are just going to make things difficult between me and my wife,” you said.

You have two children from a previous relationship but were married to an older woman who had, as yet, not been able to have children. I appreciated the significance as I had felt the hurt of childlessness for more than a decade by then, and knew how painful it could be.

Then you said, “If you go ahead, I want nothing to do with it.” Your words stung, but I put it down to the stress of the day and was convinced that you didn’t really mean it.

But you froze me out. You stopped talking to me. Even when I stood in front of you at a party, you stared ahead as if I wasn’t there.

Just over a year later, we took our son home. It was a very happy occasion, family and friends were full of good wishes. You came round to meet him briefly – I’m not sure why, maybe it was curiosity. Shortly afterwards, I invited you to his first birthday. You and your wife came, but it was awkward. And that was it – no more contact.

I tried to get our parents to intervene and stop the nonsense. Then Dad said that if you had decided not to talk to me any more, perhaps you had good reason. At that point, something clicked in my head and I realised I was wasting my energy.

Related: A letter to … the childhood friend I fell in love with

I now have a daughter, who is also adopted. My children are a delight, as all parents would say, and your lack of involvement in their lives is a shame, because you are missing out on so much.

I am beyond this now. I cannot forgive your behaviour and am not willing to give you the power to hurt me. So, six years on, you still refuse to speak to me because of my decision to adopt, but it is something I would not have done differently.

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