When Steve Lickteig was young, he was told that he was adopted. He accepted it and lived through his childhood and adolescence wondering if he would ever see his real parents.
The page for ‘Open Secret’ explained: “Steve grew up as the adoptee of Don and Mary Jane Lickteig, who ran a farm in Kansas and had eight other (natural) children.
“Lickteig always wondered who his real parents were and planned to search for them as an adult.”
The town where the family grew up was small and all the people seemed to know everybody.
But what Steve wasn’t aware of was as he grew up everyone in their community knew something that he didn’t: The people knew his older sister was actually his real mother.
However, the big secret was revealed on the night before Steve’s graduation, when his friends finally told him the truth that everyone in their town knew.
“I held it in for another month and a half, and then I confronted my parents — my grandparents — about it,” Steve said to TODAY. “Then, being an 18-year-old and angry, I ran away. Got into a car and drove to the nearest town, which was 20 miles away, rented a motel room, got drunk with my friends.”
Because news travels fast in their town, Juanie spoke frankly with her son.
“We had a moment of, ‘Yes, this happened. I’m sorry,’” Steve shared. “I was mostly silent. And then we didn’t talk about it again for another 15 years.”
It took Steve a long time to heal from the trauma of being lied to for 18 years.
“I would say that it’s not the best, but it’s not horrible, either,” Steve said. “In fact, we exchanged voicemail messages around [doing] this today. But we haven’t talked in a while directly.
“She does send birthday cards to my children. We’re building something over time, but it takes a long time to get to another place and we’ve just been trying to make that happen — but maybe a little too slowly for her.”
He admitted: “It’s just been hard for me. I feel like we are ultimately going to be in a good place.”
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